On March 30, 2017, Lauren aka Dust Buster, started her trek on the Appalachian Trail.
The trail starts off in Georgia. The terminus is Springer Mountain at an elevation of 3,782 feet (1,153 m). At 4,461 feet (1,360 m), Blood Mountain is the highest point on the trail in Georgia. The AT and approach trail are managed and maintained by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. See also: Georgia Peaks on the Appalachian Trail. Georgia has 75 miles (121 km) of the trail.
Some information from Wikipedia about this part of the trail:
“In 1958, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail was relocated from Mount Oglethorpe to Springer Mountain. The reason for this relocation was because of increased development around Mount Oglethorpe. Springer Mountain was considered to be less dramatic than Mount Oglethorpe, but because of its remoteness, Springer Mountain was also considered to be less susceptible to development.
One way to climb Springer Mountain is from a parking lot on Forest Service Road 42, located 0.9 miles (1.4 km) miles north up the Appalachian Trail from the summit. Hikers desiring to hike north from Springer Mountain would begin by hiking 0.9 miles (1.4 km) miles south on the Appalachian Trail before turning around to hike north. At the peak of Springer Mountain is a bronze plaque with the Appalachian Trail logo, a register for hikers to sign, and a benchmark.
In addition to the Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain can be reached from the south via the Appalachian Approach Trail. The approach trail starts at the visitor’s center of Amicalola Falls State Park and is 8.5 miles (13.7 km) in length.
Benton MacKaye Trail
The nearest shelter from the summit is the Springer Mountain Shelter, located about 0.2 miles (0.32 km) north of the summit. A water spring located near this shelter. Another nearby shelter is the Black Gap Shelter, located about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) south of the summit on the Appalachian Approach Trail. “
I found this information from the Sherpa Guides: “The Georgia portion of the AT [Fig. 55] extends some 75.6 miles through primitive areas of the Chattahoochee National Forest. Although rising at times to elevations of over 4,400 feet, the trail is mostly along ridges at elevations around 3,000 feet. Ascents and descents are sometimes steep but often reward hikers with grand views from rocky outcrops and open summits.
Most of the AT goes through deciduous hardwood forest—largely hickory, oak, and poplar. Rainfall is heavy and frequent, especially in the spring; ridges are often snow-capped or ice-covered in the winter. Mid-April through mid-May is the peak wildflower season. Flowers found along the trail include trillium, bloodroot, mayapple, bluets, wild azalea, and sometimes pink and yellow lady slippers. In June many sections are covered with flowering rhododendron and mountain laurel. The heavy rains ensure lush vegetation during the summer months; ferns are found in abundance all along the trail. The last two weeks of October are usually the best time to find autumn colors at their height. In winter when the leaves are off the trees, the trail offers ever-present scenic vistas of the surrounding countryside and of the mountains to the north and west.
The Georgia portion of the trail is managed and maintained by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Forest Service, Chattahoochee National Forest. Members of the club may be found on the trail almost every weekend cutting weeds, clearing blowdowns, painting blazes, repairing shelters, reconstructing portions of the trail, or participating in recreational hikes.
The trail’s southern terminus is located atop Springer Mountain, near FS 42. Since this area is difficult to reach by automobile, an 8.1-mile approach trail begins at Amicalola Falls State Park on GA 52. Mountains along the trail with outstanding scenic views include Big Cedar, Blood, Cowrock, Rocky, and Tray. One of the many side trails leads from Chattahoochee Gap to the highest point in Georgia, Brasstown Bald. The trail passes through five of Georgia’s wilderness areas: Raven Cliffs Wilderness between Neel’s Gap and Tesnatee Gap; Tray Mountain Wilderness between Tray Gap and Addis Gap; the Southern Nantahala Wilderness north of Blue Ridge Gap; Mark Trail Wilderness between Unicoi Gap and Hogpen Gap; and Blood Mountain Wilderness from Neel’s Gap to Woody Gap. Bly Gap on the Georgia/North Carolina border is the northern end of the AT in Georgia.
The trail is marked throughout its length with rectangular white blazes and is generally easy to follow. Double blazes indicate caution, usually meaning a turn in the trail. Side trails and trails to water are blue-blazed; signs are placed at road crossings, shelters, and other important intersections. There are 11 shelters on the Georgia AT, placed more or less at intervals permitting easy day hikes. All but one of these shelters are three-sided, open-front types with floors. Springs are reasonably close by. The exception is the stone, two-room structure atop Blood Mountain. It has four sides, a fireplace, windows, and a sleeping platform. There is no water on top of Blood Mountain. ” ( Sherpa Guides)
One of the more fun or interesting (at least to me) things I found when researching the GA part of the trail was the “Shoe Tree” at Blood Mountain.
Hikers who have done 30 miles on the trail leave their worn out boots and shoes in an old tree at the center. Those who have completed at least 500 miles can hang their shoes and packs inside to inspire other hikers. There is a significantly better picture on Brian Brown’s Blog, however the pictures are copyrighted so you’ll need to visit HERE.
The Native America’s have a huge influence over this area:
This is the shelter on Blood Mountain, which I must say looks a lot nicer than some of the others ones.
This will be Lauren’s first week of hiking. As it’s April 15, you know I have a few weeks to catch up. =)