Got our start today on the AT Approach trail. Although it’s not an official part of the AT, the 8.8 mile approach trail is were the majority of thru hikers make their start. It’s located at Amicalola Falls State Park, which is easier to drive to than the “official” Springer mountain trail head.
Rick, Carolyn and I left Pensacola this morning at 8 am, following a beautiful funeral service yesterday for Carolyn’s mom Carol Carmichael. With the time change we arrived at Amicalola at 3:30. We signed in and officially became 2021 Appalachian Trail thru hikers number 317 and 318. 316 hikers are on the way to Maine ahead of us. Weighed my pack at the official pack scale and came in at 38 1/2 lbs, heavier than I wanted, but about where I expected to be. I’m sure I’ll lighten the load as I go, but t for now, I have everything I think I need.
After signing in and getting a brief orientation from the ranger, we headed for the arch for pictures. The iconic arch shot is a staple of the thru hike experience, and one we had to indulge in. Carolyn took the shots and then we are ready to go. I said my goodbyes to Carolyn for the next couple of months when she’ll join me in Virginia for a week hiking with us.