Day 1: Some miles, More people

Tuesday March 12th, 22.6mi (8.2mi approach trail+ 14.4 AT)

Amicalola Falls Visitor center to Justus creek campsite (14.4)

I woke up at 7:15am, and it was still dark. This is a strange part of the Eastern time zone. I packed up quietly, and headed over to the ranger office to check-in for the hike. They opened at 8am, and there were 5 or 6 other hikers waiting as well. The Georgia chapter of the ATC does a great job, part of the check-in process is a presentation on LNT (leave no trace), and safety in the backcountry. Then, each hiker gets a photo, and a number. I’m hiker #838 this year! And since Bob and I are both hams, my photo is… different.

Hikers also get their pack weighed, mine is 34lbs. Too much food and candy!

After the check-in, time to walk! The approach trail is 8miles long, and starts with the iconic arch.

It is a cold morning, but nice weather. Good thing it starts out with hundreds of stairs to get warmed up!

I see a few other hikers along the way, including this guy from Maine, he is hiking home!

I get to Springer mountain, the official start of the AT, at noon and have lunch. There are 6 other hikers there too.

The first (of many) white blazes!

Then, I head down the mountain, and after a mile the trail crosses a USFS road, which is a popular trailhead. There are more Georgia ATC volunteers there too. They have heaps of good advice for water, camping, and of course more LNT.

I hike on, and it’s a warm day now, and on a nice trail. I don’t even have to get my feet wet at stream crossings! This is so different from the Te Araroa…

I stop at Long creek falls and have a snack. There is a family there, and the little boy keeps asking where my hiking poles are (I don’t use them). He even offers to make me one. šŸ™‚

I continue on a few more hours, passing probably a dozen more hikers. Most people starting out do 8-10 miles per day, so I probably won’t see them again.

I get to Justus creek at 6pm, and call it a day. There are 7 other hikers camped here, mostly on the lower terrace. We have dinner and hang our food bags. It’s such a change camping in bear territory!


  1. Good Luck Jon, Enjoy the beautiful places the AT will take you. Thanks for sharing your journey with your pics and comments. Safe travels. BigK


  2. I imagine it will be a few weeks before you get anybody moving at the same speed as you. The AT seems like where most people start. Very few have hiked for the previous 4 months!


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