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  1. #1
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    Trip Report: Georgia on the AT Springer to Dicks Creek Gap

    If covid has had a silver lining for me beyond being lucky to be healthy and to for now still draw a paycheck it has been the fact that no commute has given me free time to get in better shape and having no events or shows to run has freed up some time to do a little more hiking. I took up cycling and have been working out pretty much daily now that I'm not driving 40 minutes each way to work and the gains have shown themselves on the trail for sure.

    I left work on Wednesday night and drove down to Clayton Georgia for a stay at the Days Inn. Hotel was cleanish and for $60 its about what you would expect. Checked in at 11 and went to bed. I met my shuttle at ****'s Creek Gap parking at 7am the next morning. White Blaze Shuttle and Michelle was the driver, she was on time and very helpful. We picked up 2 more women at Woody Gap from Alabama who were out for their first trip and the driver dropped us off at Springer. Shuttle was $65.

    Got on trail just after 10 went up to springer and turned around and came back down, passed my shuttle companions for the last time and continued north. Pretty quickly I got caught by a younger guy, Matt, and we started talking. He was on the second half of his flip flop and got dropped of at springer just after me. We were walking about the same pace and I stayed with him for several miles as we got to know each other. I was pretty excited that I was even able to keep up with a guy on his through hike. Weather was good and we hiked to Gooch Mountain Shelter to make it about a 16 mile day. Got to the shelter around 530 and set up camp. There was water, a clean privy, and good options for places to hang. It was just the two of us at the shelter.

    The next morning I got up at 630 to get moving cooked my oatmeal and drank my coffee and broke down camp. It started to drizzle as I was stretching but lightly. Got on the trail at 8 and the rain had picked up to be a steady drenching rain and it would remain all day. Matt got out ahead of me but we decided to meet up at blood mountain or to text. If the rain continued we wanted to see about staying the night at Neels Gap or getting a cabin. Hiked all day and didn't bother to stop for lunch. The shelter I passed was way off trail and I didn't want the detour. I snacked as I hiked with the motivation of having a dry bed that night. Passed through Woody Gap just after 10 and had cell service. Matt was able to get us a reservation at Blood Mountain cabins. Got to Blood Mountain at 3, still raining but much lighter and cloudy so new views. Got some college football scores and hiked down to Neels. My knee which is always a problem started acting up on the way down from Blood so going was very slow. My right knee just hates a steep downhill and screamed a bit on day 1 too but not bad for another 16 mile day.

    Got to neels at 5 and walked down to Blood Mountain cabins. I didn't know what cabin we were in but found one with a pack and clothes scattered on the porch and that was it. Got a hot shower and washed my hiking clothes in the sink. We dried out our stuff on the 2 heating vents which worked well. We had dry beds and TV but no wifi or cell service. Cabins were fine, nothing fancy and only $72 for the night, only disappointment was that we couldn't get a pizza delivered. We had the racoon cabin that came with plenty of taxidermied racoons. It rained pretty much all night and into the morning. We got started after the rain finally stopped and the weather report just looked cloudy but not rainy that day. I couldn't keep up with Matt that day and stopped for lunch at near Whitley Gap Shelter but didn't hike all the way down to it. It was still wet and rained a bit but not much and nothing like the day before. It was about 12 miles to Low Gap and got there about 330. Set up camp and kicked my feet up and listened to a little music. We had some company that night of another hiker and we passed a few other folks on the trail. The guy who joined us had killed his feet hiking in the rain but was great company. I spent a long time stretching out in the shelter and went to bed at 830 and was out out just after 9 and slept amazing.

    Next morning I was up at 5:30. Weather called for heavy rain in the afternoon and I wanted an early start. I was on trail at 730, Matt was off at 715 and he was going 22 miles that day and I was not. Had good weather and covered my miles diligently. Had lunch at Unicoi gap right at noon and got caught by two guys trying to do 3 weeks on trail from the NC coast. They were just out of college and then John a guy in his late 60's doing a section caught us. John and these guys had been leapfrogging for a few days and JOhn had through hiked in 2017. Super nice guy and he was very fast for his age too. I set back out and made the climb out of unicoi. Got my first view of the trip at the top and the two guys caught me there. I continued on and from that view could see the rain clouds. Hiked through the next few climbs and was almost running to the shelter as I passed an older couple and was keeping up with the young guys. Got there and had my camp set up by 4 literally just before the the rain. The rain started and it absolutely poured. Timing could not have been better. The two young guys were in ENO hammocks and I got my stuff up way faster than them and they were perplexed at how fast I was done.

    Waited out the storm in the shelter as I changed into camp clothes and stretched. The older couple got wet setting up and then John wandered in just as the storm wound down. After it stopped raining we all had a chance to visit. The older couple was out to try the AT for a through next year, the guy was a retired oncologist and his wife I think stayed in the tent. Then our guy with the bad feet came wandering in and really just made for a good night. It was another 15 mile day to Tray mountain shelter that night. Slept great again and got up at 630 to get going.

    I was on trail at 8 and had 11 miles to Dicks Creek gap to finish my hike. Got there right at 12 and was feeling great, 11 miles in 4 hours on my 5th day on trail is good in my book. Got cleaned up as best I could in the creek and started my drive home. I stopped at a mexican place and it was awful but at least it was hot food and then in Franklin I stopped at the Scottish Tartan museum then finished the 3.5 hour drive home.

    Great trip for me and finishes up the first quarter of the AT for me. Glad to be done with Georgia, I didn't find it to be too crazy difficult but there isn't much reward in terms of views. I was glad for the opportunity to be out and the time to reflect and reset a bit in the woods. Met really great people and had a great time.

    Really enjoyed my time with Matt. It is crazy how you can meet someone and the next night you are sharing a cabin with an almost stranger. We got along great and he is from the same small town my dads family is from in PA and coincidentally the same town that I met a guy on trail years ago named Stone Age who I spent 3 days hiking with going south to Mountain Harbor hostel. What a crazy coincidence.

    Few notes. I noticed that i get a cold spot in my underquilt under my butt when I get a good flat lay. Feels like it stretches the quilt too tight and compresses the down so that was a bit frustrating. I'm 6'4 so maybe my height has something to do with it.

    Forgot to tell a story from my last trip. Met a guy who said he woke up nose to nose in his hammock to a bear. Said the bear pulled his pad out from under him and he fell out the other side and then the bear walked off. It was an eno set up with no net. Quite a way to wake up for sure!

    May have picked up a trail name but haven't decided to embrace it yet. In the shuttle the women asked me for my trail name and I told them I don't have one. One of them said I'd call you legs because they are so long and your shorts are short with a very sheepish tone to her voice. A nice compliment for sure but not sure I can embrace the trail name legs or not.

    Thanks for following along I'll post some pics below.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

  2. #2
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

  3. #3
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

  4. #4
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

  5. #5
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    Kudos to anyone who reads my super long trip reports. I enjoy writing them so I can go back and remember some of the forgotten details.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

  6. #6
    Member kmjohnson1974's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report. Sounds like you had a great hike. I want to do this same section with my son next spring break. Question: sounds like you did a lot of miles each day. How difficult was it with all the elevation gains?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmjohnson1974 View Post
    Thanks for the report. Sounds like you had a great hike. I want to do this same section with my son next spring break. Question: sounds like you did a lot of miles each day. How difficult was it with all the elevation gains?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I didn't find Georgia to be near as hard as NC/TN. Coming up blood mountain going north was a real climb and then going down was very steep as well. The other big climb was out of Unicoi Gap and then up Tray Mountain, that took some real effort as well but other than those two climbs a good bit of Georgia was very manageable and no climbs or descents that were an real cause for concern.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

  8. #8
    mcpuddleglum's Avatar
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    Enjoyed reading your post, thanks for sharing. I hiked from Springer to Neel's gap back in 2015 with my son when he started his thru. Went back this July and did Neel to ****'s Creek with a couple of my buddies for my 50th b-day. We had a good time, but it was muggy and buggy! You probably noticed this as well, but man there was a lot of poison ivy. Later that month I did another section through Grayson Highlands and hardly saw any. My theory is elevation differences, but haven't done any research to test it. I am assuming your goal is to section hike the whole AT. If so, how far along are you? Do you have a specific plan to finish it out?
    "Walking is man's best medicine." - Hippocrates

  9. #9
    Senior Member soul embrace's Avatar
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    I'm doing part of the section in October but from Woody Gap to Amicalola State park. I'm taking my dog who I just started taking on backpacking trip so I wanted to go mostly down hill to help her out. good report, thanks for taking the time to write it
    Last edited by soul embrace; 09-22-2020 at 07:03.
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    if you know where to look for it.
    -Pete's Dragon

  10. #10
    Senior Member mistone's Avatar
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    Looked like a good trip
    Its a good day to be out in the woods no matter the weather.Mist One..

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