Miles on the Appalachian Trail: 107.7Total Miles from Amicalola falls state park: 116.5
It has been quite an adventure into the mountains. We began our trip with a shuttle ride from Hiker Ron, who picked us up from the Atlanta airport. Ron used to be a park ranger at Amicalola Falls State Park, where the Appalachian Approach trail up Springer mountain begins and where we started our adventure.
Ron supplied helpful information on trail conditions including information on some springs that had dried out, which proved useful. After being dropped off, we spent our first night in a shelter for AT thru hikers and ate our first of what may be many dehydrated meals (not that bad, not great). In the morning we weighted our packs (both about 35 lbs) and registered as thru hikers 1698 and 1699 for the year. We followed the approach trail out of the park, and headed north to the southern terminus of the AT at the summit of Springer mountain. The north Georgia mountains are beautiful and in full spring bloom. We saw dozens of varieties of wildflowers and flowering trees, although the only wildlife we have seen has so far been limited to squirrels, a few birds and a wild turkey (though we're told there are black bears in the area).
In addition to the beautiful scenery of the Georgia forests, we've met a lot of generous and friendly people and are continually making new friends. We have met people who are section hiking (doing a portion of the trail), other north bounders (Nobos) heading for Maine and have even met a few south bounders (Sobos) who left Maine sometime last summer. We were fortunate to be able to take a near-zero mileage day (colloquially referred to as a "nero day" by other hikers) in Blairsville, Georgia with some friends we made on our hike. I highly recommend the Seasons Inn Motel and Pete the taxi driver if you ever find yourself in need of a place to stay in Northern Georgia or planning on a resupply point for a future thru-hike.
Earlier this week we also passed through the Top of Georgia hostel, where they provided free coffee, allowed to do laundry and we were able to buy delicious three meat pizza. We didn't spend the night but enjoyed the couple of hours of rest.
Official State Border between North Carolina and Georgia, marked by the US Forest Service
We left Georgia on May 5th, crossing into North Carolina, completing our first state on the trail and passed the 100 mile marker on our approach up Albert mountain, North Carolina. Upon entering North Carolina, the mountains seemed to get bigger almost immediately, making for some fun hiking and rock scrambling. We were quite surprised later in the day to find, amid the lush greenery of the spring forest, to be in the midst of a snow squall climbing up and down Standing Indian Mountain. While some of those we were hiking alongside (Floridians) described the conditions as blizzard like, the weather we experienced can be more accurately described as some flurries,with no accumulation. Still, we were not expecting it to snow. Apparently snow is not as uncommon this time of year here and we may get some more in the Smokies.
Looking into North Carolina's Mountains
We are now climbing mountains that are between 4,000 - 6,000 feet above sea level and we will reach our highest elevation on the AT at Clingman's Dome later this month when we enter the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is at 6,643 feet. We are both looking forward to entering the Smoky's and will keep posting photos and videos to instagram (follow us: @Christian.Przybylek and @Brittany.Mellinger). We miss everyone but are enjoying the mountains and this amazing trip. More later.