Northbound AT Plans

Tropical Storm Alberto is forcing a reevaluation of my planned start date. My plan was to start on the Approach Trail at Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia on Tuesday, 29 May. The current forecast is for as much as 9-10 inches of rain on Monday and Tuesday. The last couple of updates have the path going further west. I am hopeful of starting on Wednesday but will probably make a final decision on Monday. With Monday being a holiday, I am hoping to lose a little of the crowd. There is a tiny chance that I would start at the top of the stairs since I did already did that part (twice) last year, meeting Trail Snail at the completion of her hike. Probably depends on the weather and what time I get started. Dolora plans to do the Approach Trail up to the stairs but not do the stairs. Trail Snail has been providing advice by email from Germany!

It is 604 steps to the top of the falls and 8.8 miles to the beginning of the Appalachian Trail at Springer Mountain. It is 470 miles from Springer Mountain to Damascus, Virginia. Damascus is where I finished my southbound hike last year and my goal for this year. There is about 165 miles between Pearisburg and Buena Vista that I need to complete Virginia. That may be a late summer or fall hike…

All my resupplies look like 3-4 days so I don’t have to carry too much food weight. It looks like most of those resupplies have a hostel so if the weather is bad or I need a zero, it is easy to adjust my schedule. I don’t know if I want to stay in a hostel twice a week but the shower and clean clothes would be nice.  It should be five or six weeks until I reach Damascus.

Dolora is planning on meeting me in Gatlinburg in about two weeks. I am not making any firm plans until a day or two before. That’s something I learned from last year. I want my schedule to be flexible. I have two mail drops in addition to meeting Dolora, NOC and Standing Bear. I have freeze dried dinners for the mail drops since I may be tired of noodles and ramen. We’ve had a rainy spring so I think there will be no issues with water.

Guessing at an average of 12 miles a day including zeros. I’m looking forward to getting back out. I’ll miss my previous hiking partner but hope to meet some new folks. I am expecting things to be calmed down a bit with a late start. I’ve been reading about all the North Bounders (NOBOs) and Trail Days. Too many people and too much partying for my taste.

Right now I have stuff spread out through the family room, living room and dining room. I hope to finish my packing and clean up. I am trying to figure out clothes for the warmer weather and sleeping. My “emergency” cool weather item is going to be a down vest. I can’t imagine needing a puffy. I’ll have a long sleeve shirt and my rain jacket if it is cool. I have my quilt but will bring a silk liner. I’ll use just the liner if it is warm.

My gear list is here.

I’ll be trying to update my blog daily, but don’t hesitate to email me or make comments here.

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