Thursday, April 5, 2012
The southern end, that is, of the Appalachian Trail, was my significant destination today (Saturday, March 31st). It was a nice weekend day, and the crowds were out - vehicles filled every parking area with long lines of them overflowing along the shoulders of the adjacent roads.
Three Forks was a zoo. It's a popular day-hike trailhead because the trail there follows a significant mountain stream, Long Creek, with some beautiful cascades including Long Creek Falls. It had poured down rain for four hours last night to the campers' chagrin, but to the delight of lovers of waterfalls.
The Georgia Adventure Group had set up a trail magic canopy where the trail passes near (but out of sight of) the Hickory Flats Cemetery. This is the most lively cemetery I know, with picnic pavilion, camping welcome, and a rest room. Yet the cemetery itself mostly consists of simple natural unhewn standing stones with no readable inscriptions.
But of course Springer Mountain was the highlight. The trail from the parking area 0.9 miles up to the summit was half under water (or mud) due to the overnight rains - tough walking. But there's an indescribable feeling when you get there - almost like being on hallowed ground. Everybody and his uncle gets a shot like the one up top, but you rarely see the shot in the other direction - a very nice vista of the flatlands to the south:
I'm coming back tomorrow, via the approach trail, just to complete the full AT experience. Then its time to flip up north and start trudging toward Katahdin.
The (other) End.
Here's the map showing today's route. It comes with a link to many more photos (click the title).
AT Day 86 - Springer Mountain at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find hiking trails in California and beyond
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