Day 1: The Rainforest

March 11th

Springer mountain shelter to Hawk mountain shelter

Miles hiked:7.9

AT mileage: 8.1

Elevation chart from Guthook Guides.

I slept great last night. Today we woke up at 7:30 broke camp, and hit the trail at 9:15. Our mileage was really easy. It was pretty much all downhill except the last 2 miles. After we hiked one mile we went to Dad’s car at the springer mountain parking lot and dumped off some gear/ picked up more food. I got rid of my sleeping bag liner and an extra pair of leggings. Caroline got rid of some clothes hoping to drop her pack weight. Dad took our trail friend Johnathan back to Amicalola falls so he could drive his car back up to springer and distribute hard copies of surveys to thru hikers at the summit. He is doing a psychology study on thru hikers for school.

The scenery made it feel like we were on a completely different trail today. It felt like the rainforest with the rhododendron bushes and red dirt. The Benton Mckaye Trail passed over the AT several times today. The weather was humid, warm (50s), and rained a bit from 2-3. We got to cross several interesting bridges. At one point we passed some people in army uniforms hiding in the bushes. There is some training place close by and you can hear them fire guns and set off fake bombs.

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Emma and Caroline in the Rhododendron bushes.

For lunch we stopped at long creek falls for about an hour. We took our time since we knew we would get to camp so early.

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Our lunch spot set up along side Long Creek.

Right before we arrived at camp it started raining for our last two miles. We started going fast to make sure we got a spot in the shelter. Our destination for the day was Hawk Mountain Shelter. The four of us and one other person took over the entire second level of the shelter. Dad came in shortly after us and pitched a tent since the shelter was full. We just hung out and made dinner.

At the shelter I got to meet several interesting people. First was lion heart and his two dogs. They hiked the whole AT together in 2017 and are doing it again this year. Later in the evening right before bed we met two people who had made or dyed everything they own lavender. Turns out they are in a band called the Mailboxes. They are thru hiking the AT this year and going on tour afterwards. They played a few songs for us. Other people I met at camp were fireplug and colonel.

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The Mailboxes and their lavender set up. Jillian played her Ukulele for us outside the shelter and sang.
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Lion heart signing the trail register with his two dogs Nova and Severus. He signs their names with his every time.
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Nova one of Lionheart’s dogs.

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