Backpacking Adventures on the Appalachian Trail

I’ve always been a pretty adventurous soul. But a few years ago, I started hearing stories of people hiking the Appalachian Trail. I had heard of the trail before, but didn’t realize people could actually hike the entire thing…..from Georgia to Maine!

I’m a mountain girl at heart. There’s absolutely no place I’d rather be than in the North Georgia/North Carolina mountains. So the thought of hiking as much of this trail as possible sounded like so much fun!

So we started talking seriously about what it would take to be able to do this kind of hiking. I’ve done plenty of day hikes before and grew up camping, but I had never actually “roughed” it before. But the idea intrigued me so much! Before I knew it, Mister and I decided to give it a try to see if we liked it.

I could do a whole post on the type of equipment needed for backpacking and hiking, but I’ll save that for another day. For our first section hike, we purchased medium grade equipment. We did fine, but after our first hike and knowing we wanted to continue with these little adventures, we made the decision to upgrade all of our equipment. You definitely get what you pay for and it makes a HUGE difference in your hike! Like I said, I’ll share more about our equipment later in another post.

The start of the Appalachian Trail is on top of Springer Mountain in Georgia. As a matter of proximity, it only made sense for us to begin our hiking at the southern starting point. If you read about hiking, you’ll find that people are referred to as thru hikers, section hikers, and flip-flop thru hikers. Because we know it’s virtually impossible for us to hike the entire 2,181 miles of the trail, we’re just section hiking. Our main goal is to hike the entire Georgia section of the trail, (78.6 miles) from the starting point at Springer Mountain.

If you look closely, you can see the metal box tucked inside one of the big rocks on top of Springer Mountain. A book is hid in there where hikers can sign their names (trail names) to document that they were here. Along the entire trail, there are places like this for hikers to sign in for people to keep up with where they are. This comes in handy for friends you meet along the trail that may be trying to catch back up with you later on. I suppose it’s also great for if something were to happen to a hiker and no one know where to find them. Thankfully, technology helps alot with this concern and there are many places where you can get a cell phone signal while on the trail. The trail even goes through or along certain towns, so hikers can get off the trail to re-supply or rest for a few days.

Our boys and my Uncle Mike joined us for the start of this little adventure. Since then, it’s just been me and the Mister. I thought at first hiking without others might get boring but I’ve come to love the quality time we get out there on the trail away from all the distractions of life.

Depending on where you are along the trail, it takes on different forms. Sometimes the path is clearly visible. At other times, you have to climb through rocks and even cross water. So much fun!

You can’t beat the views! They’re incredible!

Our section hikes usually occur in May of every year. One year it looked almost like winter on the trail because of a late spring. I believe on this same trip, we saw so many trees down from where a hurricane had come through previously.

Thankfully there are trail conservatory groups that help maintain the trail and keep it in good shape for hikers to enjoy.

One of my favorite hikes has been Blood Mountain, the highest peak of the trail in Georgia with an elevation of 4,458. On top of this mountain there is a shelter where hikers can stay if they don’t want to tent camp. There are actually a good number of shelters along the trail to give hikers this option. We prefer to tent camp, but it’s nice to know there are some shelters in place in the event of severe weather and we need to take cover.

One year we celebrated our anniversary while hiking the trail. I’m so thankful that my sweet husband and I have lots of things in common and love to have adventures together. We’re making some incredible memories!

People say that the entire Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail can be done in one week. While that’s probably true for hikers who are much younger than us….and who don’t mind getting up super early and getting to camp late in the day, we prefer to go at our own pace. We were rained out one trip and didn’t get to go. Last year, our hike was cut short because of endless rain. But this spring we are planning to go back and finish the last 9 miles of the trail. I can’t wait! It’s going to be such a special time to reach our goal of hiking the entire Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail….. and there’s not a person I’d rather be with to do this.

When we accomplish this goal, we won’t be done with hiking at all. We’ll probably do more sections through North Carolina. We also purchased mountain bikes last year, so there are bike trails in Georgia we’d love to do. We even have a canoe and have heard of water trails to take! How fun does that sound?! So stay tuned for all the fun adventures!

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