Day 1: Approach Trail – Part #2

Date:      Saturday 19 April 2014
Start:      Amicalola Falls Visitor Center          -8.8 miles               Today:              7.3 miles
Finish:   Black Gap Shelter                                -1.5  miles               Total AT:          n/a

This is a helpful sign. Thanks sign, for pointing me in the right direction.

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This is an upsetting sign. I don’t want a fatal injury!

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And this… this is an obnoxious sign. I definitely don’t want to climb these stairs. Don’t tell me how many steps there are, it’s too demoralizing.

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It is possible to bypass the stairs by following the road that leads to the top of the falls, but that seems like a bit of a cop-out. These first 175 steps actually weren’t that bad. It’s the next set of 425 stairs I could have done without.

I haven’t even walked a mile yet, and I’m already sweating.

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As you climb, there are plenty of places to stop and rest, which I appreciated. I can see why people suggest taking the road during icy weather because those steps would definitely be slippery, but fortunately that wasn’t an issue today.

At the top of the falls there’s a beautiful view down into the valley.

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More importantly, there’s also another bathroom, which I took full advantage of because I am loathe to say goodbye to indoor plumbing and will stretch out this farewell process as long as possible.

Since it was the weekend, there were a fair number of tourists and local day hikers out; the only other self-identified thru-hiker I saw that day was Ali, one of the guys from the Hiker Hostel. Everyone else I chatted with was only planning to do a section hike.

I was actually a little surprised at how few people were on the trail overall. I didn’t keep an exact count, but I’d estimate that between the top of the falls and Black Gap Shelter I only saw fifteen people. I knew the main bubble of NOBO hikers was weeks ahead, but I still thought the trail would be more crowded. Not that I’m complaining, though. It’s safe to say nine out of ten hikers will pass me, so fewer people means fewer times I have to step off the trail to let them by.

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