The train pulled into Gainsville, and Survivor Dave was waiting to take me to Amicalola Falls SP, home of the approach trail. I got my pack together as Kim showed up with her Mom. After pictures by the arch marking the beginning of the trail, we headed off for a grueling 7.3 mile clime to Black Gap Shelter.
It was near record highs at over 80 degrees, and all the warm clothing we thought we would be wearing was in our packs adding to the weight of excessive amount of food.
We were exhausted as we got to the shelter around 6 pm. We pitched our tents, made some dinner, and passed out. We were up before dawn, had camp struck, had a good breakfast, and were on the trail before sunrise.
You see, I've had this secret mission to be the first to sign the register on top of Springer on the first day of spring. Fresh footprints made me think I wasn't going to make it!
As we were climbing, a great view of the mountains came into view to our left. But to the right was a greater view- The plaque on Springer's summit making the start of the AT!
I grabbed the log and found no one had signed it yet! I made the first entry of the equinox, we took some pictures, and headed down the trail. We hooked up with Darkage, Damn Yankee, and Doug at the parking lot. The Asylum Train was hitched up, and we stepped out for Hawk Mountain Shelter.
The Asylum Train Leaves the Station!
The trail grade was a bit easier than the approach, but for Kim and I, it was a 9.6 mile day, and our packs were only marginally lighter. It was another day in the 80s.
We all groused about carrying cold wx gear in these temps, but the reality is that we cold be postholing thru the snow next week.
Hawk Mountain shelter was crowded with all the folks starting the trail in spring, but I was the first. The First AT Hiker in Spring