My first night on the AT was filled with a raging thunderstorm and my tent quickly filled with water. The problem wasn’t leaks, it was that I had a tarp tent and no experience with it, so the sides were not flush with the ground and the rain was coming down so hard that it was actually bouncing back up into the tent. The mesh was coated in ground debris.
Before the storm came in, I had really enjoyed being on the mountain and the campsites there are lovely. The shelter is a big 2 story affair (that upon later reflection, I should have gone and gotten in!) and in early spring the hillside the small creek tumbles down is covered in wildflowers.
There’s an energy there as well, especially at the terminus. It’s positive, excited energy, so very many people dream for years of being there and it’s so easy to reach that their equally scared and excited support crew can join them for the first official mile of the AT. Twice since the terminus is a mile south of the parking lot, once there, you turn around and go right back down again. Or else spend the day before walking the 8 miles up from Amicalola. Blerh, that’s a long climb!
I had been wanting to return for a better night of it, so when things worked out for a friend to come along for her first backpacking trip, it seemed like a perfect place to start! We stayed on Springer the first night and on day two, hiked to Hawk Mountain, turned around and walked back to camp near Long Creek Falls so we only had 4.5 miles the third day.
This made for an 18 mile 2 night trip that was perfect for a first timer.