Amicalola Falls State Park to Springer Mountain [8.8 miles]

“The Mountains are Calling, and I Must Go”





The alarm clock buzzes me awake. 5:00 a.m. Groan. I smack the snooze button and hold Doodle and Luke in my arms, eager for the extra 7 minutes of warmth. Just 7 minutes. Please. I need to burn this memory of comfort in my mind for all the moments of cold and misery on the trail. The cat struggles against my tight grip and jumps off the bed. She curls up on the floor instead, completely oblivious to what is happening today. Leaving a pet is just depressing– Doodle thinks this is a completely normal day and that I’ll be home after work…. ouch. At least, I’ve had months to prepare Luke for this day.

The alarm clock buzzes again, and finally, it is time to go. Flights to catch and dreams to chase. Don’t Cry. Don’t Cry.. I get ready and walk back to the bedroom one last time. Luke gives me a sleepy smile. There’s a part of me – a small part – that wants to delete the Appalachian Trail from my mind and dive back into the warm sheets. I push those feelings away and kiss Doodle and Luke. It’s time. I grab my pack and slip out into the cold Chicago night. I am ready. I have been ready for months.

A person cannot discover new oceans unless they have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

A few hours later, my flight is landing in Atlanta, Georgia. I catch a quick train and meet my ride to the trail, an old college friend, at the station. I’m all nerves until we arrive at Amicalola Falls State Park. From here, a steep 8.8 mile trail leads to the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Springer Mountain.

The first order of business is to register my thru-hike attempt at the ranger’s station; I am hiker #714 to attempt a Georgia to Maine thru-hike this year. (Wow, there are some crazy people out there!! Oh, wait…) The pack is weighed (26 lbs), pictures are taken, and suddenly… it’s time.

I wave goodbye to my friend and thank him for being my first “trail angel”. Then I turn around and pass through the arch to the Approach Trail to begin my journey. A journey that, if I am strong and lucky, will take me all the way to Maine.

I count the stairs up the falls…


I think about my gear…


I think about my old life…



Then I look up at the falls, smile and stop thinking.


Quick barf before I start:20130330-191947.jpg



Categories: Georgia | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Amicalola Falls State Park to Springer Mountain [8.8 miles]

  1. Scott

    Acorn, found your blog and I am really excited for you as you start your hike. I enjoy your writting style and look forward to more. Wish you the best of luck and willpower and lots of cheese.

  2. Becky

    hey ray—you are living the dream.

    Children’s Micro is following you!! (in spirit)

    Be careful out there.

  3. Woohoo! Way to go Acorn! Your going to kick the AT ass! I cant wait to cross blazes with you in a few months 🙂 <

  4. KristalB

    You are AMAZING!! Keep on, Acorn.

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