Maps for the Appalachian Trail near Springer Mtn., GA

I received a text message from a friend: “My sister and I want to begin a hike at Springer Mountain in mid-July. Do you have maps we can borrow or recommend the best maps?”

My maps are in storage in Virginia while I work out in California! Besides, once you step on the Appalachian Trail, you’ll fall in love with it and want your own set of maps for fanning the flame of your new passion and recording your memories!  Here are my recommendations

MAPS

Maps are helpful for spatial orientation, road crossings, and for locating nearby towns and highway routes. They can also show topography, shelters, and points of interest along the way.  I also enjoy perusing a good map for bedtime reading! Here are suggestions for maps for the southern section of the Appalachian Trail: read more

Purpose

I encourage my heartsingers to know their purpose for walking the Appalachian Trail, or any journey! Here’s a good example of a stated purpose that a woman posted in a women’s hiking group. To me, it seems alive with feeling, possibility, and anticipated transformation.

“I live in GA and hike on the AT every chance I get…thru to the Smokies. Even tho Its training…I cant wait to start at Springer an rock out each and every milestone of the trail and my life. Crying, Smiling Laughing…emptying the baggage thats held me back for so long!! I NEED EVERY STEP of 2189 miles to tear me down and rebuild me, from the soles of my feet to the soul of my heart!!”
I would feel incomplete if I didnt go from start to finish…  read more

Verrry Close

September 18, 2016

We stopped at 6:35 p.m. when we reached the Shooting Star Camp, the northernmost shelter on the Long Trail, just 4.4 miles from the northern terminus. We had talked about pushing on in the dark to the end, but agreed that the risk and slowness of night walking in this rocky terrain outweighed the appeal of getting to the finish line tonight.

This was a fun day! At last I have become neutral about whether the path goes up or down, whether there are rocks, boulders, roots, water, or mud, whether I’m maneuvering down ribbed ledges of mossy rock or gingerly stepping on slippery ladders of roots. read more

Countdown

September 17, 2016

9 a.m. 26 miles to go! 

Yesterday evening, we reached our goal, the Spruce Peak Shelter. It was a nice shelter, but it was only 5:00 p.m.! There were still two hours of light. We kept going.

First, through Devil’s Gulch, a short scramble through huge craggy boulders covered with ferns. I was glad we were exploring that as an evening activity rather than first thing in the morning. 

We kept walking. The trouble was that the trail skirted the side of a mountain, so no flat spots for tenting were available. “There’s one” would reveal lumps and bumps on closer inspection. Another quarter mile. Now, the trail headed straight up the mountain on narrow stone steps, up and up to Ritterbush Overlook. Now, we’d gone another full mile and darkness was soon to arrive. The trail leveled out. Yay! A decent spot appeared, but John had already moved on. Keep going. Another hundred yards, and John says, “Here’s a spot.” It was a very good spot – flat, with two trees for tying the tarp, and off the trail down an old road about twenty feet. Yes! It was a good spot! We had walked 17.3 miles too! 30.1 miles from Canada! read more

Hiker Friends

September 12, 2016

“Hiker Friends, we need a hiker friend, to pick us up at this trailhead and take us to town.”

That’s my new thought when I have to hitch a ride into town for resupply. I accept that most of the drivers passing us by don’t know anything about the Long Trail and why backpackers would be hitching a ride. I pass by all the self-hating things they could be thinking about me. They are not who I am signalling with my thumb.

I’m signalling one of the Hiker Friends, who know that long distance hikers need a ride into town every few days.  read more

Intown Ingenuity

September 12, 2106

I bought a backpack in Waterbury. It’s very cool, emblazoned with “I ♡ 1 Direction” and a photo of the boyband. “Whaaat?” you say!

Actually, it’s perfect…….because…

It has a zipper! My pouch needs a new zipper, and this backpack has a good one. I can cut it out and use it. And it only cost one dollar at the Bargain Boutique in Waterbury.

With my tiny swiss army knife scissors, stashed needle, and multi-purpose dental floss, I can switch out the failing zipper in my pouch. read more

Grocery Shopping

September 8, 2016

I’ve spent almost as much time shopping when I lived in Decatur, GA, than I did today starting from the trail! When I lived in Midway Woods, John Reiter and I would don our backpacks (we had no car then) and walk 45 minutes to the Dekalb Farmers Market, shop for a while, sit outside and eat a snack, then walk home. That would take 3-4 hours, and we enjoyed it!

Today, Hiker John and I reached Rt 125 at about 10:30, not knowing who would be givi g us a ride to Middlebury, VT, 10 miles away. John noticed a bus schedule posted at the trailhead. He called the bus company to confirm that the bus made a stop at this spot later in the afternoon. read more

Slabbing- with Bears

September 7, 2016

The local hiker we met a couple of hours after our 6:43 a.m. start on our first full day of this walk said, “This slabbing makes for quite a walk, doesn’t it?” I was unfamiliar with the term, but realized she was talking about how the trail was carved out of the side of the mountain. Sometimes the trail was very narrow and slanted sideways making it hard to keep from sliding down the steep mountainside! I had called this kind of trail “sidehill”, but “slabbing” is a good name for it too! read more

We Started

September 6, 2016

8 miles completed on this section of the Long Trail! We got out on the trail about 2 p.m. A sense of home at the Inn at Long Trail pervaded the day. Was it the familiarity with that spot since we had stopped there last year, even though we didn’t stay. The hefty breakfast, included with our stay could have had something to do with the feeling. Perhaps the homelike arrangement of the furniture in the common living room or the laundry room tucked in a hallway next to the kitchen. The place seemed, well, livable, not like a hotel. I got a surprise service from the Innkeeper, Maury. Another hiker and I were waiting at the bus stop across the road from the Inn, with plenty of time to catch the 10:38 bus. We stood, chatting about our hikes, when zoom, the bus passed by! Right on time too! “Hey! It’s supposed to stop here and it didn’t!” read more

A New Journey!

September 5, 2016

The sign here we left the Appalachian Trail, finished and new complete, and a little sad, said “Please Stay on the Trail.”

In my mind I sang along with Arlo Guthrie, “That sign was made for you and me.” And we also knew that what we really wanted to do was heed that sign and stay on the trail.

But, not the Appalachian Trail. We finished that – twice! You may not know that for 100 miles in southern Vermont the Applachian Trail coincides with the Long Trail, 372 miles on a vertical axis through Vermont. read more