Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Trip Report March 6, 2011 Springer Mountain

We parked the truck at the top of Springer Mountain on USFS 42 and opened the doors to some cold wind. Steve noticed a few flurries wondering down from the sky and we all got excited that there may be snow during the trip. The hike up to Springer Mountain. Shelter was not too bad, but the idea of snow kept the hike exciting. By 5:00pm the temp was already down to 30* and dropping.

Here we are. No more snow on the hike in, but it was cold. You can see Steve checking in with the “Boss” (in other words, his wife).

 It got down to about 15-20 degrees that night and when we woke up the woods were lit up with ice on all the trees. There was a layer of ice on pretty much everything as you will see int the upcoming pictures.

If you look close here, you can see the frost on Josh’s rain fly:

This is the sun coming up over the peaks from the top of springer. No picture can really express how beautiful this was with the orange glow hitting the ice covered trees. This is why we go on these trips, for moments like this.

Soon after the sun came up the temperature rose and the ice was falling from the tree. It hurt (Mike was looking around and a piece of ice hit him in the face) and sounded like hail so we stayed in the shelter for a while till it passed. You can see a little of this in the video that we have of the trip up on Youtube.

This is the first morning of the trip when we got up and we were enjoying some coffee on the top of Springer Mountain. We had a pretty eventful night (especially Mike with Pop and Son in the shelter, but that story is for another day) and it got down to about 20 degrees that night. Nothing like a good cup of coffee on a cold morning.

Steve doesn't like to have his picture taken, so there are few pics of him hatless while camping (or at all for that matter). Mike happened to have gotten him as he was running away from the camera early in the morning. Since we all know he is an old man he cant move too fast so Mike was still able to get a good shot of him without his hat.This is one of the rare photos of him hatless:

 We started to pack up and get ready to head out. But not until AFTER we all had our coffee.

Once the sun warmed us up, we started to pack up and head out. We started our trek about the same time as the ice in the trees started to melt. We had to take refuge in the shelter because it was like rocks falling out of the trees. Mike was even attacked by a rogue icicle in the face. He, being such a good sport, laughed it off but we could tell he was in quite a bit of pain.  From the shelter we went to the top of Springer heading North, and stopped from some awesome views.

This is the Terminus of the Appalachian Trail. The plaque shows the map of the trail as well as the year that it was placed in this location (1993). This is where thousands of people have started the experience of their lives.

We continued heading North back down the mountain towards Amicalola Falls State Park. about two miles down the Approach trail, is Black Gap Shelter. we stayed here the second night.

This is the three of us that went on this trip at the terminus on to of Springer. As you can see the view is pretty breath taking and is a wonderful view to have if you were starting a thru-hike. From left to right its Josh, Steve, and Mike.

We got to the next shelter down on the approach trail and we threw up our hammock chairs and relaxed for a while. We will be doing a DIY video on how to make one of these hammock chairs. They are great for sitting, lounging, and we use them as storage as it hangs beside our sleeping hammocks at night.

Here is Steve relaxing and contemplating Life in a hammock.

This is the setup that we had at the second location. We were in a small valley that night so we avoided the wind more than we did on the top of Springer. It was a lot warmer without the wind but we still had temps in the low 20’s that night.

We decided to do some experimenting so Steve brought his game camera and set it up outside the camping area. We did not get anything of wildlife but we did get a picture of Josh going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

We woke the next morning well rested and ready to go. We hit the trail heading South back to the summit of Springer and took a quick rest at the Springer Mountain. Shelter at lunch time. After about 30 minutes we headed down the AT to the parking lot. On the way home we stopped at Wendy’s to find the BEEF and replenish our depleted supply of fries and Frostys.

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