Sat, Dec 2 2017 - Amicalola to Springer Mountain and back (View Original Event Details)|
What a fun group we had today! The dozen of us enjoyed the early winter stillness in the forest as we made our way up and over Amicalola Mountain. We paused to regroup at the turnoff to the Hike Inn, then forged ahead and down into Nimblewill Gap. We checked out the memorial plaque commemorating the plane crash of Richard Shoolbred with 3 others in 1968. Then we ascended out of the gap, trekking past Black Mountain and the Black Gap shelter (complete with a couple of snoozing hikers in colorful sleeping bags). We scrambled over boulders and exposed tree roots, navigated a few switchbacks, and voíla! the top of Springer Mountain, and the start (or end) of the Appalachian Trail. We were up in the clouds now, with whiteout conditions taking the place of the usual gorgeous views. We shared the summit with several laid back groups. Pulling out the thru-hiker trail log, someone noted that a mouse had destroyed the first few pages of the log. Dry tea leaves had been left by a well-meaning trail magician, only to attract hungry mice.
A quick bite to eat, a couple of photos, and off we went, retracing our steps down the mountain. And just like that, we made it to our favorite part: climbing up out of NIMBLEWILL GAP. Having that part behind us, we soon reached the turnoff to the Hike Inn, and we took it this time. Ahhh... hot coffee, dessert including the last of the fruit crumble, and a few moments to soak up the ambiance of the Hike Inn. Very nice.
But we were still five miles from trail's end, so we gathered up our packs, thanked our hosts, and off we went. Bright sunlight welcomed us onto the trail, blue sky was plentiful, and a few birds were singing their hearts out. We worked our way across the elevated planks in the wet lowlands, balancing like a gymnast and nailing every dismount. We enjoyed the rolling hills and even caught some mountain views off to the east now that the skies had cleared. Before we knew it, we were back at the parking lot, saying farewell to the woods and to our trail companions - until next time.