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  1. #1
    Registered User mostlyfreebird's Avatar
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    Default approach trail or no?

    Hey all... about to leave for my hike on April 3rd. I haven't really heard much feedback about doing the 8 mile approach trail to Springer, or skipping it. What do you think? What worked for you, what are you planning on doing?

    Just wondering why some people choose to do it or not. Thanks! Happy hiking

  2. #2

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    If you want a good taste of the climbing that lies ahead on the trail you'll get it on the approach. The next 8 miles from Springer are more easy going up to Hightower Gap. I started my section hike at Springer. I was a complete newbie. I later came back to hike the Approach. I was glad I didn't hike it when I first started but frankly it's no harder than what lies ahead it's just first.

  3. #3
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    no. skip it

  4. #4
    MuddyWaters's Avatar
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    I say have the best of both worlds....

    Hike 1/2 of the approach trail
    Dilema solved

    Your welcome.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  5. #5
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    Ah here we go again.

    Thru-hiking is kinda dumb to begin with. So what's another eight miles of brain-deadness on top of the other two thousand? YOLO. Isn't that what the kids say?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    Ah here we go again.

    Thru-hiking is kinda dumb to begin with. So what's another eight miles of brain-deadness on top of the other two thousand? YOLO. Isn't that what the kids say?
    if you're gonna hike your first 9 miles of a 2200 mile walk on a blue- blazed trail then why not walk every blue-blazed trail between ga. and me. ?

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    no dont do it
    I hike with a dog. Please, tell me why i shouldn't.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    if you're gonna hike your first 9 miles of a 2200 mile walk on a blue- blazed trail then why not walk every blue-blazed trail between ga. and me. ?
    Well, you do hike a lot of blue blaze trails just getting to and from shelters or water sources and those probably add up to quite a few extra miles by the time your done.

    Last time I was down there I stayed at the lodge so hiked the access trail to the top of Springer and found it to be an nice warm up. It's not very hard mostly a gradual up. If your staying at the Hiker Hostel and have a choice to do the approch or the FS42 parking lot, most everyone picks the parking lot.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  9. #9
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    These debates happens all the time with everyone giving their opinion. Just do either and don't sweat it.

  10. #10
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    I'm doing it for several reasons. Seems another 8 miles is nothing really lol.
    NOBO March 2018

    Man can only find oneself while alone on the Appalachian Trail. There his mind if free to explore his thoughts, the Universe and eventually find his true self. -Ernest Hemingway

  11. #11
    Registered User Oventoasted's Avatar
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    So if you do the approach trail you cone up onto Springer mountian from the south and hike on towards the rest of the AT. If you decide to start at springer you get to the parking lot which is a mile i to the AT already. So you walk a mile up to Springer and then a mile back down to the parking lot to start the hike.

    i wanted to do the approach trail anyway when i started but finding out i would have had to walk a mile up to springer and backtrack back down wasnt my idea of starting the AT for me.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    if you're gonna hike your first 9 miles of a 2200 mile walk on a blue- blazed trail then why not walk every blue-blazed trail between ga. and me. ?

    I dunno, it seems somehow more real than being driven almost to the summit of the first mountain and starting a NOBO hike walking SOBO.

    But that's just rationalizing. Truth of the matter is it was already late in the day, I'd just been dropped off in Gainesville after leaving Boston at 5 AM, and hailed the first cab that came by. If I even knew about the USFS-42 option, it seemed altogether too complicated to explain to the cabbie. Whereas the state park, he knew.

    Anyway -- just wondering, when did you turn into a purist?

  13. #13

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    Depends on whether you enjoy hiking or not. If not, skip it.
    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

  14. #14
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    Default

    (I am not a thru-hiker, let's get that out of the way upfront).

    But, I would think it depends on the person. I am slowly making my up the AT (South to North). I will readily admit to being OCD as far as it relates to completing something. I needed to start at the very beginning of the approach trail at the bottom of the Falls and walk the miles in between there and Maine (hopefully) all South to North. If anyone asks why, I can't really explain it. I just need to do it that way. My wife, who has been hiking with me, could walk it North to South, skip parts, take short-cuts, dodge mountains, and it wouldn't cost her a moments thought (and she can out hike me on the trail, so that is not the problem). Despite this, I think we both would agree that we enjoy the hiking the same, and our "craziness" works for us.

    Something about a defined starting point and ended point make it enjoyable for me.

  15. #15
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    I've done it both ways, so I feel like I can comment.

    Do the approach trail. It's only 8.8 miles added to a 2200 mile hike - you'll add hundreds of miles of blue blazing during your hike anyway. And I found something special about hiking up out of the woods and seeing the first white blaze, more so than hiking south on the AT for a mile to the summit then starting north.
    Ken B
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  16. #16
    Registered User Sandy of PA's Avatar
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    The waterfall is really pretty, the arch gives the sense of a real starting point, the visitor center has people to take your picture for you if you are solo, you get a number to know how many are ahead of you, you can weigh your pack, why not hike the approach?

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    I say have the best of both worlds....

    Hike 1/2 of the approach trail
    Dilema solved

    Your welcome.
    How?

    I've hiked the approach trail. Where can you get to just half of it?

  18. #18
    Super Moderator Ender's Avatar
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    It doesn't matter either way, but I see no reason not to do it. Just more time you get to spend in the woods. That said, if you don't want to do it, no worries there either.
    Don't take anything I say seriously... I certainly don't.

  19. #19
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    While I agree with BigCranky (and also have done it both ways myself), I also feel you almost might as well ask us what color socks to wear. It's not for us to answer such questions for you. Having said that, those who have done it both ways have both experiences to share, ... and almost universally tell you it's truly up to you. Keep in mind, at Springer you have a choice; at Katahdin you don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    I've done it both ways, so I feel like I can comment.

    Do the approach trail. It's only 8.8 miles added to a 2200 mile hike - you'll add hundreds of miles of blue blazing during your hike anyway. ...
    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

    www.MeetUp.com/NashvilleBackpacker

    .

  20. #20

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    A slightly more detailed and nuanced response than my first: This question comes up on this forum fairly often and with enough regularity that it sometimes appears to trolling because for some strange reason people have absurdly strong opinions about a fairly trivial question. But, just in case its legit, let me add that I come from a perspective of two through hikes and a section hike completion and am about a third of the way through my second section hike. I should also add that I really like hiking. I would rather be walking thru the woods than just about anything else. So why would I not jump at the chance to add nine miles to any adventure? I also realize that for many aspiring thru hikers, hiking is not a priority, some are in it for the athletic challenge, a sense of accomplishment, the social scene, camping, etc... . For those folks, adding another day to their itinerary on a trail that isn't even the AT seems silly and unnecessary. You'll meet a bunch of different folks on the trail and they all have their own reasons for being there and if you're there because you enjoy walking then I give my wholehearted endorsement to the approach trail - otherwise, skip it - you won't miss anything life-changing.
    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

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