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  1. #1
    Not committing until I graduate! Sassafras Lass's Avatar
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    Default Class of '11 - Doing approach trail or no?

    I hadn't previously realized that this was a subject of much debate - I'm interested in the responses here.

    Are you folks doing the traditional approach trail from the visitor's center, or are you starting a bit further on and backtracking a mile or two to the beginning of the AT?
    Formerly 'F-Stop'

    If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one.

    ~ Dolly Parton

  2. #2
    Digger takethisbread's Avatar
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    I did the whole thing before I started, and glad I did. It's one of the highlights of the trail, and it's not as hard as advertised. The steps are awesome.
    Missing the falls would suck. If you struggle with it, then u probably won't last on the trail anyway.

    Enjoy!

  3. #3

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    Makes no matter to me what someone chooses to do ...

    I'm meeting my hubby at Fontana Dam on March 31st (for our anniversary), so whether or not I do the approach trail will depend on which day I'm able to actually start my hike, since the approach to the first shelter would constitute 1 "day" for me.

    TF
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    Life is an adventure or nothing at all ~ Hellen Keller

  4. #4
    Registered User oldbear's Avatar
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    What I would like to do is start my hike by using the approach trail to the top of Springer and end it by using the Hamlin Ridge Trail into Chimnney Pond Mt Katahdin

  5. #5
    Registered User khog03's Avatar
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    I'm doing th approach trail so my ride doesn't have to drive up the rocky, steep, winding USFS road 42 that takes 2 hours round trip...and because I want to hah

  6. #6

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    I think doing the approach is a great way to start a thru. However, there is nothing "wrong" with starting at usfs 42. If friends or family, as opposed to a paid shuttler, is dropping you off I think the best way to resolve this issue is to figure out what is best for them and proceed accordingly.

  7. #7
    Registered User moondoggie's Avatar
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    As my family and I will be staying at Amicalola Lodge the eve of departure, I will do the approach trail. What's another 8.8 miles in the 'grand scheme of things'? Really?

    Wish it were tomorrow, as I can hardly wait!

    Moondoggie
    If you come to a fork in the road...take it - Yogi Berra

  8. #8
    Registered User beautifulpoetman's Avatar
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    I'll be doing the approach trail for many of the reasons already mentioned:

    1) I want to see those falls, man!
    2) I want the trail to kick my ass right off the bat. If I can't hack the approach...?
    3) My wife shouldn't have to brave driving the FS roads so I can have it easy on the trail.

    There's nothing "wrong" with skipping the approach, but I think the "proper" attitude is seeing it as an opportunity more than an obstacle.

  9. #9
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    I originally planned on doing the approach trail but I may not. In October I'm going to do all of GA including the approach trail so when April 1st rolls around, I may decide "I've already done these steps." Then again, I am going to be doing all of GA again so I'll probably climb the steps a second time.

  10. #10
    Springer - Front Royal Lilred's Avatar
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    I accidently followed the old approach trail and totally missed the stairs. Don't know how I did it, but glad it worked out that way. There's a trail that goes back behind the shelter. There was a blue blaze so I followed it and ended up at a road. Turned left and there I was at the lodge. This was a few years ago. Wonder if the old trail is still marked.
    "It was on the first of May, in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceable habitation on the Yadkin River, in North Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America." - Daniel Boone

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilred View Post
    I accidently followed the old approach trail and totally missed the stairs. Don't know how I did it, but glad it worked out that way. There's a trail that goes back behind the shelter. There was a blue blaze so I followed it and ended up at a road. Turned left and there I was at the lodge. This was a few years ago. Wonder if the old trail is still marked.
    It's still there, I hiked up it recently and came down the stairs and back to the visitor ctr.

  12. #12
    Registered User walkin' wally's Avatar
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    I'm going to try the Approach Trail. No good reson though, I just think I will have the time.... Happily unemployed.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gheparda View Post
    I hadn't previously realized that this was a subject of much debate - I'm interested in the responses here.

    Are you folks doing the traditional approach trail from the visitor's center, or are you starting a bit further on and backtracking a mile or two to the beginning of the AT?
    You can do anything that you feel, it's your hike! I think the trail from the visitor's center at Amicalola was changed to a series of stairs that need to be ascended in order to reach the top of the falls. I think from what I understand something like 425? I guess some say it is really not that hard. If you don't want to begin by having to climb all those stairs right at the start, from what I learned if you are being driven to Amicalola you can bypass them by being driven to the top of the falls and you can then pick up the Approach Trail from that point, and begin your journey to Springer Mountain from there. You can also backtrack to Springer. The choice is yours. If you are not worried about not beginning at the stone archway at the visitor's center, and don't worry about what other hikers think, begin where you choose to. The official Southern Terminus for the AT is at Springer, so it really doesn't matter which route you choose to get there.

  14. #14
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    If you like seeing waterfalls, announcing to yourself and the world that you are starting a thru-hike by entering under the stone arch, signing the thru-hiker register at the visitor's center, and weighing your pack do the approach.

    You might be amazed how heavy and bulky your gear was when you started and how light and smaller it got as you progresssed into your hike!

  15. #15
    Registered User walkin' wally's Avatar
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    Speaking just for myself I am not announcing anything to the world. I couldn't care less. Just hiking my hike

  16. #16
    Not committing until I graduate! Sassafras Lass's Avatar
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    Yes, we're doing the approach trail as well - if we're doing this, we want the whole kit n' kaboodle experience. Plus, what a great way to start your hike, with a waterfall . . . .
    Formerly 'F-Stop'

    If you don't like the road you're walking, start paving another one.

    ~ Dolly Parton

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gheparda View Post
    Yes, we're doing the approach trail as well - if we're doing this, we want the whole kit n' kaboodle experience. Plus, what a great way to start your hike, with a waterfall . . . .
    This is the wisdom of the thru-hike adage:"Hike Your Own Hike"! You go about it in the way that suits you and yours the best. As you hike you will make many decisions regarding your hike. The people you choose to spend time with, the places where you choose to camp/stay, the towns you choose to spend the most time/money in, etc...right down to the gear you choose to use/carry. Enjoy yourselves and remember that it is your hike and you and yours deserve to hike it the way that brings you the most joy and happiness

  18. #18
    jersey joe jersey joe's Avatar
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    Most people regret the things they don't do more than the things they do.
    Do the approach trail.

  19. #19
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    I did the approach trail last year and enjoyed it. The falls were worth the visit. The trail from the top to the base of Springer was simple enough, but climbing up Spring and anticipating seeing the first white blaze was way kewl! I remember as I hit the FS road thinking "I wouldn't want to approach Springer any other way than the Approach Trail." To walk back a mile on the AT to start seems a bit redundant. The hike my way to it had a bit of anticipation that was way awesome for me.

  20. #20

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    Sometimes I wish I hadn't ('10 here) but then we all looked back and laughed at how hard we thought it was when we really hadn't done anything hard until much, much later. If we went back now it would have been a breeze to do.

    Do it, it'll be tough if you aren't used to hiking, but then you'll just laugh at it later.

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