“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Keroac
I’ve been very fortunate to live in Atlanta with very close access to some beautiful places. They may not have the dramatic breathlessness of the other popular nature spots in the country, but still leaves your heart filled with happiness and takes away all the care in the world. This weekend, I had a chance to hike a bit of the Appalachian Trail. Actually, as I found out after I got back, it was part of the APPROACH to the Appalachian Trail that we hiked. A small group of us started at Amicalola Falls Lodge, about 1.5-2hrs north of Atlanta and hiked up to the Len Foote Hike Inn. The Inn is 4.8 miles each way and took us just under 3hrs each way. The A.T., as the Appalachian Trail is known, starts from Stringer Mountain, which would’ve added about another 3 miles each way.
1. Easy Access from Atlanta
The AT Approach Trail Hike is easily accessible from Atlanta and its suburbs with only a 1.5-2 hr drive. The lodge at Amicalola Falls State Park is a good base to start the hike from.
2. Easy to Moderate Hike
I’m essentially a (faux) runner and not a hiker. I have mental scars from the time I tried to hike up the Franz Joseph glacier in New Zealand and failed miserably. And scars from college days when we’d go hiking as part of annual class trip and there always had to be a couple of people to sweep with me. I still was at the back here, but never felt like I wasn’t going to make it. Now, I know that the AT approach trail isn’t really a part of the real Appalachian Trail but it gave me enough confidence that I could do some parts of the real AT too.
3. Stay/Stop at Hike Inn
If 5 miles is all the hiking you want to do in one day, you can stay the night at the Eco Friendly, hike-only-accessible Hike Inn. There are some gotgeous vistas of the North Georgia mountains from the hike inn that you can enjoy sitting outside.
We didn’t stay there but met plenty of people who did and they talked to us about seeing the sunrise. Also located on the grounds of the inn is a granite Star Base formation that aligns with the rising sun during the spring and fall equinoxes. The Star Base was designed by Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta. (Source: Wikipedia)
I can’t wait to go back another time, and for the day when I can spend the night there. I don’t think that my 9&7 yo minions are ready for a 10 mile hike yet, even if spread over 2 days. So a couple more years and you’ll see a lot more of me on that A.T. Approach trail!
Do you like hiking? What are your favorite hikes?
Have you hiked the Appalachian Trail or would you want to, either a part of it or a thru hike?
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