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[at-l] Trip Report - Springer Approach

I see a few others were in the vicinity this weekend, but I'll add my
experience as well.

Saturday morning I fired up the Hippie Crash Pad (my VW bus) and cruised
up to Amicalola. I was planning to do the approach trail, camp at the
Springer shelter and hike out on Sunday. This was a solo trip.

I parked near the top of the falls which put the distance into the shelter
at 7.5 miles. I was on the trail and hiking at about 11:15am. The weather
was fairly cold, slightly windy, completely overcast. About two miles into
the hike I began to notice that there was frost and ice up in all the
trees (I noticed this because the ice was blowing out of the trees and
onto my head!) It was very surreal looking, visibility was about forty
yards because of the fog/clouds and the ground was starting to accumulate
some frost. A little farther up the trail I started to notice weird stuff,
namely that every time the trail would take a turn , the weather would be
a good bit different. I'd round a hollow and it'd would be five degrees
warmer with no tree frost, a 1/4 mile later it would be windy, colder, and
frost everywhere. I stoppped for a water break at the intersection with
some park or Forest Service road, it was south of Nimblewill Gap, there
were some old cement pieces that looked like maybe there was once a
firetower there. As I hit nimblewill gap, I heard a strange noise. Turned
out some yokels were on the Approach trail on their four-wheelers. They
asked me a few stupid questions and were on their way. The climb up Frosty
had me sweating (I was down to a mid-wt underwear top and a light wt
underwear botoom with soem gore-tex pants) I passed a two trail
maitainence folks about a mile into the hike, and one day hiker on his way
out about two miles in. ONce I toppped Frosty it was cold and getting
colder. FRost everywhewre, blowing out of trees and covering the ground. 
So I pulled into the old Springer shelter a mile south of the current one.
I fired up the stove and got a mug of hot chocolate, got out bthe sleeping
bag and thermarest and crawled in. Once I warmed up, I broke out the
American Alpine Journal 1996, my reading material for the trip. Then,
vroom vroooom, more damn yokel fourwheelers. There were five of them this
time. Pulled up to the shelter to "take a break" Their break consisted of
pulling their lazy asses off the machines and breaking out pints of
Seagram's Seven. They were kind enough to offer me "A snort of whiskey"
which I declined. One of the five was a boy of about 8 or 9. He asked me
how I got there,  "I walked" . "How fur did ye have to walk togit her?"
"Oh about six or seven miles"  "You orta git ye a fur wheelur" "No,
actually my parents have one and I came here to walk, not ride" "Oh, you
crazy" "Well I might be"

After these natural selection lottery losers rode off, it started getting
colder and actually started snowing. It was about 3:15 at this point. The
forecast was the night was for high teen temperatures down in the cities,
so I figured low teens at best where I was. It didn't take long to do the

Bag rating = 20, temp = 10
daylight left= 2.5 hours,  hiike time out= 3 hours

I cooked some black beans and rice and hnit the trail to hike out at
around 4:00, leaving me with about 2 hours of daylight maximum. I busted
hump on the way out and made the 6.5 miles out in 2 hours 15min.

All in all I'm glad I got out there and got some miles under my legs . I
was constantly adjusting my clothes
to deal with colder/warmer/windy/notwindy/climbing/descending.

The hike out has substantially more downhill than uphill, but the fact
that I used the trekking poles on the way out made a huge difference in
the speed that I could hike.

So I figured I got some good training for this spring, and enjoyed myself
as well.

Take care kids and beware the yokels,

Will Strickland
Internet: gt0556d@prism.gatech.edu

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