Day 1: AT Georgia, Damn It’s HOT


  • Hawk Mountain Shelter
  • Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My first day started off well.  Was up and about at 7 am.  Went outside, expecting it to be cold.  It wasn’t.  It was overcast and a little damp but not cold.  Even that early, just a t-shirt was fine.

It was around 9:30 am when we took off for the hour drive from the Hiker Hostel in Dahlonega to Springer Mountain.  There were about 10 of us dropped of at the parking lot at Big Stamp Gap.  Springer Mountain and AT mile marker 0 is just under a mile south from this parking lot and around 430 feet up.  So, you walk up, register, take a few pictures and lumber back down.  And you are on your way.

Warning:  Turn away the children.  Send them out to play.  There be cussing ahead.

An hour in I’m thinking this is way warmer than I expected.  I stopped around noon and had lunch of peanut butter on a granola bar.  Not hungry at all but choked it down.  Gotta eat.  Another hour.  This is no longer warm.  It is motherf*cking hot.  March in Georgia mountains hotter than Houston?  Who knew?  Mofo Moment #1.

I carried two liters of water in two Gatorade bottles.  I finish one bottle and am into my second one when I come across water crossing the trail.  Well, that’s convenient.  Fill up my empty bottle.  Get out my Steripen and . . .  WTF!  It won’t fit.  These are Gatorade bottles I brought from home and had tested the Steripen on.  I try the other bottle.  Nope.  I look at the Steripen.  I look at the bottle opening.  I look around for the cameras.  Am I being punked?  Ashton Kutcher does not jump out.  Nope.  The motherf*cking Steripen will not fit in the motherf*cking Gatorade bottles.  For those of you keeping track at home; this is Mofo Moment #2.  Now, when you add the Mofo Moment to the previous one it doesn’t just double the Mofo situation.  No, this is on a logarithmic scale, e.g. similar to the Richter scale for measuring earthquakes.

Yes, of course I have a backup.  My backup is chlorine dioxide tablets.  The ones that take 4 hours to treat water.  Yeah, ponder that.

I stick to the 4 hour time frame for the first day but I realize that that’s just not going to work.  There are no livestock and I’m only collecting water from running streams.  So, on the second day, hoping that people are following the “poop away from water source” rule, I switch to 30 minutes treatment.  I’ll pick up a Nalgene bottle at Woody Gap.

Day One, I stop at Hawk Mountain Shelter.  8.1 miles.  Way short of what I was planning on doing.

Hawk Mountain Shelter:  View from Tent
Hawk Mountain Shelter: View from Tent

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