Well we made it. To Atlanta anyway. I am so excited it hasn't really set in that I won't be home for 6 months. The flight was smooth, my pack made it in one piece. We caught the train to North Springs about 45min out of Atlanta where Leigh (owner of Hiker Hostel, excellent lady), said she would pick us up. There were 4 other hikers also waiting to be picked up. A guy with a faux-hawk and large pack started walking towards me with a look that said "are you doing what i'm doing....?" He is Ty from PA and was waiting to be picked up by Survivor Dave who was going to drop him straight at the trailhead with the hopes of getting over Springer this afternoon. He'll only be 1/2 day ahead so I'm sure I'll see him down the trail. There was also a younger girl (my age?), Gianna, from San Diego and a laid back retiree, Ray, from Honduras. I am already surprised at the diversity the trail attracts. While the 4 of us were talking, a large boisterous man bounded out of the station only to immediatly run away as soon as some drug dogs sniffed by. It took us another 15min after Leigh got there to find him. Needless to say she was a bit irked as we still had another 45min to Dahlonega. I was pleased at how little I cared, I'm in no hurry to go anywhere, for a long time. It's a nice feeling.
I am blown away at how peaceful and beautiful the Hiker Hostel is. It is even complete with a dog named Maggie and chickens. I'm actually surprised at how much service I am getting out here, it will be nice to know it will be there when I turn my phone on and that I can post from the trail if I want. Dad, Gianna, Ray and I are sharing a bunkroom, there are 17 hikers here total. Breakfast is at 7:30am and then we hit the trail. The approach trail up Springer Mountain starts at Amicalola Falls State Park and is 8.8mi. to the top of Springer. It's technically not part of the AT, as the terminus is a plaque on the summit, but for 'purists' the approach trail is something of an initation, and a great way to kick off your thru-hike. Plus the trail passes right by Amicalola Falls (and up the 684 steps to the top). Tomorrow morning 6 of us head out to join the throngs of other hikers in the mountains. But for now I am perfectly content rocking on this porch with Maggie watching the sun go down. I literally have nothing else to worry about, nothing else to do. I could seriously get used to this.