Day 1: The approach trail March 5th

_92A1540 We registered at Amicalola State Park and headed up the approach trail. The trail begins with a brisk 500 stairs up the side of a waterfall. Ouch.

About 3 miles toward Springer Mountain, Mr. Dallas was thinking about making dinner when he suddenly realized he forgot his knife in the parking lot. He dropped his pack and went on a quick run there and back to get it. 1500 stairs for him.

A few minutes later the sky opened up with thunder, lightning, and driving rain. Douglas, Bryan, and Josh set up camp at a site not far from where Mr. Dallas had turned back for his knife. The rain came down cold and hard.

The weather cleared out just as Mr. Dallas returned. He was soaked and cold. He took off all his clothes and shivered into dry ones.

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Douglas sat up a tarp to block the wind and cook under. Rice, and a pound and a half of beef were cooked on a whisperlite and jetboil. Tortillas made it complete. Giant tacos disappeared into bellies.

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The temperature continued to drop. And then the snow came. Somehow with a clear sky and howling winds snow was blowing in. We stood and looked up at the stars in vertigo because the trees were swaying so wildly. The windchill was uncomfortable, but I hadn't seen stars like that in ages. I watched them dizzily and hopped into the chief's tee pee.

In the morning everything was frozen and the wind was still howling. We were not even to the trail yet.

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