Published Feb 11, 2014
If you close your eyes and sit in a quiet place you can hear this year's crop of potential Appalachian Trail thru-hikers hyperventilate as they make their final preparations to hit the Trail on Springer Mountain in North Georgia.
Today, they're more concerned with how much weight they can cut by shaving unwanted body hair and trimming their toenails than the weather, but that's going to change very soon.
Spring weather in North Georgia can be treacherous and unpredictable. Ice, snow, freezing rain and tornadoes are common. Wise hikers will keep an eye on the sky as they embark and trod our beloved path to Maine.
I have lived in North Georgia for 25 years and have thoroughly explored it in my old Jeep, on foot and on motorcycles. The weather in this region cannot be homogenized by any one specific location. The weather atop Springer Mountain will be different than at Cooper Gap, Blood Mountain or Wolfpen Gap. No single forecast can nail current conditions at Amicalola Falls State Park, Vogel State Park and Hiawassee, GA.
Nevertheless, we want to provide a consistently accurate weather forecast for the thousands of hikers who will soon head northward through Georgia. Therefore, we have arbitrarily selected Vogel State Park, below Blood Mountain, as our weather station for 2014. We have also arbitrarily chosen to share the forecasts from the National Weather Service.
Vogel is roughly halfway (as the crow flies) between where the Trail begins and Blairsville, GA. If this is not the perfect point for forecasts, at least they will be consistent. Should vandals storm our gates we will reconsider; but, for now, that's the deal.
Snow and sleet are in the forecast through Friday night. Not great weather to hit the Trail, but that will change.
As Bob Dylan says, "Take heed, take heed of the western wind. Take heed of the stormy weather."
Tags: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, Camping Gear, News, Weather, Appalachian Trail Clubs, and Georgia Appalachian Trail Club
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