The Appalachian Trail Kickoff -- ATKO 2014 -- is the kind of gathering that comes to an end, but lingers. Memories of the people we meet, the encouragement we receive and new insights into hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) mellow over time ... and we look forward to the next ATKO.
ATKO 2014 took place at Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia -- where the Approach Trail to the AT begins -- the weekend of March 7th.
Veteran hikers met with this year's crop of folks heading north to Katahdin. Vendors were there to make sure you had the right gear and that you were headed in the right direction.
Our pal Awol, (aka David Miller), shared his Trail wisdom, signed his guidebook and imparted memories of his thru-hike to a packed room at one of the many sessions open to the public.
My favorite portion of ATKO was when Gene Espy gently spoke about the original equipment he used to thru-hike in 1951.
All 55 pounds of it.
Gene hiked too early to be told he couldn't possibly succeed with all that weight on his back.
A canvas knapsack? A metal canteen for gas/fuel? Metal plates? Impossible, but true.
Hike your own dang hike, but we don't recommend wearing Keds.
Sir Packs A Lot offered his Ten Secret Tips on thru-hiking the AT. Here are a few:
Stop by his new hostel's website, The Top of Georgia, for the complete list.
If you begin your thru-hike at Amicalola, stop by and ask Ranger Kimberly to let you sign the log at the park's office and gift shop before you hit the Approach Trail.
Then, slip your pack over your shoulders, buckle up and climb the 604 stairs adjacent to the 729-foot Amicalola Falls -- the tallest cascading waterfalls east of the Mississippi River.
You can do it.
Bookmark the ATKO link to be sure you don't miss ATKO 2015.
A few more memories from ATKO 2014 ...
Tags: Events, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, News, Appalachian Trail Clubs, Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, Appalachian Trail Conference, Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer
Appalachian Trail Kickoff - ATKO - is like grad school for Thru-Hikers. ATKO begins at Amicalola Falls State Park March 6th. To graduate, hike the entire AT
Doctor Grumpy Says Go to ATKO 2016! That's the place to learn about the Appalachian Trail from real hikers and to take a whack at the killer Approach Trail.
Reserve the first weekend of March for ATKO 2017. Be with all your stinky hiker pals (they clean up pretty good) at Amicalola Falls State Park in Georgia.
ATKO 2015 -- the Appalachian Trail Kickoff -- was the perfect way to meet those who have trod the Trail & to meet new friends about to try for themselves.
The Appalachian Trail Kickoff (ATKO) is a type of Mecca for pilgrims who seek wisdom on hiking the Trail from end to end.
Appalachian Trail events take place from early March until September from Georgia to Maine. It's the best way to see the Trail without getting blisters.
We hope to see you at one of the 2014 Appalachian Trail events that take place all along the AT -- from Maine to Georgia.