When you arrive at the Top of Georgia Hostel and Hiking Center (TOG), you won't get very far before you're happily greeted by someone like Renaissance, one of the merry volunteers and Nice People at TOG.
TOG was birthed by Bob "Sir-Packs-Alot" Gabrielsen.
TOG is, as the French would say, Bob's raison d'etre -- his "reason to be."
I'm currently reading a book written by my pal Jeff Goins: The Art of Work. Jeff says we find our place in this world by seeking our calling or passionate purpose and following that path.
TOG, it seems to me, is far more than a business venture or helpful hiker hideaway. Bob has dedicated himself to helping others and the nearby Appalachian Trail through the Top of Georgia Hostel and Hiking Center.
If you miss that point, you won't "get" TOG. Although he seems happy, healthy and all that, Bob is already trying to negotiate a transfer of TOG to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy after he has his last hike. It's odd. But that's what happens when you have a vision that transcends your own existence, as TOG does with Bob. In my humble opinion.
Bob and his crew have created a pretty cool place.
Hikers and bicyclists or passers-by can spend a night in the bunk house and have a hearty breakfast, even if they have a dog with them or if they'd rather pitch a tent outside.
There's room for music, movies, meals and conversation inside, with new friends arriving daily.
Top of Georgia Hostel and Hiking Center is poised on a beautiful hill surrounded by US Forest Service lands on the US Hwy 76, not far from Hiawassee, in North Georgia.
Shuttles to nearby towns and trails are available, in addition to the most important trail supply stuff you'll need for a day on the Trail or if you're on your way to Katahdin -- the end of the AT in Baxter State Park outside of Millinocket, Maine.
Grab a guidebook, a spork or a new pack -- and tasty snacks for the path at TOG.
Bob was born in New York and raised in the wilds of northwestern Montana.
He's earned the highly respected title "Triple Crowner."
In 2003 he thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail.
Then, he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2005.
Bob thru-hiked the 3,000 mile Continental Divide Trail in 2007.
In addition to hiking 30,000 miles, Bob's been a National Park Service Ranger, Interpretive Guide, Appalachian Historian, and now, hostel owner.
Stop by the Top of Georgia Hiker Hostel and Hiking Center to learn about hiking ... or to share what you have learned with others.
There's always room for you at TOG.
You might even get a little closer to discovering your life's calling on the trail of your life after spending a quiet hour or two with Sir Packs a Lot.
Tags: Attractions, Tourism, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, News, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, and Hiker Hostels
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