Answering the Big Questions: Where (to Begin)

I started looking for flights today. Only $75 one-way from LAX to ATL.  Very reasonable price.  Probably should buy before prices go up.  Nothing to worry about besides getting to the trail.  But yet… it’s not that easy… there is a lot of anxiety tied to this purchase! Buying this ticket locks me into a firm start date, with nonrefundable costs associated with the Pre-Hike logistics. So like a good Hello Neiman!, let’s plan it out, and figure out where to begin for this “Day Zero” plan:

Flying to Atlanta is easy, but damnit if airlines don’t scare you with their nonrefundable policies.  So when should I book a flight to arrive?  Lets’ review the logistic details we know:

  • My hiking start date is March 1 at Amicalola Falls State Park
  • I’d like to arrive by 8pm to get settled, packed, and mentally prepared
  • Amicalola Falls is 2-3 hours by shuttle from Atlanta
  • Atlanta is 4 hours by plane from Los Angeles
  • Atlanta is 3 time zones away from Los Angeles

Ok, that’s not so scary. If I want to start off right, I need to leave LA no later than 10am on February 28. Plenty of flights to choose from that will get me into Atlanta in time.  But wait, then what?  How am I getting to the trailhead?  I don’t have a car, uh oh.  Fortunately, the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club provides me with that helpful information. A train ride to Gainesville and/or an expensive shuttle ride is the answer.  From Atlanta, $50-75 should get me there. Last but not least, I have a reservation waiting for me at The Lodge for a warm bed at night and warm breakfast in the morning.

Unless of course, I have any friends in Atlanta that want to put me up for the night and drive me to the trail in the early morning.  Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? … Eh, who needs that, this is an adventure so why not start off with a logistical one. Hello Neiman!