We took off around 8 pm the night before and headed toward Amicalola Falls State Park. The park gates were still open when we got there around 9:30 so we paid for parking and found a spot near the upper ampitheater. It was a major score in Kristen's book because there was a bathroom in the parking lot. Kenny was happy because the temperature on top of the mountain dropped down to the 60's - it was almost chilly to sleep in the van. Win. Win.
We started out bright and early to get a head start on the trail - around 5:30. The parking lot we slept in was right next to the top of the Falls, so we took a quick peak before the sun came up.
![blogPics](/static/img/167/topoffalls.jpg "The view from the top of Amicalola Falls")We were expecting about 7.6 miles each way to get to the top of Springer Mountain and see the start of the Appalachian trail. It was marked as a strenuous hike and expected to take about 6 miles. We went through some really neat areas like Mimblewill gap (albeit steep). There was a really good breeze though and the sunlight coming through the trees reminded us of a patronus charm (don't mind us… we're currently rereading [Harry Potter](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fictional_universe_of_Harry_Potter#Patronuses).
![blogPics](/static/img/167/sunlight.jpg "Sunlight coming through trees")There was a ton of camp sites all of the way up and we ran into a lot of people doing overnight trips. The main down side was we didn't get any great views because the trees were constantly in the way of the ridge line. We ended up making it to the top in about 3 1/2 - 4 hours. The summit was neat because of the AT plaques and checking out the first real blazes.
![blogPics](/static/img/167/atplaques.jpg "AT Plaque")
We headed down the path a short ways to a nearby shelter then decided to break for lunch and head back.
On the way down we hooked on to the Hike Inn trail which added an extra 1.7 miles. The Hike inn is a really cute mountainside lodge that you have hike into. There were a bunch of wooden chairs and swings on a screened in porch and the rooms seemed like they would be nice.
![blogPics](/static/img/167/hikeinn.jpg "Hike Inn")It also featured some of the best views of the mountains of the whole hike.
![blogPics](/static/img/167/springer.jpg "View")In the end, we made it down in a little under 4 hours, just before 3 o'clock.
We headed back towards the Amicolola visitor center and parked toward the lower observation desk. We took a brief but, really steep, quarter mile trek to the lower observation deck. Followed by 179 stairs that led to a mid observation deck. It was worth it, but after hiking 19 miles earlier in the day was pretty rough going. On the way back down we stopped at a small jut out and took a quick rinse off in the freezing cold water fall water. Not only did it feel amazing after hiking all day, but it also helped us from smelling up the van since we have no shower.
![blogPics](/static/img/167/fallswalkway.jpg "Amicalola Falls")
After that we packed up and headed out toward Tollullah Falls where we cooked some dinner in the van and enjoyed a few views. We also proceeded to get eaten alive by mosquitos.
Afterward we packed up for a few more miles to make it to Asheville to sleep for the night. The highlight of the road trip was seeing this place called GOATS ON THE ROOF. Which looked like an old childrens playground, but did indeed have live goats on the roof. Runner up was the plethora of antique stores that peppered the whole drive. Antique capital of the south (don't quote me, I made that up)
Check out the video for views of Tolullah Falls and Goats on the Roof!