Appalachian Trail Kick-Off Weekend

Appalachian Trail Approach

ATKO Weekend

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Every year Amicalola Falls State Park & Lodge becomes home to the Appalachian Trail Kick-Off Weekend. For 3 days, hundreds of vendors, hikers of all experience levels and park naturalists come together to trade tails, advice, education and fellowship with one another. The first weekend of March is the official kick-off for those people who want to become the next named thru hikers – an elite group of individuals who have hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia all the way up to Maine without breaks.

Speaker Schedule

Friday March 2nd
7:00 pm  “10 Golden Suggestions for hiking the Appalachian Trail” – Bob (Sir-Packs-A-Lot) Gabrielsen, Top of Georgia Hostel

8:00 pm  “The Trail is Full of Surprises”- Gary Sizer, Author

Saturday March 3rd
9:00 am Gear Lab with Sunny Waller until 5:00 pm

9:00 am  “State of the Trail Update”- Bill Bryant

10:00 am  “Staying Found on the AT”- Ken Bunnings, ALDHAs Search and Rescue Coordinator

11:00 am  “Dehydrate it Yourself, Backpacking Food”-Judy (Heartfire) Gross, Lightheart Gear

1:00 pm  “The Trail of my Life”- Gene Espy, Author/Legend

2:00 pm  “Ultra Light Hiking and Making Your Gear”- George (Tinman) Andrews, Antigravitygear

3:00 pm  “Leave No Trace”- Jay Dement, GATC/LNT Trainer

4:00 pm  “Simple Backpacking Principles”- Sunny Waller

5:00 pm  “Practical Ultra Light for the AT”- Paul Fitzner, Etowah Gear

6:00 pm  “Leave No Trace Trail Magic”- Miss Janet, Trail Angel

7:00 pm  “The Hiking Community and How We Relate to Each Other Through our Individual Roles”- Odie Norman, The Hiker Yearbook

7:00 pm Nantahala Brewing Company in Tent City will be serving their special App Trail Pale Ale until 9:30 pm

8:00 pm  Gopher Broke Band Performs until 10:00 pm in our Tent City


Sunday March 5th
9:00 am  “The AT Game”- Ron Burger, ALDHAs Asst Coordinator

10:00 am  “Trail Service Providers Q & A Panel”-Bob Gabrielsen and guests

11:00 am  “Long Distance Hiker First Aid” – ALDHA featuring live animals

1:00 pm  “Thru- An Appalachian Trail Love Story”, Richard (Peregrine) Judy

Appalachian Trail Map
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