Ascent of Hawk Mountain on 2007-05-14

Climber: Ben Lostracco

Date:Monday, May 14, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hawk Mountain
    Elevation:3560 ft / 1085 m

Ascent Trip Report

AT DAY #1 --- "ONLY 1577.7 MILES TO GO" ---

Today is day #1 of a 110 DAY APPALACHIAN TRAIL ODYSSEY - GA/VT, 1577.7 miles. My son, Michael,from Atlanta, dropped me off at Springer mountain, North Georgia, parking at Big Stamp gap, usfs road 42. I left nb on the AT, with the final destination point of this trip being the AT trailhead, on rte #2, N adams, MA.
The AT's sb section (.9m) from this parking to the summit of Springer mountain was done on 2006-04-02, together with my son, Michael, and his family - wife Celine and children Emilie, Brice, Patrick and Marcus.
FOR THE FINAL STATS OF THIS TRIP (GA/VT) see the final day's (#110) TR dated 2007-09-10.

I hiked the NORTHERN SECTION OF THE AT - VT/ME ( N Adams/Katahdin) over a 7 year period (1995-2002). FOR THE FINAL STATS OF THIS NORTHERN SECTION see TR dated 2002-08-17.

DAILY HIKES on a long distance trail, such as this one, are VERY ROUTINE ..... you get up in the morning, walk all day and crash in the evening as early as possible. Most of the Trail is in the woods and looks the same, it is a monotonous, sometimes boring, LONG TUNNEL. In a lot of places you say to yourself "I'm sure I've been here before" ! ! !. In places and depending on the day's conditions I will take side trails or do bushwacks to Peaks within easy reach of the AT for Peakbagging purposes. View points, open trail, open summits, and route variety is always welcomed and actually necessary. The fun and variety is in the open ridge walks, the walks thru rural farm country, the people you meet, the zero days and the towns you go thru.

( #1 ) - GUIDE BOOKS & MAPS - I will use "the thru-hikers handbook" by Dan "Wingfoot" Bruce, and the maps put out by the ATC, for the different sections.
( #2 ) - HIKING PACE - The plan is to start at a slow pace, put in short days for the first few weeks, increasing the mileage in accordance with my conditioning. I will take a zero day once a week. "Wingfoot" says that it takes 4-6 wks to get trail hardened. I know that my limiting factor will be my cardio system on the ascents. I really don't have a daily mileage goal.
( #3 ) - RESUPPLY OF FOOD AND GEAR - I will look after the resupply of my food, as I move north, where ever possible. I will not use mail drops for my food, only for gear and maps. I will try to carry a very maximum of 4-5 days of food - less would be ideal but that would require a lot more resupply time. I will take advantage of any eatery in the proximity of the Trail as I make my way North.
Rose and Celine will be my life line to the outside world ....they'll look after the mailing of the necessary gear and literature.
( #4 ) - WEIGHT OF BACKPACK - I will be starting with max backpack weight of 40-50 lbs..... a bit too heavy for me on long days. I will try to reduce this weight while on the trail, by getting tips and advice from other thru hikers that I meet along the way. A max of 30-35 lbs would be good.
The aim of the TR is not to describe the details of the Trail...... there are plenty of guide books for that purpose..... but rather to briefly record my progress, well-being, some of the people I meet and the more interesting personal experiences and/or happenings.
( #6 ) - PROMINENCE CRITERIA USED FOR THE RECORDED SUMMITS - For the purpose of recording the number of summits that I climbed on this trip, I have used an approximate PROMINENCE OF 250 feet (based on the lowest known elevation between the recorded summits, and not necessarily the lowest elevation just before the climb to the recorded summit).
I have generally used the ADIRONDACKS, NY CRITERIA for their "100 hundred highest summits", which says that "a summit must rise 300 feet on all sides". The AMC WHITE MTN GUIDE OF NH'S criteria is "a rise of 200 feet above the low point of its connecting ridge with a higher neighbour".
The ascents of the intermediate shorter climbs, between the "recorded summits", will be totally ignored and not talked about. It's too much work to calculate, and actually impossible, because of so many unknown elevations. Therefore the actual total climbing, on this trip, is not recorded.
Its noted, however, that in my daily planing for the following day, I will roughly calculate the total ascent for the day. Therefore the total ascents, where noted in the reports, are just that.....very rough and not at all accurate.
( #7 ) - PEAKBAGGING - I am a Peakbagger so as a low priority I will try to bushwhack/visit as many peaks possible that are off-trail but within a very short distance of the AT, say few hundred meters. This will depend on the ground conditions/weather/my well-being/days mileage/etc. The details of any such side trip will not be talked about.
As I've noted above, a long distance trip is a daily religious routine. It is more of a mental challenge than physical.
I note here-below the details of the morning and evening duties, in order, for obvious reasons, not to be repeating the same in the ensuing TR"S.
THE MORNING ROUTINE - Wake up 6-6h30 hours, take medication, stretch in bag, get dressed, roll up sleeping bag & pad, toilet & wash, breakfast, checkwater requirements till the next source, quick review of the days route in particular the water sources, pack up gear and try to be on the Trail for 7-7h30 hours - checking to ensure that nothing is left behind, especially in a crowded shelter.
THE EVENING ROUTINE - Try to arrive shelter no later than 16-17h00 hours, choose/put your backpack down on one end of the shelter, roll out the bedding and arrange your spot, unload the pack and change to camp clothes, stretching exercises, hang out to dry your wet gear & clean your boots, wash, pump enough water for dinner/night/next mornings requirements (some nights you have to pump water more than once), dinner, diary, study the next days route, hang your food and be in your bag by 20h00 hrs.

For this short day #1 I took the side ridge trail over Hawk Mountain before dropping down to the shelter.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1010 ft / 307 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Hut Camp
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1010 ft / 307 m
    Distance:7.6 mi / 12.2 km
    Route:AT day #1 nb-110 day Appalachian Trail Odyssey
    Start Trailhead:springer mtn,big stamp gap, usfs rd 42, parking  2550 ft / 777 m
Descent Statistics
    Route:AT nb
    End Trailhead:hawk mtn shelter  

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