The Monthly Dirt | April 2019

The Monthly Dirt | April 2019

Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.
— Marry Ann Radmacher

COURAGE - The ability to do something that frightens one. Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.

Fear and courage go hand in hand. Courage is about doing what you are afraid to do. If you have ever had to dig deep and stir up your inner courage, you understand how powerful that is.

I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
— Nelson Mandela


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Mountain Creek Nature 5K & 10K

We will have a 5k and 10K trail run that will take you along the beautiful Mountain Creek Nature Trail. Although this is a less strenuous trail, it is one of the prettiest.

Waterfalls of Georgia

If you like waterfalls like I do, here are some to visit this spring/summer

Amicalola Falls: At 729 feet, it is the tallest waterfall in Georgia located in the Amicalola Falls State Park.

DeSota Falls: Located in the Chattahoochee National Forest near near Cleveland.

Helton Creek Falls: Near Vogel State Park in Blairsville.

Raven Cliff Falls: Located near Helen.

Anna Ruby Falls: Located in Helen.

Minnehaha Falls: Located in Tallulah Falls

Tallulah Falls: Located in Tallulah Gorge State Park

Panther Falls & Angel Falls: Located in Rabun County.

Toccoa Falls: Located on the campus of Toccoa Falls College.

Holcomb Falls & Ammons Falls: Located in Clayton

The Dirt On Gear



Pros: Air pads are incredibly comfortable and lightweight and the most compact type of pad when packed. You can customize the firmness of the mattress by releasing some air from the valve while you’re lying on it.

Cons: Air pads tend to be more expensive the lighter and more compact they are. They can be punctured or ripped but field repairs are not difficult.

Air pads have a tendency to feel as if they are losing air if the outside temperature fluctuates, so try to blow them up right before you go to sleep.

Some air pads make a loud crinkly sound when you move around, which can be annoying to yourself or tent mates.


Pros: They’re comfortable and compact, they offer excellent insulation, and you can adjust their firmness by adding or releasing air. They’re made with stronger fabrics than many air pads. They don’t feel like they lose air at night.

Cons: They’re heavier and more expensive than simple foam pads, and not as compact as air pads. They can be punctured or ripped, though field repairs are not difficult.


Pros: They’re lightweight, inexpensive, durable and offer good insulation. You don’t need to worry about punctures or leaks. These are the only pads that can be carried on the outside of your pack without fear of damage. They can also double as sit pads in camp.

Cons: They are less comfortable. They’re relatively stiff and firm, so they tend to be bulky.


When deciding on a sleeping bag for backpacking, consider these key factors:

Temperature rating: Choose a sleeping bag rated a little bit lower than the typical low temperatures you anticipate on your backpacking trips.

Type of insulation: The big choice is down vs. synthetic. Each has its pros and cons, explained below.

Weight: The quality of your insulation and the cut of your bag are the big factors. When you compare weights, compare bags with the same temperature rating.

Features: Consider the extras that make your bag work best for you, including types, adjustment features, stash pockets, pad compatibility and more.

DOWN: Lightweight, easy to compress, does well in cold dry conditions, durable. More expensive than synthetic but it is lighter and more compressible. Down fill is also more durable than a synthetic fill.

SYNTHETIC: Quick drying, insulated when wet. It offers great performance at an affordable price. It also continues to insulate when wet. The downside is they weigh more and take up more room in your pack.

BASIC SHAPES: Sleeping bags keep you warm by retaining heat emitted by your body, so the smaller the space the warmer you will be.

MUMMY: This bag has a slim cut and contoured hood you can cinch. You would roll over with your bag rather than inside of it.

SEMI-RECTANGULAR: Variety of shapes that offer a compromise between warmth and roominess.

RECTANGULAR: This shape maximizes roominess but weigh more and take up more space in your pack.

The Appalachian Trail

The trail extends between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. This year we will complete all of Georgia and most of North Carolina.

Why join us? We provide an experienced guide who will be with you the whole way. We carry community gear which lowers the weight you need to carry. We handle all of the trip logistics and provide you a detailed packing list. We shuttle you back to your vehicle. All you have to do is pack what is on the packing list we provide you, drive to our meeting point, and come prepared to have a great, challenging, and fun experience.

Your guide will be Michele Eisenzopf

Michele has 20+ years experience backpacking/hiking around the world and is an experienced group leader. Through the years she has learned from trial and error what works and how to do things.

Certifications / Memberships: 

  • Wilderness First Responder

  • Wilderness Survival

  • Adult/Child CPR, AED & Airway Management

  • Epinephrine Auto-Injector

  • Animal First Aid, CPR & Airway Management

  • Leave No Trace Awareness Course

  • Leave No Trace Member

  • Pine Mountain Trail Association Member

AT Experiences

  • Beginners Trip May 25 - 27 3 SPOTS LEFT

  • Beginners Trip May 31 - June 2 SOLD OUT

  • Dicks Creek Gap to Woody Gap June 27 - 30 3 SPOTS LEFT

  • Winding Stair Gap to NOC NC July 12 - 14 5 SPOTS LEFT

  • Winding Stair Gap to Dicks Creek Gap August 31 - September 2 5 SPOTS LEFT

  • Springer Mountain to Woody Gap October 12-13 6 SPOTS LEFT

We will have at least 2 beginner trips each year