Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2018 - 49
Built in the early 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the store marks the
only point where the AT passes under a man-made roof.
gia's Springer Mountain, the couple passed through the Mountain
Crossings store and hostel, where
they met then-owner Winton Porter.
Located just steps off the trail below Blood Mountain at Neel Gap,
some 31 miles from the AT's southern terminus, the store was opened
in a renovated 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps dormitory in 1984.
Of the 2,000 or so thru-hikers setting out northbound on the AT
each year, nearly all of them pass
through its doors.
"By the time you get to Mountain Crossings, you've spent enough
time on the trail to realize a couple
of things," says Georganna.
First, you've probably overpacked. And second, your setup
likely needs some tweaking.
With its staff of seasoned thruhikers, Mountain Crossings spe
Mountain Crossings was named one of 2014's top-100 independent outdoor
retailers by the trade magazine Outdoor Retailer.
cializes in a service they call the
"shakedown"-that is, suggesting
alternative gear and sifting through
packs to cut weight.
From late-March through the
end of May, the crew overhauls
more than 500 backpacks, helping
hikers discard around 9,000 pounds
of excess baggage.
"When Logan and I were hiking, I remember thinking it was a
really cool place and liking Winton
well enough, but that was about
it," recalls Georganna. "We stayed
at Mountain Crossings for a night,
moved on, and didn't think much
more of it."
That is, until their hike ended.
While on the trail, the Seamons
were preoccupied with the task at
hand: How many miles to the next
water source? Where should we setup camp? Shall we catch a shuttle
However, after summiting Katahdin, the return to workaday reality
"We didn't know what to do
with ourselves," explains Georganna. "We knew we had to go home
and get jobs and all of that, but our
time on the trail was just so special,
we didn't want it to end. There was
real conflict there."
Returning to South Carolina,
with the couple's cash flow depleted, Georganna opted to work a
trade show with her father, who was
a career sales rep for outdoor retailers. While there, she ran into, of all
people, Winton Porter.
"He remembered me right away,"
says Georganna. "He asked how Logan and I were doing and I couldn't
lie. I told him we were having a hard
time going back to regular life."
With a nod and a mischievous
chuckle, Porter offered a bit of adJanuary/Februrary 2018 49