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  1. #1
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    Exclamation How many miles should i plan to hike in one day?

    I am planning a backpacking trip to the smokey's from Gatlinburg from Friday to Sunday. I have never been backpacking at the smokey's so I am not sure what would be too much for a day. I am a younger guy and i'll be going with other guys but I don't want to plan something that will be too much. Right now I have 12miles friday 3.4 miles sat and 12.2 miles Sunday. Here is an image of what i was planning on doing:



    Let me know what you think, thanks!

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    You are gaining about 4000' in the first 7 miles. Aside from that, your elevation remains between 5500 and 6500 until you are returning Sunday. 12 miles with packs may be tough, but doable, if you get a very early start.

    As an alternative, how about coming down via Grotto Falls instead of Bull Head. It is a little farther, but Grotto Falls is one of my favorite hikes in the Smokies and really cool, because the trail goes behind the falls!

    Looks good to me, though.
    The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny..." Isaac Asimov

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    So you think on the way back it will be mainly downhill?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bradlyb View Post
    So you think on the way back it will be mainly downhill?
    Here is a profile of the route returning (from the shelter) via your chosen route (Bull Head trail).
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    The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny..." Isaac Asimov

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro. I came, I saw, I stuck around.

  5. #5
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    Day one looks like a beast for a newbie. Please have an alternate plan should this be more than you or you partner can handle. 12 miles and 4000' of gain would be about all I could personally handle starting cold. If the weather is hot it would about kill me.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinMusic View Post
    Day one looks like a beast for a newbie. Please have an alternate plan should this be more than you or you partner can handle. 12 miles and 4000' of gain would be about all I could personally handle starting cold. If the weather is hot it would about kill me.
    DITTO! Maybe change Day One to hike to LeConte Shelter (or Lodge)? Either would be a much more reasonable first day AND would make Day Two more reasonable too. Or perhaps do the Alum Cave Trail on Day One?

    RainMan

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    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

  7. #7

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    I agree with Rain Man. I've done all the trails up Leconte and although the ones you've chosen aren't the steepest, they are challenging, give yourself the option of an over night on that first leg. There is a very nice shelter near the Lodge with a dependable spring.
    "every day's a holiday, every meal a feast"

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    Or, park at Newfound Gap and do an out and back on the AT.
    You are never too old.

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    Rainman is right when he suggests that the first night be at Mt LeConte Shelter, and the second at Icewater Spring (after a RT to Charlies Bunion). Remember that you must have reservations for a shelter and you cannot sleep in the same shelter 2 nights in a row.

    Not knowing your real objective, but assuming it is Charlies Bunion, consider a loop from the NC side. Start at the end of the road (Smokemont horse stables?) on the Bradley Fork Trail up to Dry Sluice Gap and down to Kephart shelter. This is about 7.75 miles the first day with 3000' elevation gain. Day 2 is back up Dry Sluice to the AT and a short .25 mile side hike to Charlies Bunion. Then north on the AT to Hughes Ridge Trail and Pecks Corner Shelter; 9.5 miles on Day 2 (including the Charlies Bunion side trek). Day 3 is just at 8.1 miles down Hughes Ridge and Chasteen Creek Trails back to the car. Profile is attached (minus the .25 each way to Charlie's Bunion).

    Just trying to help. HYOH.
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    I'd stop at LeConte on the first day. That would make your second day the long day but it would be on much easier trail. I prefer going up LeConte on the Alum Cave Trail but then you wouldn't be able to do a loop. Unfortunately there aren't too many good loop options in the Smokies but you picked a pretty good one. You'll like the Boulevard Trail and Charlie's Bunion.

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    I like the idea of staying at Le Conte the fist night and then Ice water spring the second, but that would mean I would still have to Hike back 12.2ish miles back on Sunday.. Which seems like it will be almost too much. Not sure how to fix that problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bradlyb View Post
    I like the idea of staying at Le Conte the fist night and then Ice water spring the second, but that would mean I would still have to Hike back 12.2ish miles back on Sunday.. Which seems like it will be almost too much. Not sure how to fix that problem.
    The 12 on Sunday would be tough on the knees but def doable. If you need to get done earlier consider starting your hike at Alum Cave parking area and start there. That climb will get your attention too but not like your orig plan.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  13. #13

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    all these hikes sound scrumshus. stop it.i would hike the shortest and go the slowest and soak in the mostest.
    matthewski

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    So this is what I have as a changed plan. Tell me what you think about this plan.
    Would sunday still be too much?

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    The picture didn't work on the previous post.. here it is:

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    Looks very good now.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

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    I think you need to consider what you like to do -- hike or hang around a campsite. Given your age and assuming you're at least in average shape, have no serious physical disabilities, and wake up sometime before noon, even on your long day you'll be hiking at less than 1 mph, which is pretty much crawling along. I like to hike when I'm on a hike, and when I went throught the Smokies, I did 18 - 22 mile days and didn't feel as if I was pushing it at all. I always started around 7am and stopped around 3-4pm. That gave me plenty of time to screw around camp, eat, and get cleaned up. But I like to walk more than sit.

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    I would park at alum cave trailhead. Take that rail to leconte for the first night. Enjoy the hike lots to see. Day two take the Boulevard trail to the AT over to Icewater springs then do the side trip to the Bunion. You will want to hang out there for a while. Day 3 take the AT out to Newfound Gap. Stick out you thumb and somebody will give you a ride down the mountain to your car...they always do.

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    Nice alternative to the original plan. Much more doable.

    I remember the first time I hiked the Boulevard. I was 12 years old and my mom and I were camping at Elkmont in our '71 VW camper. We had gone on a day hike one morning (Laurel Falls?), and before lunch, on a whim, decided to drive to Newfound Gap and hike out to Mt LeConte lodge to see if we could stay for the night. We had been told it was full, but that no-shows were common. So around noon we went out the AT and across to LeConte on the Boulevard. There were no rooms available, so we hiked down the Alum Cave Bluff trail, and found a ride back to the camper on Newfound Gap. After 33 years, I still remember that afternoon fondly.

    Have fun!
    The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" but "That's funny..." Isaac Asimov

    Veni, Vidi, Velcro. I came, I saw, I stuck around.

  20. #20

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    You are aware that you need a permit for the Smokies and you must designate your campsites according to the Park rules, right? Here's the link:

    http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisi...ry-camping.htm

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