What part are you saying is out of date?
You don’t need God—to hope, to care, to love, to live.
The part of your map that's missing WVA.
I've hiked the Pine Mountain Trail from Birch Knob to Pound Gap, and it was NOT well blazed or well maintained. My ankles were hamburger from walking through briars. The 4 wheelers have damaged the trail so much that you must often walk through deep mudholes, and you may have ATV's coming right through your camp at night. The blazing was done with dark red paint, which doesn't really show that well in a forest, and was haphazardly applied.
Also that brochure had the earlier .org address for the website, that got lost to domain pirates so correct URL is http://www.greateasterntrail.net
By the way, y'alls/y'uns are welcome to come hike with the GET Board on 5/15/11, details from the SATC web site:
May 15, Sunday, 9:30 AM
Hike with the Great Eastern Trail Board
P: Brisk T: Strenuous L: 7, 0 hwy miles (Lycoming County)
Strenuous loop hike on the Mid State/Great Eastern and other trails around the west side of Little Pine State Park. Meet the Great Eastern Trail Board which is meeting in nearby Woolrich. Slight variation of http://midatlantichikes.com/midstate-lp.htm
MEET at main parking lot by stone bathrooms, Little Pine State Park, Waterville PA.
Leader: Peter Fleszar, 717 576-3112 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org
I wasn't so much looking at the map as I was Virginia's effort to be involved and it's stats on what trails did for Damascus. (according to them).
Yes, the web site http://www.greateasterntrail.net does state of the still in planning trail :
"It enters from Kentucky at Matewan, West Virginia, crossing the Tug Fork of the Big Sandy River. From there it goes about 110 miles eastward to the New River, crossing it near Hinton. On the way, it passes through R.D. Bailey Lake Wildlife Management Area, Twin Falls Resort State Park, Camp Creek State Forest, Pipestem State Park and Resort, National Park Service Bluestone Scenic River, and Bluestone State Park. Then it turns south along the New River about 30 miles along the Mary Draper Ingles Trail, and passes into Virginia.
Seems like a lot of road walk, but then again so is the section in Virginia/West Virginia that I plan to hike, including the big missing trail (40 miles ?) after the beginning of the Allegheny Trail.
I mostly wanted to get this forum kicked in again to help me with my own planning.
Seems to be very few supply points from White Sulphur Springs to the Maryland line.
Maybe it's time WhiteBlaze gave this trail it's own Forum?
You don’t need God—to hope, to care, to love, to live.
Timothy Hupp has put together his work in progress of the guide for Great Eastern Trail from Hancock, Maryland south to Interstate 64 west of Covington, at the Allegheny Trail exit.
It will be online until it is completed and PATC publishes it, then like most things it will be sold only.
You don’t need God—to hope, to care, to love, to live.
Basically the GET is fully hikeable from I-64 north to the NCT, in the sense there is an identified route with maps and guides for this area. However, there is a profusion of guides and maps among the clubs, and a prolixity of blaze colors including none.
Resupply is not easy and has not yet been identified by those with both local knowledge and knowledge of what a long-distance hiker needs. Even parts of PA appear not to have reasonable resupply sources, something that will get worse if rural post offices start closing en masse.
People interested in hiking the GET seem strangely to be more interested in southern areas where the trail is much more discontinuous as yet.
Other than Jeff's work I'm just not finding much actual trail knowledge on that section in the South from I-64 to the junction with the Tuscarora. I'm looking to start about Pearisburg.
I usually try and seek out the trail journals that you or others have noted on other posts and the good ones on the Tuscarora and Mid State help a lot. And yes lack of post office and re-supply seems to be a problem there also. But... I'm not looking for an AT journey again. Lack of shelters or hostels doesn't bother me, lack of allowed camping does.
You don’t need God—to hope, to care, to love, to live.
There were maps posted for the Tuscarora-Allegheny Link (link posted above) but that link is now dead. I'm not sure where they went or what's happening with those.
Can someone explain the purpose of the Great Eastern Trail?
I mean, don't get me wrong, I would love to have a alternative to the AT, so wondering if that is the main purpose? Or something else?
Wouldn't it make a whole lot more sense to finish something like the North Country Trail, Allegheny Trail or Superior Hiking Trail for that matter than build a new trail?
I know alot of trails already probably exist (along the route), and this exercise will be more about linking existing trails than building a new one, but I'm just confused to the 'vision' of the whole thing?
Also, is there a completion date estimate? I think it would be an interesting hike.
Benton MacKaye back in 1921, great visionary as he was, saw a network of foot trails through the Appalachians as a desirable goal. In the 1960's, a number of foot trails came into being, some (the Tuscarora/Big Blue) envisioned as a future route for the then-unprotected A.T., some (such as Finger Lakes Trail, begun in 1962, and PA's Mid State Trail, begun in 1969), initations of the A.T. concept arising in local areas. The PA Mid State-Tuscarora Link Trail (now Standing Stone Trail) might have been the first inter-trail explicit linkage in the later 1970's. As each trail grew incrementally Lloyd MacAskill's 2000 Appalachian Trailway News article articulated the linkage concept, extended further by yours truly in a response letter to that article published later in ATN.
The appeal, I think, to trail organizers was to seek greater validation of each group's own "little" trail due to connectivity to a larger whole. I think it's turned out that the appeal has been greater to trail volunteers than to long-distance hikers who seem largely more interested in the social aspects of hiking and not necessarily motivated by the network concept initially espoused by MacKaye and renewed by MacAskill.
The "why do we need another trail?" question honestly continually comes up. Perhaps the most basic answer is in the nature of the volunteers who work on it. I think some are motivated by pride in their local areas, feeling what they have is a more authentic, rustic, or scenic area than the next closest A.T. section. Some are perhaps seeking a freer rein in their volunteer activities than they see in, most commonly, the A.T. Some, perhaps, have worked on the AT and/or the NCT and see the GET as the next challenge in their nearby locales.
Working on the GET is not necessarily exclusive for volunteers, for instance I maintain both an A.T. section and a GET section. It's certainly not mutually exclusive with completing the Allegheny Trail as the disjunct section of the ALT is also the first disjuncture in the GET coming southbound. The feeling among those who work on the GET seems to be that greater connectivity makes us all stronger - volunteers and dayhikers are to some extent motivated by the thought they are part of something larger. The dearth of LD hikers has been somewhat puzzling to many of these folks.
Due to the Superior Hiking Trail being in a different time zone it's not likely that it competes with the GET for volunteer resources, it also seems to be progressing fairly well even though it's still not officially also NCT due to that needing an act of Congress.
Without NST status the GET is freer to make adjustments to local conditions and local resources, at the cost of not accessing the full power and resources of the Federal Government. Frankly, given both the conservative localities through which the GET passes and the preoccupation of the Federal Government with other priorities, in my opinion the GET can be far stronger and grow better as an alliance of like-minded non-profits than as yet another unrealized "government" trail.
Due to this autonomous direction of resources, "completion" is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. The A.T. in the eyes of ATC is not necessarily completed because there remain sections of suboptimal route and unprotected corridor. The GET concept is still somewhat flexible in its endpoints, and chunks do not yet meet the mapped-or-blazed-if-not-both criterion of hikability. If completion means an off-road corridor through the length of Alabama, or shelters every 10 miles, that's probably decades away.
It is likely as "complete" as the A.T. that Earl Shaffer thru-hiked in 1948, but Earl's successor on the GET still hasn't been found. To be fair resupply will be more of a problem than Earl had, due to the withdrawal of retail activity from comparable rural areas in the intervening decades. Certainly land management rules have hardened too.
There is an interest in a complete thru hike of the GET, myself included. I have read with interest this thread on the GET looking for information to do exactly this feat in a single season. My hope is to start at the Gulf of Mexico and walk the portions of the Florida Trail up to the AL border and continue north to Niagara Falls via the Conservation Spur of the Finger Lakes Trail, utilizing the GET as the main trail.
As I plan on doing this in 2016, there is some planning and evaluation to do. It is not often that a person can take 6 months out of their life to accomplish a long distance hike. What started my interest was the AT from a seed of inspiration as a kid. As I will be 56 in 2016, I feel my one shot has to have some reasonable assurance of success. When you compare the resources of the AT vs. the GET, there is a long way to go to prepare. My interest in the GET stems from the fact that I do not necessarily want to partake in the social aspect of the AT community. However, I will only have one shot to complete such an adventure, so I must plan appropriately.
If I find that the trail in 2016 is doable, I will hike it in one season. I will use the starting location of the White sands of Florida and use the roaring falls of the Niagara as my motivation for completion as my mental inspiration, much like the AT hikers use the mystic of Kathadin to drive them onto completion. Instead of carrying a stone from Springer to Kathadin...., I will carry a small container of white sand to the shelter at the intersection of the Crystal Hills Branch and the main FLT and another to Niagara. What is missing currently in the GET is the WOW factor of a start and stop point. Maybe the GET wishes to extend the length to these two destinations mentioned here.
Bottom line is that there is interest in another long distance route. There just has to be the resources that will enable a long distance hiker to resupply, get water and find a place to lay their head at night. With these three simple things, the GET will evolve and the smaller trails will prosper as part of this new long distance hiking route. Even if there are road walks that have to be done, the first thing is a guide has to be published to make it feasible to do the entire hike. It seems that Timothy Hupp has done a good start on this effort. I look to the GET to take the next steps and finish the publication for future LDH to use.
Hi and welcome to WB! It's very much appreciated to see a thoughtful analysis, especially on a first post. Hope to be able to meet you along the trail someday!
1. The end points of the concept are not necessarily fixed, but have been constrained as the concept has developed by the attitude of two different NST management groups, both of which have disclaimed another official-ish overlay on their routes. Being a free country, HYOH, and all that hikers are free to define an LD hike as they wish, and even to talk about it (a la Nimblewill Nomad and the ECT), but GETA as an organization necessarily deals with organizational realities. I think your own determination of your own endpoints to a hike is a key for how the GET would be used, that is as a means to self-determined hikes. Having seen both, I can certainly attest that Moss Hill lean-to ain't Baxter Peak.
2. As a shoestring group GETA is dependent on volunteers and hence on available time and interest. I had the pleasure of meeting Tim a few months back, he works full time with limited time and funds for volunteer work and it's amazing he does what he does. His efforts on the guide have been especially necessary for the Headwaters/central VA route in the GWJNF because that will not in the foreseeable future have consistent blazing and it may take some time (bureaucracy again) to have the supplemental GET markers. I'm not sure anymore where Taba's at with his guide idea. but of course he has other constraints and commitments, and honestly a GET thru-hiker's guide might be a profit-seeking venture for him but not easily seen how profit-making it would be. Yes a thru-hiker's handbook is a need and someone has to do it. The floor is open for self-nominations for that someone.
Just wanted to throw out a couple of things as it relates to the GET. If I'm not mistaken, there are two trails still in progress that are not complete that provide vital links to the GET. The first is Tennessee's Cumberland Trail from Signal Point near Chattanooga to Cumberland Gap on the KY/VA/TN tri corner boundary. The second is the Pine Mtn Trail in eastern KY. Neither one of these trails are complete and as there are landowner issues to deal with, to thru hike would require a good deal of road walking. There is a portion of the Allegheny Trail missing as well. Having worked on the CT, and being familiar with GET, I would love to see someone take on the task of hiking the route and providing basic info. But in doing so, please respect the landowners by not trespassing. That would create a batch of sour grapes in seeing this project to completion.
"Take another road to another place,disappear without a trace..." --Jimmy Buffet
August 2010, I made the decision to accomplish a long distance hike with the route being the AT. I made the decision and picked a start date of 4/16/2016. Extensive research on the trail, joining the Tidewater Appalachian Trail Club and countless reviews of trips on the AT have left me with a desire to accomplish more than just a thru hike of the grand daddy of long distance trails.
I began to explore other alternatives as I saw things that I may not want to contend with on the AT on my one and only shot for a long distance hike. The first was the community of hikers and the social aspect of the AT. While most crave this atmosphere, I do not. Being introverted by nature and seeking solitude, I wanted a more self searching route. Also there is the time constraint of Baxter Park closing date in Oct for the terminus at Kathadin and the need to watch the schedule closely. With the recent events of Irene and the closures that are occurring in VT, NH and ME...something of this nature would jeopardize a completion. These items and a couple of others have made my decision to do my long distance hike on the GET.
So yes, I begin the task of compiling maps, contacts, resupply points on a trail that it in its infancy. I will thru the GET in 2016. Much like Ken and Marcia Powers and Hammock Hanger, I think I will enjoy the opportunity to complete a hike with some meaning that will involve a bit of road walking and interaction with local towns and communities. I do see a new wave of trails that incorporate a mixture of backwoods backpacking and exposure to rural routes and town. The American Discovery Trail calls it a Millennium Trail or Discovery Trail System. Maybe this is what the GET will evolve into this class of trail. One not governed by a NST edict, but one governed by the member clubs who hike for the joy of it. So I will plan those sections of road walk trying to incorporate church and local parks as opportunities to tent and resupply with water.
I am set in starting at the Gulf Coast and finishing at Niagara Falls. In reality, as baby boomers come of age and seek the long distance hike, I believe the GET will afford a better opportunity to develop trail legs, conditioning and stamina for the long distance by starting on a flat grade in FL and southern AL. As the transition moves into a remote mountainous environment, I believe the odds of success will increase. I will see in 2016.
So now I ask for help of those who know the local trails the best for advice and guidance as the GET route evolves. I can be reached at email@example.com or via the Trailjournals entry in 2016 for fullcount. Although I do not plan to do a guide book per sea, I will edit the route for a future endeavor. I will also carry a GPS and be glad to map the waypoints for future use.
I look forward to hearing from all and any guidance will be appreciated. From the white sands to the roaring falls -2016!
We have come far in the last five years and good progress should continue in the next five. That sounds like a great hike and wonderful objective.
I'm deeply involved in the three northern groups, and as a GETA board member and geospatial data custodian have some idea of what occurs south of there. Perhaps four years on I still will be, I am fairly certain by then that the two short unblazed gaps in NY and far northern PA will be resolved.
Both gaps have been negotiated using published maps already. If it fits one's own hike, southbound on the GET is certainly also a valid direction. There is a much higher proportion of established and described trail north of I-64 than further south, for those who might like to start their hike with two months of trail vs. a month of roadwalking.
NY Crystal Hills Trail segments built new have been laid out to 10% max. sustained grade, so though the hills are not flat that's a relatively easy few days to start with for those who choose to. In the next five years there should even be a lean-to or two here.
On PA Mid State Trail the north end, while not sticking to 10% is still laid out with some regard to modern trail thinking and still not very rocky for another week SOBO, steeper climbs kick in before the real rocks in the footway do. The "PA rocks" on either route through central and southern PA put to shame the impostors on the PA A.T., although not so much those in the Whites or the Big K.
GET does not get above 3,000' until well into VA. The highest point barely breaks 4,000' along the Headwaters route and most of the rocks in the footway have disappeared by then.