View Full Version : Feedback on section hike with kids

11-05-2014, 00:21
I'm in the planning stages of a section hike with myself and two boys, 7 and 11. My current thinking is that we'll arrange for a shuttle from Unicoi Gap to Springer early the first morning. Then start hiking north. I'll have 10 days total available, but hoping to make it back to car in closer to 7. They've both been backpacking, and even done 10+ mile days, just not 5 or more in a row. This will all be taking place in mid to late May.

My my initial questions are:
1. The ups and downs we'll be seeing, I feel they can do the distance but not sure how many high steps are involved in the climbs, those can be a lot taller to those with little legs. Is this more than we should be biting off? I want to challenge them, not break them.
2. They both have basic 20 degree mummy bags. Think they are by mountain hardware. Is that enough? There's very little selection in kids bags, so not sure what other options there are if the consensus is they need more.
3. Company? We should be well after the thru hikers have departed, but how many others are we likely going to be sharing the trail with at this time of year. I'm not opposed to some traffic, but prefer to get into the woods to get away from crowds, not join them.

thanks so much for any insight.

11-05-2014, 00:29
I can only help you with #1 - I took my 8 and 10 year old through Maryland. While they both had hiked 10-15 miles days, we took it at 7-11 miles days. This allowed them to stop and check things out more. It also meant we could be in camp in early to mid afternoon, which was much more relaxing for them.

Now they are 16 and 17, but they remember that trip fondly! Regarding company - I understand your desire to avoid crowds! My boys' favorite nights, both that trip and another through SNP, were the nights we spent in a shelter talking to other people.

Enjoy! They grow up too quickly!!!

11-05-2014, 01:35
Just remembered another question? Was planning on leaving springer with 5 days food and mailing myself resupply with another 3 to Neels Gap. Is that way overkill, or just an decent margin of safety hiking with two young kids?

11-05-2014, 02:50
The bags will be fine for mid-May. Might be a little warm actually.

11-05-2014, 07:06
You'll have some pretty decent climbs for the kids to tackle, I think they are doable, but some of the mountains through that section can be a bit of a challenge (see;Sassafras, Justus, Ramrock, and Blood). You could run into thru hikers still, though the majority will be to the north of ya'll, but I'm sure especially on the weekends of your trip, you'll see section and weekend hikers.
I would think by mid to late May 20 degree bags would work well enough, but as always just check the weather before you head out and adjust accordingly (warmer clothing).
Just a suggestion, you may want to shoot for Neel Gap, and then if the kids are still up for it, add on from there. There are a whole lot of variables, but it's a good hike from Springer to Neel, and should be a nice challenge for them.
Enjoy the hike, the kids will love it!

11-05-2014, 07:11
I'm sure there are a ton out there, but here's a blog I found about the section you want to hike, and it happens to take place the same time of year you'll be going......


11-05-2014, 07:15

the link above didn't work after I attached it, but here's the original one-sorry!