View Full Version : Yet more section hike questions... still planning!

04-19-2015, 23:04
I've started several threads over the last couple months as my section hike plans have changed dates and possible sections of the trail, but now it's getting close to decision time.
I originally wanted to do Springer to around Winding Stair Gap/Franklin. Then I switched to somewhere between Hampton or Erwin to Damascus, or a bit north of there. This will be my first AT section hike, although I do a lot of hiking in WA state. I'd like to do somewhere in the 75-125 mile range, stay away from the bubble, get the flavor of the AT, and have an easy arrival/departure. I plan on doing this with my adult daughter and we'll have around 10 days of hiking time plus a couple days for travel and will be planning to arrive probably on June 19th.

I'd love any input to help me decide... here's some of my questions.

Of the two sections I've thought about, would either have a big edge? Be more enjoyable? Easier to access? Have more points to jump off easily?
On the flip side, would either have issues that might rule them out? Worse heat/humidity? I did find that it would be a couple hundred dollars cheaper to fly into Atlanta vs TRI. Would shuttle fees be about the same in either area for the arrival/departure locations to the airports?
Any general comments about those sections at that time of year?

Finally one specific questions... Both my daughter and I have AT&T cell service... would there at least be some signal every couple of days so we might call to arrange for a shuttle?

Thanks for any input you all have to offer!

04-19-2015, 23:10
Verizon will have better service but you will definitely get some, at least every couple days.

Both areas will be hot that time of year, but doable. I can not speak to the ease of transit or cost issues. Subjectively if everything else fits start or end north of Damascus at Mt. Rogers NRA HQ, so that you go through the Grayson Highlands, because they are awesome IMHO best part of the AT south of NH.

04-19-2015, 23:41
Out of the two, I strongly prefer Erwin/Damascus centered hike. I would hike 5 days around Erwin using 10-K as a shuttler, then hike north of Damascus using Lone Wolf. Skip the "Tennessee Turnpike" south of Damascus. Temperature may be an issue...

But...if I were to arrive June 19th, without question I would be somewhere in Maine, or possibly New Hampshire. Great weather, black flies are mostly gone, and NOBO crowds have not yet arrived.

04-20-2015, 06:33
June is at the height of black fly season in Maine. If I had a choice, I would stay more South than Maine. When it starts getting hot, then the mosquitoes take over.

04-20-2015, 07:13
This is in mid June, right? It'll be warm and humid in both sections, but still decent hiking weather. Afternoon thunderstorms are a possibility every day.

Since you hike a lot in WA, I am assuming you are in decent hiking shape. I would not choose to hike Hampton > Damascus that time of year. It's flat and relatively low elevation, with few or no views (the "Tennessee Turnpike" mentioned above). (In fact the views will be limited in the South anyway since the trees will be leafed out.) North of Damascus is far more interesting.

So, choices, choices. I would do one of two things: start at Springer and hike north until I was done. Flying into Atlanta is easy, you can take public transit to the farthest north station and the Hiker Hostel will pick you up there. Stay at the hostel and get a ride to Springer in the morning after a great breakfast. The HH folks can arrange to pick you up wherever you finish, and get you back to Atlanta. Advantages: easy logistics, starting at the beginning.

Or get to Damascus and just start hiking north. ~80 miles gets you to the interstate at Atkins, another 40 miles gets you to Bland, both easy pick up points. Great views from the Mt Rogers high country, wild ponies, nice little creeks and gorges. Yes, it's harder to get there.

AT&T will have service most places, especially at higher elevations -- certainly every day or two. If you're having issues try turning off data service so texts get sent as actual text messages (there is very limited data service, though you can get lucky).

04-20-2015, 07:22
Erwin through grayson higlands. Take in Roan and grayson highlands, what more could you want

If you need more views than that, you have the wrong trail.

04-20-2015, 07:38
double post