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john muir
09-15-2015, 03:13
So I have been dreaming of an A.T hike for a few years now and I am finally getting my chance this coming april. I have been using my local state parks for training, ive completed about 20 of them now. We are going to do the whole GA section from Springer mountain to hopefully Bly Gap in roughly 5 days allowing for 1 extra day in case, WE will have a mon-sunday time off for it. my questions are as follows.

1. do you all think it is reasonable to do all 78 or so miles of the GA section in 1 week?
2. I noticed Bly Gap Seems to be a good distance away from any roads, how long wuld it take once reaching the NC/GA borrder to find a road to get a ride?
3. what are some of the good resupply points along that section.
4. as always any advice i can get will be well apreciated.

MuddyWaters
09-15-2015, 05:05
So I have been dreaming of an A.T hike for a few years now and I am finally getting my chance this coming april. I have been using my local state parks for training, ive completed about 20 of them now. We are going to do the whole GA section from Springer mountain to hopefully Bly Gap in roughly 5 days allowing for 1 extra day in case, WE will have a mon-sunday time off for it. my questions are as follows.

1. do you all think it is reasonable to do all 78 or so miles of the GA section in 1 week?
2. I noticed Bly Gap Seems to be a good distance away from any roads, how long wuld it take once reaching the NC/GA borrder to find a road to get a ride?
3. what are some of the good resupply points along that section.
4. as always any advice i can get will be well apreciated.

1. Easy for in shape with light pack. Not so easy for most.
2. Bly gap is clearing in woods. You arent likely to find a ride on remote forest roads. Make a different plan.
3. Neel gap, helen, hiawassee. You wont make 5 days if get off trail, and you dont particularly need resupply for 5 days either. Neel gap is only resupply you need.

ScareBear
09-15-2015, 06:08
`1. It all depends on your level of physical fitness. When you say you have used your local parks for training, have you hiked three consecutive days with a total vertical distance of ten miles each day, with elevation changes of at least 5000 feet per day, with a full pack with 3 nights of gear/food and at least 2 litres of water? If not, can you run 5 miles a day, for three days in a row? If you haven't done the first, and aren't capable of the second, then I doubt you can string together 7 straight 10 mile days in the Georgia mountains. This is a tough section. And, ten miles a day is also weather-dependent. Remember, you aren't giving yourself any rest days and there isn't really any "easy" stretch in this section. Take a good look at an elevation chart for this section.
2. You can get picked up at Blue Ridge Gap. Just pop up to Bly and get a tree photo, if you must, and then back down to the gap for pick-up. There isn't any other good option nearby.
3. You should pack for 3 nights to Neel Gap and resupply there for the remaining 4 to Bly. Again, weather dependent on how much your pack is going to weigh...
4. If you go in early spring or fall, you need to be prepared for wet and cold weather. The possibility of high winds exits and you need to have good campsite selection skills and a good tent that you trust in the wet and windy. If you go in the early spring with the bubble or just after it, you will find the shelters packed and trashed. That said, I prefer to tent in this section as there are plenty of fine sites. Don't underestimate the trail, some of the straight pulls, like the one up Justus, are tough. There is a good reason why the majority of those with thru hiking intentions don't make it out off Georgia...good luck and bring your

ScareBear
09-15-2015, 06:13
Sorry, I meant 11 mile days. 7 straight 11 mile days....

bigcranky
09-15-2015, 06:29
1. Yes, it's possible to do the Georgia section in a week. Can you do it? Probably, but we can't know that. Luckily there are a dozen places where you can easily get off the trail when you are done hiking.

2. The best place to stop is Dick's Creek Gap, which is a major road crossing. Yes, it's not quite to the state line, but it makes the logisitics much easier, especially when you decide to come back and start hiking where you left off.

3. Neels Gap has resupply. That's three days in, so it's all you need.

4. Don't take too much stuff, don't try to hike the whole thing on the first day.

ScareBear
09-15-2015, 08:21
I meant horizontal miles...not vertical.....dang....I need to quit posting when I wake up!!

FatMan
09-15-2015, 09:36
I see you are young so I won't count you out, but only the top 10% of hikers are going to be able to string together 5 straight 15+ mile days in GA. You will likely need that extra day and likely all seven IMO. And you say "We". Hiking with a partner makes it more unlikely as both need to be extremely fit.

But don't let that hold you back. There are plenty of exit points here in GA and plenty of shuttle services that can get you back to your car regardless of where you exit the trail. Just get out there and let your body tell you how far to go. Don't over do it on the first day as that will quickly take its toll on the remainder of the hike.

Between now and the next 3 or 4 weeks is the perfect time to hike GA.

Enjoy your hike!

Gambit McCrae
09-15-2015, 10:49
1. do you all think it is reasonable to do all 78 or so miles of the GA section in 1 week?
Yes

2. I noticed Bly Gap Seems to be a good distance away from any roads, how long would it take once reaching the NC/GA border to find a road to get a ride?

Deep gap, NC. Just 6-7 miles north of Bly Gap. You should call and have a car prearranged to either pick you up at a certain time or do your shuttle prior to your trip. Ron Brown is my Georgia Shuttle driver, one of best in business imo

3. what are some of the good resupply points along that section.

Neel's Gap(mile 31.7)
Unicoi Gap (mile 52.9-Helen, GA)
Dicks Gap (mile 69.6 TOG)

4. As always any advice I can get will be well appreciated.

The more days you spread it out at the better your success rate will be. If you want to quit, take a half day down in Helen or a hostel and think about it over the day.
I always tell people, if you can run a 5k in appropriate time and feel comfortable after, you should have a good time physically on the AT. If your going to New England, Make it a 10K.

Fun thing-See if you can find all 3 Plaques in Georgia.
Spell check goes a long way.

Abatis1948
09-16-2015, 10:22
+1 ScareBear.

The road up to Blue Ridge Gap has been repaired and I have driven to Blue Ridge Gap twice this summer. The Gap is about 3 miles south of Bly Gap. If you plan to pick up where you end this hike, would end at Dicks Gap.

Gambit McCrae
09-16-2015, 12:33
I agree I would end at Dicks gap. No, its not touching the state border BUT logistically it makes sense to end there OR say up in NC around Standing Indian CG or WSG

Uncle Joe
09-30-2015, 10:00
Isn't there a FSR at Plum Orchard? I know I've seen pics of cars parked somewhere in that area where folks have hiked to the state line and back.

Lnj
09-30-2015, 10:53
My husband and I are doing the same section in late May of next year, but SOBO from Deep Gap, NC. We are both in terrible shape, but working hard to condition now and we are giving it 9/10 days, with hopes of ending at the Amicalola approach trailhead instead of Springer. Good luck!

FlyPaper
09-30-2015, 11:06
Deep Gap is 7 miles past the border. That may be more emotionally satisfying since you'd be able to go home knowing you did all of Georgia rather than practically all of Georgia. It is reached via 6 mile dirt road, but the road should be easy. Not sure how snow would affect it in April through.

The goal of doing Georgia in 5 days is a stretch. Even if you can do it, you may not enjoy the hike so much. That will mean you have to do long, hard days. When you go to bed at night, you'll rest uneasily knowing you have another long, hard day tomorrow. Most through hikers take about 9 days to finish Georgia.

Lnj
09-30-2015, 11:29
Deep Gap is 7 miles past the border. That may be more emotionally satisfying since you'd be able to go home knowing you did all of Georgia rather than practically all of Georgia. It is reached via 6 mile dirt road, but the road should be easy. Not sure how snow would affect it in April through.

The goal of doing Georgia in 5 days is a stretch. Even if you can do it, you may not enjoy the hike so much. That will mean you have to do long, hard days. When you go to bed at night, you'll rest uneasily knowing you have another long, hard day tomorrow. Most through hikers take about 9 days to finish Georgia.

We may not even be able to make it to Amicalola, but if we can get to Springer I will feel like we made it!

FlyPaper
09-30-2015, 11:50
We may not even be able to make it to Amicalola, but if we can get to Springer I will feel like we made it!

I was mostly replying to the OP. 9/10 days to reach Amicalola falls seems reasonable. Thru hikers typically take 8-9 days to finish Georgia, but they start out in less than great shape too.

Tennessee Viking
09-30-2015, 12:42
1. GA is a bit rugged for novice hikers. If you haven't done a lot of mountain terrain hiking or if you are not in shape. Its going to be a workout.
2. You have two options. Double back to Dicks Creek Gap or continue to Deep Gap in NC.
3. Suches, Mountain Crossings, hitch from Unicoi Gap, Dicks Creek Gap

If you have walked any of the NC State Parks in the mountains (Mitchell, Gorges, Hanging Rock, South Mtn...), you are pretty well off. If you want a good test of endurance, try the MST along the Parkway. The MST at Falls Lake will also be a good stamina builder.

Stubby
09-30-2015, 13:30
Hoping my experiences will help in determining the miles.

My regular section-hiking partner is my son. We started when he was 13, and a select soccer player. We started at the base of Amicalola. Stated late morning, did the stairs (ugh) and total miles on day 1 were 11.6. We then did 17.5 miles the second day, and it was hard. I overestimated what we could do, had little choice but to soldier on to the car. That stretch (Stover creek shelter to woody gap) was probably about the best terrain I could hope for in Georgia, and it was still very exhausting. While we were only a little sore on Day 2, neither of us could have hiked a day 3, we were too sore.

We make sure now to plan for 8 to 10 miles per day. Partly because we know we are unlikely to actually get onto the trail much before noon on Day 1.

He's in his late teens now, and ran cross-country. I hold him back some. We usually do 5 miles every 3 hours. If we push hard, we can do 2 miles per hour. We often have to push, we usually only plan for 1 night, and our shuttling seems to always take longer than expected (but its family, so I can't complain).

There was another day that we did high miles. We did Max Patch to Davenport. Yes, my section hikes sometimes (but not always) go SOBO. We had planned one night, but we were finding little water and lots of campers (we like solitude when we can get it) and my son was feeling his oats... we ended up mixing in some trailrunning (with full packs), and did about 15.6 miles of the trail in about 8 hours, inlcuding the plus 2 more to the car... Got there before dark, last two miles were along a road. And we weren't that sore the next day.. But we had been running a lot in the couple of years prior.

I think you can do it. My recommendations:
1. Run a lot between now and then.
2. Do some several-mile day hikes between now and then, with a loaded backpack. (sounds like you have been, great)
3. Lighten your load - it really helped me when I shed 20 lbs from my pack.
4. Start early each morning... I find it much easier to walk longer than walk faster.
5. Take a headlamp... you can extend the hike into the evening if needed.
(side note on this... its dark roughly 12 hours a day... but you only need about 8 hours, right? Sure, its nice to sit around the [small] [pre-existing] fire ring, and sure it takes some time to make camp and cook meals... 2 hours could be enough for that tho, right? If you have some miles to make up, hiking into the evening is easier than I thought it would be.)
6. Take Advil. I find that it relieves muscle soreness a LOT.
7. Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated helps me not feel as tired.

Lnj
09-30-2015, 13:33
Thanks TN Viking. I will be doing many small stretches as part of our training. I may be doing the Grandfather Profile Trail sometime this month. I will make a point to do the toughest ones in the NC Ranges.

Lnj
09-30-2015, 13:37
Great advice Stubby. We will likely be hiking somewhere every weekend throughout the winter. Some day hikes only to accommodate other obligations and as many overnighters as possible thrown into the mix, and always the hardest ones we can find with a few hours drive of us.

Uncle Joe
10-07-2015, 11:06
Isn't there a FSR at Plum Orchard? I know I've seen pics of cars parked somewhere in that area where folks have hiked to the state line and back.

It looks like I was thinking of Blue Ridge Gap and that road can be iffy. I was looking at doing my Dicks to GA/NC and coming back to that road as a finish but not sure how passable it is.

Stubby
10-07-2015, 11:23
When you do your section, post back here and let us know how it went.

mcaldwe
10-12-2015, 16:11
I don't mean to hijack the thread, but after reading through, I have many similarities as well as questions that I think could benefit both me and the OP.

Also dreamed of doing the AT, originally as a thru-hike after college (grad school screwed that plan up) then a thru-hike after grad school (but a wedding/honeymoon/real-life job is postponing that one) so for now it is section hiking. I want to do large chunks and my OCD makes me want to start at the beginning (at least the end closest to me) and hike until logical stopping points. I have 3 available time frames to do Georgia coming up: Thanksgiving (only about 3 days, heading back to Linville Gorge instead), Christmas (only have about 4-5 days, so probably Shining Rock area) and then Spring Break (March 6-12). I have decided the former is my best and only option. So with all of that being said, I have questions:

1. How bad is an early March start? I have heard mixed things and I know weather is unpredictable. I am used to mountain winters (Western North Carolina native) and have done a bit of winter backpacking (mostly 2-3 nights in winter however). Aside from having appropriate gear and knowledge, what are the biggest concerns?

2. Where to end? I feel like I have a handle on this after reading the previous posters, but if anyone has new information feel free to add to it.

3. Is a little over 13 mi/day reasonable? (that is assuming I have 6 full hiking days). I know there are numerous factors that go into play here. My physical conditioning is great (I commute atleast 15mi daily on the bike + gym time + climb 4 times a week) and I am used to backpacking (grew up in the Mountains (Brevard)) and every 3+ days off that I have I head to Linville Gorge or Shinning Rock Wilderness. Despite all that, I know blisters are real, fatigue is real, etc. So how realistic is it?

4. Is not planning on resupplying reasonable/smart? I know it obviously increases pack weight, but I would rather not take the time or spend the $$ to resupply for a 6 day trip...

5. Good base weight for that length of trip? What should I be shooting for?

6. Should I plan on filtering or plan that these will not be available (frozen)?

7. Is solo safe? My fiancÚ would make me ask this anyway...What are the chances I will find a hiking partner this early? A buddy of mine says he is game to hike but I know he cannot do that mileage, so I either go solo or cut the distance down to have a partner. Third option is take the dog (4yo yellow lab) who is nothing short of a trail dog. He loves it, I just don't want to risk an injury with him (ripped pad, strained muscle) that hurts him or shortens the trip.

Any additional information is welcome. Also, this is only my second post, so if this needs another location, feel free to let me know. Thank you!

32280

bigcranky
10-12-2015, 19:41
1. The trail will be very busy, lots of hikers. The weather is totally unpredictable, but probably averages lows in the 20s and highs in the 50s, but be prepared for teens and 70.

2. Dick's Creek Gap is a good goal - easy to get a ride to and from.

3. If you're in good shape, 13 mpd is reasonable. But of course no one can say that from here. :)

4. Resupply at Neels Gap on day 3. Or at least a partial resupply. The trail goes right through the store.

5. 20 pounds would be reasonable for all gear without food and water. 25 would still be pretty good compared to a lot of folks with very heavy packs. It's still winter, as you know.

6. Keep your filter from freezing, bring some aqua mira tabs as a backup.

7. Solo is very safe, and you won't be alone. You will naturally fall in with a small group of people on the trail from the first or second day. I love love love dogs, but I would not take a dog on the trail, too much like taking a toddler on the trail (and I did that....)

Finally, :welcome

Riocielo
10-13-2015, 05:16
We may not even be able to make it to Amicalola, but if we can get to Springer I will feel like we made it!
We did that section SOBO in the spring and I wish we hadn't taken the time on the Approach Trail. Having said that, Amicalola Falls is quite impressive, I would have liked to see it on a day when I wasn't tired and smelly and looking for a slower.

Lnj
10-13-2015, 10:51
We did that section SOBO in the spring and I wish we hadn't taken the time on the Approach Trail. Having said that, Amicalola Falls is quite impressive, I would have liked to see it on a day when I wasn't tired and smelly and looking for a slower.

How many days did it take you? We are giving it 9/10. We are really out of shape, but hope to be in better shape by then. We are shooting for an average of 10 mile days with no zeros, though maybe there is some wiggle room for a nero or 2. What was your experience? You are the first person to post that you have done the exact same section we are planning to do and SOBO.

GScout
10-13-2015, 22:29
I started at the one mile mark, just north of Springer, and did this section in less than 5 days with an overnight to restock in Hiawasee. I trained a lot (200 miles, give or take, on rocky terrain with moderate elevation gain). I'm mid-40s and found my trail legs on about day 3. I think if you pace yourself well and don't get discouraged by all the folks who tell you it can't be done, it can totally be done. That being said, the trail will reveal to you your mental and physical limits. Respect them, not only to avoid injury but to have a good time.

I carried about 28 lbs, fyi, and trained with 25-30.

Have a great time and HYOH!

FatMan
10-13-2015, 22:39
It looks like I was thinking of Blue Ridge Gap and that road can be iffy. I was looking at doing my Dicks to GA/NC and coming back to that road as a finish but not sure how passable it is.I hiked through Blue Ridge Gap the last week of August and there was a small sedan parked. So it must be in decent shape. But it is definitely dirt, not gravel so I suspect some rain could make it pretty sloppy in a hurry. I understand that it is pretty steep in places.

LittleRock
10-14-2015, 13:46
I did Springer to Deep Gap in 6 days. I was 25 and physically fit, and it was still tough. It can definitely be done in 5 days, but IMO pushing for big miles every day makes the trip less enjoyable.