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Two more miles
12-19-2017, 17:21
Getting ready for a SoBo in the midwest sucks. I was thinking that a shakedown hike of the Knobestone might help. I know the debate over it and the AT and don't want to git into that. I was just wanting to know if it was a good idea? It's about the best choice in my area other than going 4 hours away to the Sheltowee Trace or the River to River trail. Both of which I've hiked parts of.

The Solemates
12-19-2017, 17:56
All 3 options you mentioned I have hiked, and all 3 are great options. If preparing for the AT is the goal, it doesnt much matter which you choose. Nights in the mountains is best preparation for nights in the mountains. I'd also add Big South Fork in TN to your mix, Zaleski in Ohio, Ozark Trail in MO, and Mammoth Cave also has 70+ miles of hiking. Those may be similar driving distances.

The Solemates
12-19-2017, 17:58
Also, land between the lakes has a ~60 mile trail.

moldy
12-19-2017, 18:04
A good shake down for your body involves 10 hours of walking with your full pack. I't about seeing if you feet can take what your mind has signed up for. It's a good idea to camp for the night to see if your sleep system and cooking system need any adjustments. If you are doing a south bound next year I recommend jogging a few miles every day or every chance you can so you get your wind up. Just don't hurt yourself. You will be thankful climbing up to Baxter Peak.

Dogwood
12-19-2017, 18:31
If willing to go 4 hrs away I'd go further south than the Sheltowee Trace, Knobstone, Ozark, or R2R Trails to either the Ozark Highlands or Quachita(w AT like lean tos). It will be warmer with the OHT my suggestion because it more closely mimics the AT of the ST, Ozark Trail, R2R, or the Quachita. Quachita will be slightly warmer than the OHT for a Feb-Mar shakedown though both Arkansas trails will be very doable at that time without the need to experience a high degree of AT like winter conditions.


For a shorter romp I'd suggest the Red River Gorge area and south on the ST.

gbolt
12-19-2017, 22:49
Knobstone is great except for lack of water at certain times and points along the trail. Shawnee State Park in Ohio has a great combo loop that will take 3-5 Days or more depending on how you plan and crush the miles. It is called, “The little Smokies of Ohio”. It solves the water issue with cisterns. However, there are creeks so you can also filter to check your system. The crazy thing is that I can get to RRG in the same time, if not quicker than Shawnee. Yet, I know the crowed will range from none to a few hikers at Shawnee. I am hoping to do a February Prep Hike if all goes well. Have to wait and see. May be worth checking into to.

Two more miles
12-19-2017, 23:11
I spent a week in the Red River Gorge this September, didn't have any problems maintaining 10 plus a day with a full pack of way to much crap. Usually every weekend I'm Hiking or Backpacking in places that resembles RRG. The north end of Hoosier Nat Forest is the closest thing to me. Hit Deam wilderness about one weekend a month. I haven't been on the Knob yet that's why I was asking. Don't want to trick myself into thanking the At's going to be easy.

EO.
12-20-2017, 08:39
The Deam is my go-to as well. I did the KT last month. In my opinion, the KT was more difficult than anything Ive experienced in the Deam. We cached water but could have done without since there was a lot of rain in October. Let me know if you have any questions. There is a book called A Guide to the Knobstone Trail which has decent elevation charts and a list of established campsites.

jgillam
12-20-2017, 09:32
The KT is a pretty serious endeavor. Another good trail in the general area is the Adventure Hiking Trail in Corydon, IN. I believe it's a 26 mile loop as opposed to the 50-/+ KT.

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Two more miles
12-20-2017, 09:50
The Deam is my go-to as well. I did the KT last month. In my opinion, the KT was more difficult than anything I’ve experienced in the Deam. We cached water but could have done without since there was a lot of rain in October. Let me know if you have any questions. There is a book called A Guide to the Knobstone Trail which has decent elevation charts and a list of established campsites.

Thanks for the info. I was just going to get the info pack from HHC.

Just Bill
12-20-2017, 11:39
Agree with the others- lots of good short trails available to you.
I'm in Valparaiso now, but the only thing I could add from Chicago area (2 hours for you?) would be the Illinois State Trail in Channahon, IL area. That's 62-81 miles but it is a national heritage corridor so you don't need any permits or permissions and you can camp anywhere along the corridor. It's flat, mostly crushed limestone type trail but the bonus is it's a long stretch you can pound high miles and beat yourself up pretty well. That's the trail I used to train on.
Too bad there isn't much along the lakeshore for backpacking overnight... but if you wanted to hike in the dunes that is good elevation training if you feel that's missing for you.

Main thing in my opinion for a Sobo... is simply doing some multi-night shakedowns so your gear is dialed in. Unlike NOBO's with multiple outfitters and services to visit, the bigger challenge for SOBO is logistics since there really isn't much available or affordable if you need to do any changes on the fly. BIG K is a tough hike for a midwesterner but heading south from there the first 60 miles or so are pretty easy so you will have a few days to get rolling if you plan an overnight in baxter. Maine is pretty amazing overall and that can carry you though the physical challenges. Other than the elevation the woods still feel pretty much 'like home' compared to Michigan or the Upper Peninsula... so it's not quite the shock or feeling of being out of place you'd have out west.

You'll get in shape either way... so don't worry too much about that. And there is no substitute anywhere in the country really for that area anyway.
Any of the areas mentioned will help shake the cobwebs and get some time on your feet.
Any multi-day trip will identify any holes in your kit and avoid the need for any emergency adjustments.

EO.
12-20-2017, 17:00
Thanks for the info. I was just going to get the info pack from HHC.

If you’re talking about the map - it’s on DNR’s site for free. I saved the PDF to my phone and printed it on regular paper. Not a large waterproof map, but it’s free. Also these maps don’t have any information regarding campsites and the topo isn’t super informative. I can send you the list of campsites from the book if you don’t want to/don’t have time to pick it up. Just let me know.

tawa
12-20-2017, 17:39
Im also interested in going on some 40-80 mile trips as mentioned above.
Will be going back to the AT in April and continuing on from southern PA.
So need to keep training hard the next several months so that when a window of good weather opens in early April I will be ready to roll.
Keep in touch if you decide to go on a few day hike and I might be able to go along with you.

Dogwood
12-20-2017, 19:29
A shakedown hike(or hikes) in prep of an anticipated 2000+ miler to me is far than just about familiarizing with gear. To me it's also about accessing and, if need be, addressing physical, emotional, and mental condition. It's about getting clear on the "why's" and "how's" I'm going to put myself in the best possible place to complete and enjoy the 2000 + miler. They are about mimicking experiencing any specific logistical situations(as JB said) and other conditions as will be experienced on the longest thru hike. It's about getting my nutrition dialed in. It's about addressing consumable wts like water, food, and fuel. It's about considering pro and con options of various LD backpacking styles that I'm familiar. IMHO, for such a length hike(2000+ miles) especially when I know from the get go on Day 1-3 it's going to be strenuous demanding conditions, I find it best for me, even at my stage as an experienced N. American LD hiker, to prep by doing a shorter trip like 2-7 days and a longer 2-3 wk trip, interspersed with prep at home.

Two more miles
12-20-2017, 22:35
Thanks again. Yes I would like to get that information about the campsites from you.

Two more miles
12-20-2017, 23:07
Sounds like I'm not too far off in my thoughts. We go on everything from day hikes to 2-3/days weekends and 7-8/days ( once a year) every weekend in places like Shawnee, RRG or similar. Anytrail labeled as rough we hit first with a full pack and a smile . Most of the time except when injured. I think the mental part well be more the challenge than the physical.

EO.
12-29-2017, 14:47
MILE DESCRIPTION
2.15 Existing camp
6.00 Round Knob scenic view with existing camp
7.30 Scenic view with camp, rock shelter
9.80 Existing camp
10.85 Scenic view with existing camp
16.90 Existing camp
19.90 Existing camp
20.30 Low wetland and existing camp
20.60 Low wetland and existing camp
21.20 Low wetland and existing camp
22.20 Low wetland and existing camp
22.90 Scenic view and existing camp
25.25 Scenic view and existing camp
27.40 Existing camp
29.10 Existing camp
30.50 Elk Creek Lake existing camp
30.85 Existing camp
31.15 Existing camp
34.00 Existing camp
35.90 Existing camp
36.10 Existing camp
38.25 Existing camp
39.50 Existing camp in Virginia pine forest
40.30 Existing camp
45.50 Delaney Creek Park camping, showers, phone