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View Full Version : Places to see, things to do and people to meet ?



Mountain Man
07-14-2006, 00:09
I know I'll probably figure this out as I go along next year but I was curious now as to what is some of the must see, must do things that yall would recommend on a thru? I know they will probably be alot of differing opinons and arguements over which is good and which ain't but go ahead and shoot em at anyway and I'll try to sort them out. This might be a once in a life time thang for me who knows and I want to soak it all in that I can. Yeah I want to get to Katahdin but I want to check out all I can along the way. For example great Hostel's and places to eat, feeds, gatherings, festivels or a side trip to some must see place that you was glad you took the time to check out. A town that I might need to take a extra zero to check it out. Maybe canoeing, rafting trips, Bike trip, good swimming holes, fishing holes. Dang, I might need to start a little earlier in the year.:D

This trip for me is not a get away from everything be by myself wilderness thang (I've had plenty of that) although I might change my mind along the way it's more of seeing the sights that I ain't never seen and meeting people kind of thang and just enjoying myself. I've seen some places along the way between Springer and Katahdin already and I've heard of some on WB here already that I haven't got the chance to see but want too. Thanks for any help.

Blue Jay
07-14-2006, 07:20
The most important thing is to not be a mile slave. Be open to locals and things that you hear from SOBOs. Much of what they say is BS but there are majic places all along the AT that few know of and most thrus walk right by.
If you are open an willing to take a few steps off, you'll be amazed at what you'll find.

mtnbums2000
07-14-2006, 13:30
Okay so being a whitewater raft guide and a mountain bike nut I have a few suggestions for you...
Your first oppurtunity to go rafting will be at the NOC on the Nantahalla River in N.C. You can also rent mt. bikes and go to Tsali (80 miles of some of the best singletrack in the world IMO) and ride until your lil' heart is content. This is a great place to take a day or two off and enjoy what the area has to offer. You don't have to go rafting with NOC which is more pricey than all of the other outfitters. They're are well over a dozen of outfitters in the area and I would recommend USA Raft cause I managed the one on the Pigeon River for many years. And if you are somewhat of a water adventurer I would get a thrill-kat or duckie instead of getting a guide and a raft with a family of screaming lil' kids. Google USA Raft for more info and prices. Now the river is not big by any means it has several class 2's and they say two class 3's but really there is only one class 3 and it's your last rapid before the take out. And don't forget about mountain biking you can rent a bike for about $35-$45 a day. So I guess you will need two days for these adventures or do mtn. biking at the NOC and then hike through the Smokies down Davenport Gap to the Pigoen River. This river is alot fun with 3 class 4's and 13 class 3's. A typical trip down the Upper Pigeon will take you an hour or so but allow your-self at least 3 hours for the entire trip time. My wife will probably be managing USA Raft on the Pigeon River next year and if that's the case the trip is on us. After the Pigeon you go into Hot Springs where you can raft down the French Broad. A fun river but not as fun as the Pigeon. Then you go into Erwin, TN where you can raft the Nolichucky another fun river. One of the most scenic rivers east of the Mississippi IMO. When you get up into WV check out the New River and now your talkin bout some solid class 4's and some small class 5's depending on the water level when you go thru.
You can email me and I will be more than happy to give you all the info you need on rafting/rivers and mountain biking in the south. I have ran the Nantahalla, Pigoen, French Broad, Nolichucky, New, and the Gauley and they are all close the A.T. Some are easier to make it happen than others obviously, but I can help get the ball rolling on any of the rivers if you are interested...I have connections at all of them.
I think it would be foolish to hike the whole A.T and not go whitewater rafting and mountain biking and that's just my biased opinion. I know there are some rivers and mt. biking up in the Northern states but I've only snowboarded up North. So someone jump in and help out.

mtnbums2000@yahoo.com (email me if you have any questions)

Ridge
07-14-2006, 13:52
If you want to take a break and have never been to Manhattan, you can catch a "short line" bus out of Bear Mtn (At Crossing the Hudson R.), and I think there is train you can catch nearby, area, visit the Metropolitan Museum or The Natural Museum of History (I liked this more). There are some hostels in NYC, usually for college age, but you can check around for one to stay at, otherwise, too expensive. Also, you might get the folks at Bear Mtn to keep your gear and you can take a day pack. I was more interested in natural formations and some of the history you'll find them on a "Trail Companion" (guillotine, lemon squeezer, Pine Furnace, Audey Murphy crash site, mahoosic mile, rivers, DelWaterGap area, and mountains, views etc) Also, on the way back some guys I knew stayed over in Boston before catching a plane out of Logan back to Atlanta.

You'll have time to do some off trail exploration, but I would put some kind of plan together before I go.

Ridge
07-14-2006, 15:07
I better correct myself now before the few independent a--hole dog-hiker trolls keeping tabs on me do. It's the Museum of Natural History and not what I had mistakenly posted.

And, that same group would appreciate you having a photo made every few hours along the trail and posting them so you can be a member of there little bragging or exhibitionist club. They can't come up with a good excuse for having an unleashed dog on a hiking trail, so they attack you personally instead.

Prosseroo
07-14-2006, 16:21
Like mtnbums said, there's good whitewater opportunities all along the trail. Next year when I do the trail, I plan on taking several zero's so I can do some kayaking. I just have to figure a way to get my friends in Atlanta to bring my boat up and meet me at the various rivers.

QHShowoman
07-14-2006, 16:22
If you can swing it, try to get to Sliding Rock in Pisgah National Forest. It's great fun!

QHShowoman
07-14-2006, 16:24
Oh, and I wanted to add that I went rafting down the Nantahala in June ... with a company called Wildwater, Ltd. It was $86 for an all-day adventure which included a scenic 3 hour train ride through the Nantahala Gorge, the rafting trip, and lunch back at the outfitter's. We stayed at a yurt resort owned by the same company and man, it was like super fancy camping!

Lilred
07-14-2006, 19:06
I've only hiked as far as Bland Va., but this is what I would recommend to that point.


Definately stay at Miss Janet's in Erwin TN. There's a campground right when you get off the trail at the Nolichucky River. Skip it. Go to Miss Janet's. Trust me on this one, you don't want to miss her or her breakfasts.

Stay at Kincora and meet Bob Peoples and his wife Pat. Great People. You may get a chance to do trail maintenance with them. Do it.

Stop at the Mountain Harbor Hostel on 19E and meet Mary and Terry Hill. Great folks, awesome hostel, amazing breakfasts.

In Hot Springs, stay at Elmers and enjoy one of his vegetarian dinners. One of the best meals on the trail, imho.

Damascus. Plan a zero here. Meet the folks at Mt. Rogers Outfitters and be sure to eat at the Baja Cafe. Take a bike ride down the Virginia Creeper Trail. Great trout fishing, Great Town. Stay at either Dave's Place or The Hiker's Inn. I didn't care for The Place much, too many people.

I went rafting at NOC in a duckie. Didn't care for it and will skip it on my thru. Too Pricey, but a nice little hostel. May not be open when you go thru.

I'll also skip Greasy Creek Hostel next time too. Waaaay too long of a walk downhill to get there and there's a crazy neighbor that runs his machinery at the crack of dawn just to wake the hikers. Not worth the frozen burgers she serves.

Oh, I almost forgot, stop at Standing Bear Hostel just after you get out of the Smokies. Awesome place. I hear Mt. Momas has great cheeseburgers, but spend the night at Standing Bear.

Troutdale - there is nothing there but a cafe, hostel, and post office. Loved it!! Great food at the cafe and great people run the hostel.

Bland - the name describes the town. Skip it if you can. Maybe a quick in and out for resupply, but don't stay there. The hotel is overpriced and inconvenient.

That's about all I can think of. I'm sure I'm forgetting something though. Take every side trail you can to waterfalls and viewpoints. And don't be in a hurry. Stop and just listen at times. You'll be amazed at what you will hear and see if you just stop for a little while and listen.

Mountain Man
07-14-2006, 23:37
Thanks yall
Lots of good suggestions. I'm making me a list. I know I can't do it all but I'll do all I can.

I've rafted the Nantahalla a couple of times and it was a lot of fun. Especially the first time I did it after some record rain fall and right at the end our raft flipping. I think I hit every rock when I went over the little falls there.:) Going to do the Chattoga in a couple of weeks.

Keep em coming and again thanks

Ridge
07-15-2006, 01:12
[quote=Mountain Man] .........Going to do the Chattooga in a couple of weeks.........../quote]

Regardless if you are going solo or with an organized outfitter you should use the water levels to plan a trip. Right now they are a little on the low side. at around 1.2'.

Here's how to keep tabs on the water levels on the Chattooga. Ideal gage readings for a good trip are 1.4' to a max of 3.0'. It also depends on the vessel and the river section (2,3,or 4)

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?dd_cd=01&dd_cd=02&format=gif&period=7&site_no=02177000

the goat
07-15-2006, 01:33
If you want to take a break and have never been to Manhattan, you can catch a "short line" bus out of Bear Mtn (At Crossing the Hudson R.), and I think there is train you can catch nearby.

yeah, that train "nearby" is really, really hard to miss, being as the AT crosses right over it & the AT has it's own stop! check it:

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=12087&c=521

Ridge
07-15-2006, 02:03
yeah, that train "nearby" is really, really hard to miss, being as the AT crosses right over it & the AT has it's own stop! check it:

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/vbg/showimage.php?i=12087&c=521


I corrected the Museum of Natural History, stating that I had previously, wrote it wrong, explaining those keeping tabs on me would raise hell and say I'd never been there, Phony, etc etc. I said train was nearby, I was right, I remembered that and the bus thing because I was trying to keep those folks from driving all that way. I can't remember every place I camped, or AYCE restaurant I may have went in, or grocery store. Some things I barely remember, for example I know that "the guillotine" is north of Damascus, beyond Mt Rogers. I know the Lemon Squeezer in near the NY/NJ line, I know were most of all the big towns are, DWG, Hanover, Gorham, etc. These are Just examples of a few things I can, or can barely, remember. I do know the AT very well south of Mt Rogers, only because I've hiked it more than once.

As for the picture, I don't remember the waiting area, for that matter, the only reason I remembered crossing the Hudson was because it was the Lowest point on the AT, its been over 10 years since I came thru and I didn't use a train or the bus, my daughter friends parents picked me up and carried me to NYNY. Given the distance, the train is probably cheaper than the Bus. A lot of things I don't know, one, I'm not even sure this is the best point to access NYNY, and I don't even know if the BM zoo is even in operation today.

mtnbums2000
07-15-2006, 02:30
[quote=Mountain Man] .........Going to do the Chattooga in a couple of weeks.........../quote]

Regardless if you are going solo or with an organized outfitter you should use the water levels to plan a trip. Right now they are a little on the low side. at around 1.2'.

Here's how to keep tabs on the water levels on the Chattooga. Ideal gage readings for a good trip are 1.4' to a max of 3.0'. It also depends on the vessel and the river section (2,3,or 4)

http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ga/nwis/uv?dd_cd=01&dd_cd=02&format=gif&period=7&site_no=02177000

boatingbeta.com is also a good sight to go to.

I've ran section 4 of the chattooga in a raft from 1.6 to up to 5 feet (almost died at crack in the rock) not commercially but on fun trips or insane trips that I take some of my raft guides on. IMO 1.8-2.0 feet is prime time on section 4 .

Ridge
07-15-2006, 02:51
.......I've ran section 4 of the Chattooga in a raft from 1.6 to up to 5 feet (almost died at crack in the rock) not commercially but on fun trips or insane trips that I take some of my raft guides on. IMO 1.8-2.0 feet is prime time on section 4 .....

The way to do sec 4 is to leave (in kayak of course) US 76 when the Full Moon is at 12 o'clock, (or close). by-pass Woodall Shoals and hope you make it to the Lake (Tugaloo). Not for the faint of heart, and never do it at high water. Wear wet-suit, helmet, life-vest, take survival gear,have a good waterproof headlamp and tether it to yourself.

Ridge
07-15-2006, 03:03
In addition, you should have ran the river (section 4) earlier in the day, and should be well capable of doing so. I think the USFS has made it illegal to boat/travel at night on section 4 (maybe all sections), or at least talking about it. Really a good idea. Sec 4=dangerous, "Corkscrew" and "Crack in the Rock" just claimed a guy not too long ago.

mtnbums2000
07-15-2006, 20:24
We often talked about doing a midnight/full moon run on the Chattooga. I've done several on the Uppper Gauley and most of the rivers in the south besides the Occooe. We've just never got around to the Chattooga as of yet.

Gray Blazer
07-15-2006, 21:41
Nolichucky in Erwin/USA Raft !!

Wonder
07-16-2006, 08:20
Ohhhh....that was fun!!!!


If you can swing it, try to get to Sliding Rock in Pisgah National Forest. It's great fun!

Footslogger
07-16-2006, 10:47
Neither my wife or I am big on "side trips" while we're hiking. That said, both of us are very much in favor of enjoying ourselves along the way. For us that translates into taking our time (as much as possible) and enjoying the towns/town people along the way.

We are planning another thru of the AT and are seriously considering allowing 7 months to complete it. That way we can maintain a reasonable overall average pace and still manage to stop for the day if we stumble into a great campsite.

'Slogger

general
07-16-2006, 14:41
blueblazes man, blueblazes. some of the great places to see are not on the AT. as for a river trip, you can do about 106 miles on the Shennandoah River, which skipps Shennandoah National Park. the outfitter picked us up in Waynesboro, took us to the river, picked us up at the VA/WV line and drove us on into Harpers Ferry. class 2-3 with 6 dam portages, and plenty of resuply points (some on the river,and some hitchhiking distance at any bridge). it's loads of fun. when i did it, we had a group of 24 folks, and i think the boats were $90 for 6 or 8 days, the week leading up to the 4th of July. there are no established camp spots. we just stealth camped on farm land or islands in the river. i can't remember the name of the outfitter, but maybe someone else can.

Ridge
07-16-2006, 15:38
The Official Appalachian Trail is the one with the White-Blazes!!!


The first time, be an AT thru-hiker, not a "Blue-Blazer", Yellow-Blazer, or 2000 miler or LD hiker, pass all the white-blazes. Do the BlueBlazes on section trips or on a second trip. The only deviation from the White-blazes should be necessary go-arounds (blowdowns or washouts), usually flagged by the trail-clubs. One thing some hikers do will hitch a ride to town on a lower road only to hitch one back on the upper road, thus cutting several or more miles from the AT, this is just a fancy way to "Yellow-blaze", slackpacking is ok just not for me. Even though the AT route changes from year to year the "Official Appalachian Trail" is still the trail with the White-Blazes. The "BlueBlazer.com" site-name is available if anyones interested.

rickb
07-16-2006, 15:59
These places aren't where thru hikers typically go, but coloring outside the lines might be fun-- depending on your own interests. Both are short hitches from the AT. That said, I didn't even leave the AT to go into Harpers Ferry, so can't say much as to how any detour would effect the flow...

A really decent Art Museum in Williamstown, MA

http://www.clarkart.edu/exhibitions/fifty/content/50favorites_top10.cfm

West Point just up from bridge crossing the Hudson

http://www.usma.edu/events.asp

Lone Wolf
07-17-2006, 09:53
The Official Appalachian Trail is the one with the White-Blazes!!!


The first time, be an AT thru-hiker, not a "Blue-Blazer", Yellow-Blazer, or 2000 miler or LD hiker, pass all the white-blazes. Do the BlueBlazes on section trips or on a second trip. The only deviation from the White-blazes should be necessary go-arounds (blowdowns or washouts), usually flagged by the trail-clubs. One thing some hikers do will hitch a ride to town on a lower road only to hitch one back on the upper road, thus cutting several or more miles from the AT, this is just a fancy way to "Yellow-blaze", slackpacking is ok just not for me. Even though the AT route changes from year to year the "Official Appalachian Trail" is still the trail with the White-Blazes. The "BlueBlazer.com" site-name is available if anyones interested.
"THE RULES" according to Ridge.:rolleyes:

MOWGLI
07-17-2006, 10:23
Must Lick EVERY White Blaze. Or else I am a loser. :rolleyes:

Hike the hike that takes you where YOU want to go. When it is all said and done, the patch and certificate will pale in comparison to the memories and the friendships.

Plus - the best advice I ever received was from Nomad '98. The people behind you or ahead of you on the trail are as nice or nicer than the people you are hiking with at any given moment. In other words - don't kill yourself to keep up or catch up with any one group. Let it flow.

SGT Rock
07-17-2006, 10:27
Go wherever you want. It is your hike.

You may never get a second one to go back and do it the way you wanted to the first time because you were too busy worrying about a patch and a piece of paper. This ain't Ranger School or Eco Challenge. You cannot flunk the course.

Mountain Man
07-18-2006, 18:27
Must Lick EVERY White Blaze. Or else I am a loser. :rolleyes:

Hike the hike that takes you where YOU want to go. When it is all said and done, the patch and certificate will pale in comparison to the memories and the friendships.

Plus - the best advice I ever received was from Nomad '98. The people behind you or ahead of you on the trail are as nice or nicer than the people you are hiking with at any given moment. In other words - don't kill yourself to keep up or catch up with any one group. Let it flow.

Good advice. Yeah thats what I'm wanting out of my hike is meeting all the people I can along the way and seeing all of those places I've never seen. Although I plan and want to hike all the trail I think the memories of the people, the places and the things I get to do will mean more to me than a piece of paper and a patch when it's all said and done. I've got a lot of patches and certificates in a drawer at home but I don't think about or get them out much but I take the memories everywhere I go.