View Full Version : Hiking Alone...

07-09-2003, 11:44

I am intending to do a 3-4 day forty mile section hike from Indian Grave Gap northbound to the US19E trailhead at the end of the month. A strong possibilty exists that my planned hiking partner may suddenly have to back out.

I have no experience hiking the AT, but have been getting myself in shape for 6 months (down 30 pounds to 5'-10 180), have gone on several local hikes in the 6-8 mile range with a loaded pack and have spent countless hours researching and preparing for this trip. I also run 3 miles 3 times a week and hit the gym twice a week.

I am well equipped but inexperienced in backpack camping in general.

Here's the question. Would you consider it unwise for me to attempt a trip of this magnitude, in this area alone? :-?

07-09-2003, 12:04
I have Hiked all of Georgia trail at least once, that is to say, I started out by myself, but usually always ended up camping with others and ending up hiking with others.

Only way to get experinece is to do it. This time of year will be very hot, make sure you have at least a 2 liter (preferably in my opinion) bladder like the playtpus or camel back with feeder hose. Having easy access to water makes a BIG difference (as opposed to having a water bottle in a pocket for instance)

As with most of the Georgia section, you have some very steep climbs and very steep descents, mixed in with a few relatively easy sections, mostly I would say the Georgia section would probably be considered mostly moderate, based on my on physical exertion.

Might be helpful to let folks give you feedback on what your pack weight is and what you are taking, there are always sound ways to reduce pack weight.

Good luck, get into a groove and take time to enjoy the views, that is, don't make it a speed race unless that is your goal.

Lone Wolf
07-09-2003, 12:08
Naw. You should be fine. There's plenty of water and shelters in that section. There should be other hikers around too. Take the first day real slow, lots of breaks with plenty of water to drink. It WILL be hot. Heck I might join you if you post the exact day you're leaving towards the end of the month. I live in Damascus so it ain't far away. I need to get my fat ass ready for the Long Trail in August.

07-09-2003, 12:11
Thanks Penscal, this is actually in the Tenn/NC area , crossing Roan mountain about halfway through. I do have a gear list posted in the gear section of this forum, I need to update it with suggestions Ive gotten though.

My current plan is to shuttle out of Erwin Tennesee on the morning of Saturday July 26th and I have allowed up to 4 days to finish.

07-09-2003, 12:31
Try to drop that pack weight. Otherwise you will have a lot of fun doing this alone. Sometimes its easier, 'cause you aren't afraid to look stupid trying to do something you have never tried before.

Go for it!

Gravity Man

07-09-2003, 13:29
Guess there are alot of places named the same on the AT there is an Indian Grave Gap near Tray Mt. in Georgia (see page 128 of the APTG North Carolina-Georgia 11th edition). If you ever consider doing this section it is very nice (but with a few stiff climbs).

Looking at your gear list, I would drop duplication of your clothing with exception to keep 1 emergency pair of shirt/socks (if you get wet).

Your food strategy is almost similar to what I do, except, my experience is not to go for the two serving deal. (AlpineAire Foods have great breakfast combos - this is where I DO go for the two servings). You will probably get some comments on how expensive freeze dried food is, I can afford it, plus I like the fact that I don't have to dirty up a pot, and ease of preparation is nice.

Suggestions on food, I never could eat all of the two Mt House servings and regreted the extra weight, also suggest adding more carbohydrate snacks to munch on while hiking, don't recall seeing much snackeroos on your list. I also find Ramman noodles great for the weight, salt and carbs.

You and I are similar in the way we train, was down to 194 from 204 before last trip and we are same height, did the gym thing 6 days a week, (6 weeks prior to trip) alternating workouts from legs and upper body, was ultimately able to press 194 lb of 3 sets with legs before trip. Don't do running deal though, lungs have never been able to handle it. (I'm now 48)

Please let me know how your MSR stove works out. I use a coleman peak 1, which is heavy, but very, very reliable and sturdy, always lites for me and can burn up to two hours on full max, will be buying a Cannon G3 digital camaera, and will need to look to ways to cut weight, first thing i will be looking at is the stove.

Again - have fun.

07-09-2003, 16:09
If you never backpacked before I would say don't try this trip alone.

If you have backpacked once or twice and you have some car camping experience and you have done your research and feel like you are ready, I say go for it.

If you can't decide, find a place to car camp with some good hiking trails nearby for day hiking and enjoy the outdoors in a more controlled manner. You can even pretend to backpack, by loading up everything you plan to take in your pack.

Lone Wolf
07-09-2003, 16:25
Yankee, don't let anyone dissuade you from hiking alone. The section you'll be hiking is hardly wilderness. There's lots of roads to bail on if you have to. Countless folks have thru-hiked with NO backpacking experience. Keep the pack weight down, eat and drink plenty and you'll be fine.

07-09-2003, 20:15
I agree totally with Lone Wolf. I'm from this area also and believe you'll be fine. I would be cautious of the tempature changes that
could happen when you go over Roan Mnt and the Humps.
Have a great trip

07-09-2003, 20:58
When I hit the AT alone in 2000, I had only ever done a few day hikes with a small day pack. As one might expect I was a little aprehensive when starting out but I figured if others could hike long distances with a heavy pack then so could I. It's amazing how quickly one learns on the job so to speak, as reading all of the books and following all of the trail forums certainly provides a wealth of great information but nothing teaches you as quickly or as well as getting out and doing it yourself.

As for hiking alone it's a great experience as it gives you time to savour peace and solitude and observe the animals and birds much better than you would if you have someone tracking alongside you.

If you stay at the shelters overnight there is usually someone to talk to if you want company.

07-09-2003, 22:56
I would emphasize the above statement by Lone Wolf 1 about staying hydrated. Don't let yourself get behind in this regard.

Make sure that you are aware of the symptoms of dehydration, heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Hypothermia is a good one to know too, though I doubt you'll have to worry about that this time.

My post is really just to place emphasis on what has already been stated: DRINK A LOT, GO SLOW, DRINK, REST, DRINK, DRINK.

I think there is wisdom in all posters comments. TedB's cautious stance might be well heeded. On the other hand, wait on others and you may never go.

I guess my .02 is don't go unless you are really aware of the early signs of heat related health issues that could put you in a real bind. If you are aware it is likely that these will never be a problem for you.

I'm starting to sound like my mom!

07-10-2003, 00:38
Never ask a guy named Lone Wolf if you should go hiking by yourself. :)

I have to admit I think you'll do just fine, but you better decide that for yourself.

07-10-2003, 07:35
I beleive I am well prepared from a hydration standpoint, I will have a 2L hydration bladder, plus at least one 1L nalgene on board. Considering that a large portion of this hike is above 5000 feet, can I still expect to have excessive heat to deal with?

07-21-2003, 23:00
Yankee, have you done this section yet? if so hike report please...and this is my backyard....I have no fear at all hiking this section, in fact have done the Roan climb 3 times alone....as others mentioned you will see too many people in this area, the popularity keeps growing and growing.

07-21-2003, 23:35
Don't worry too much about it; I agree with LW-lots of people and places to bail.

You may be cursing on the climb up Roan. Allow plenty of time for it. If it's possible consider staying at the Overmountain Shelter.

Be sure to carry some sort of raingear, even if it is only a large trashbag. Seen some hikers who saved weight this way and regretted it. These aren't the Whites, but conditions can get at least uncomfortable.

07-22-2003, 07:37
Actually, my trip starts on Sunday. My wife will be coming with me, shes been doing all my training hikes with me (slack) but we threw a pack on her this weekend and did 8 miles together in the national forest near here last weekend.

I think what we are going to try to do is put in at Hughes Gap and do the climb to Roan High Mountain Shelter on the first day, difficult hike, but relatively short, and we'll have all day to do it.

Second day hike down to Overmountain shelter, then out to US19E on our third day.

My other option is to go in at Iron Mountain Gap and hike south towards Erwin, stopping at Beauty Gap, and then a second night at the Cherry shelter, which seems like an easier hike, but possibly not as scenic.

If bad weather is possible, we will likely do the second hike so as not to get caught out on the balds.

Any idea what weather I could expect on top of Roan this time of year at night?

Weather reports seem to indicate that its supposed to be cooler than normal over this time period, which should help.

I just cant decide :-?

Also Simva, I may be looking for a shuttle , I have talked briefly with a gentlemen that runs a store near the 19E trailhead, who says I can park there, I would appreciate any suggestions you might have for parking and or shuttles.

If we go sobo, I'll likely stay at Janets on Saturday, leave a car there, and hike back to it.

07-22-2003, 11:26
I may be in the that area this weekend ,also. I was waiting for confirmaton for a week trip to Hawaii with my neighbor( been waiting since mid June) but no news yet. Plan B was to take my step-son on a 3-4 day hike. But, since my divorce is not final, I have decided to eliminate any future potential problems and wait till after the divorce to do so. So here I sit with a wks vacation with no plans and was thinking screw it, I'll just take off to the hills for some soul rejuvinaton and possible hiking.If your partner can't go, drop me an e-mail. I might could meet you. Ive done all of GA,NC,Tn in section hikes. Some twice, but quite a few years back.

Lone Wolf
07-22-2003, 11:35
ge>me>ak if you feel like driving to Damascus I could shuttle you north to hike back to town or you could hike north out of town and I'd pick you up wherever. Really nice hiking around here.

07-22-2003, 11:50
That might just would work out. There is a piece of property for sale in Kinnarock that I would like to see. 55 acres for $60,000, with 20- 25 buildable acres. I,ve seen pictures of it taken from White? Mtn but would like to possibly see it first hand. Curious, what does property go for up there(just a general guesstimation).

Lone Wolf
07-22-2003, 11:58
Whitetop Mtn. The AT goes right over it. Wide open views. 60 grand for 55 acres is damn good. Prices are starting to skyrocket around here. Just let me know when and if you'll be in the area. Free shuttles of course. Or for a cold beer.

07-22-2003, 12:29
The map given to me showed Iron Mtn Trail less than 1 mile north of the back of the property, just off road 603. There was some kind of campground between the property and trail. Owning some property that close to the AT makes my mind go into overtime.
I just may take you up on that offer. How about a FEW cold ones instead of "A" cold one.
Thanks for the offer and I will git back with you. Would a Monday drop off work for you schedule?

Lone Wolf
07-22-2003, 12:44
I'm happily unemployed hiker trash so my schedule is wide open. Monday and a few cold lagers will be fine.

07-22-2003, 23:23
Good luck Yankee, wish I was going to be in town but we leave for Grand Teton and Yellowstone Thurs. a.m.....but your plan sounds fine...and do be prepared for he weather and note my recent trip report from Iron Mtn. to Carvers-still cant believe the Scout troop standing there in cotton and shivering! Also, just finished a book on the history/fauna/etc.etc.etc. of Roan Mountain..it was in contention at one time to be a National Park but too much develpement had encroached and it didnt meet the 500sq.miles needed at the time. The mountain is a fascination one with far more than the AT, but alas the AT is the way so many of us get our glimpses of mountains. The book made me wish I could go back in time to when the Cloudland Hotel was in full swing and some of the big names like John Muir were staying over......so def. find the foundation of the hotel when you get on top....also again on the climb from Hughes Gap...enjoy the cool and dont fear the elavation gain. I took the oldest daughter up it a couple of weeks ago to see if she was ready for our Grand Teton hike...you will have no problems if you keep downing the H2O and set a nice slow pace. The shelter on top has always been spooky to me and I have tented beside it in the past-you be the judge, but the setting is so 'boreal' !!!

Big Guy
07-23-2003, 21:44
I love hiking alone. On This section you won't be alone. I have hiked sections on weekdays and still met other hikers and campers. I agree with the hydration statement. Drink often. It is very easy to get in a mode of treking on and losing a lot of fluids and not realize it. It will be hot and humid which adds to fluid loss. The hills are beatuiful. Enjoy the scenery and the peace and don't worry about the miles. They will take care of themselves. The only other advise be sure you know how to set up your tent and use your other gear and you should have little problems. Be sure to have water purification with you. Finding water should not be a problem with all the rain we have had. Part of the enjoyment is overcoming the little problems. Hope you have a great hike and look forward to a trip report. Wish I could be hiking with you but my next outing is at least a month away. Best wishes.

07-24-2003, 21:58
Dont do it man, the space people will get you!

Blue Jay
07-25-2003, 07:20
I agree with Virginian. Read the thread about the giant toxic plant. Even guns won't stop that.

07-25-2003, 11:42
I do most of my hiking solo...cept when I have ny son smokymtnred AKA PACK ANIMAL with me....

however ..one other warning about hikng alone...some if not all of the AT shelters have HAINTS and they come out to spook you more when noone else is spending the night in the shelter...this is esp. true down south hern and during the sinter months when the nights are LOONNG and DARK.. why the NPS even had the b1tch springs gap shelter torn down to fight the haints ( which by the way have been living in the southern appalchains for generations ask any oldtime mountianeer for a haint story!)