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View Full Version : Hike report: Lake Watuga to Damascus



joec
08-13-2007, 10:50
Just got back from this 35 mile hike. Water supply was ok. This is a great hike to take wives on as it is a ridgeline hike and the breezes were always blowing, also the climbs are not bad. I never got to hot and the temps last week were near records. There apparently is high bear activity near Double Springs shelter as I saw one and had a report of several more around that area. Some new things on this hike that I thought I would report on. The figure 9 rope tighteners were great and made the tarp set up very fast. The slap strap system for my hammock was so-so. I liked the speed that it gave me but after 4 nites the stretch was extreme. I settled so far down each nite that I am sure I would have gotten wet if any hard rain had fallen. I need to keep working on getting that system to work for me. I also took pre-moistened wipes with me and it was work the little extra weight to keep minimally clean. I left the stove home this time and that was great for me. No fuss with trying to cook each nite and that make the hike more enjoyable. My water filter clogged up after just having replaced the filter. I also tried trail runners for the first time after using LL Bean Cresta Hikers for years. My feet hurt badly after 8 miles each day. I think I will take the extra weight of heavier boots for the support they give. All in all a great hike.

Pedaling Fool
08-13-2007, 11:03
I went through that section in May of 2006 and 2007. The water source at Iron Mountain Shelter was great in 2006, but nearly dried up this year. Do you remember the status of it during your hike?

joec
08-13-2007, 11:29
I did not stay at the shelters until Abingdon Gap Shelter so I did not use the water sources that were on the blue blazed trails at each shelter. The water I used were the ones listed in the trail guides that crossed the trail. All were minimal and in the first one, just south of Vandeventer shelter, I had to shoo away the crawfish that had collected in a small remaining pool.

unl1988
08-13-2007, 11:49
Joe C

I did the section right before that - Roan MTN to Kincora (Lake Watagua), my water filter clogged up pretty good too. Interesting that you had the same sort of problem. My filter was relatively new and it got progressively harder to pump water through it on day two. Hmmmm . . . .

For the record, didn't have any problems finding water at any of the shelters on that section, and all of the streams and springs that were noted in the Hiker's Guide had water at them.

UNL

Kerosene
08-13-2007, 21:28
Before you toss the trail runners, try putting in a pair of heat-molded orthotics (available at dedicated running stores). My feet used to be toast after 12 miles, but now they last for 20+.

Tennessee Viking
08-13-2007, 23:42
I day hiked from TN91 to Double Springs. When I crossed the campsite before the shelter, I heard something large in the woods.

Recent sectioners and hiker groups need see a bear on trail around Abingdon Gap, and another one around Vandeventer

Crazy Larry #1
08-14-2007, 07:35
I did not stay at the shelters until Abingdon Gap Shelter so I did not use the water sources that were on the blue blazed trails at each shelter. The water I used were the ones listed in the trail guides that crossed the trail. All were minimal and in the first one, just south of Vandeventer shelter, I had to shoo away the crawfish that had collected in a small remaining pool.
Did you run into Connan and his beautiful wife Hannah by any chance?They were hiking south.........

joec
08-14-2007, 07:49
The bear I saw was looking at me as I glanced up from my hammock and he was at the edge of the meadow just past Hwy 91. I clapped my hands 3 times and he took off. It was about 30 minutes before dark. It was a restless next couple of hours. About the trail runners, I put in SuperFeet but that was not the answer. I just got some heat molded inserts but they did not get here in time to make the trip. I could feel the rocks under my feet and just think that the trail runners, for me, should be semi-retired, as I have foot pain after walking the golf course. I just had never had it before using my heavy boots from LL Bean. Last year I was doing 15 miles per day without any pain and this year it was 10 miles per day and hurting badly after 8 miles.

ImkerVS
08-14-2007, 22:15
Wautauga Lake to Damascus I'm fairly sure is 43 miles, not 35.
Unless you started at Watauga Dam.

By the way anyone know how the water is at the road 421 that's halfway between Double Gap and Abingdon Gap shelter?

Pedaling Fool
08-14-2007, 22:46
By the way anyone know how the water is at the road 421 that's halfway between Double Gap and Abingdon Gap shelter?
If you're talking about US421 (Low Gap), I passed through there on 17 May this year. The spring was excellent.

joec
08-15-2007, 07:52
I started at Watuga Dam Road. I did three 10 miles days and the first day I did not start until mid afternoon and only did 5 miles.

DiamondDoug
08-15-2007, 12:37
There is a lot of bear activity all over the south this year. We had a really late freeze Easter weekend in April and a lot of plants that had started coming out got frozen. Lots of fruit plants especially. For instance, all the tulip poplars had no flowers (bad for beekeepers).

Result has been a lot of bear activity in the region as there isn't the normal food supply this year.

joec
08-15-2007, 13:19
I walked up on a local fellow that had turned off of Hwy 421 to "relieve himself" behind his truck. After saying hello, he asked me did I see any wildlife as I was walking. I told him about the bear and he replied that there was "alot of bears around Double Springs Shelter". He was real interested in if I had seen any evidence of acorns on the trail and related it to the freeze last spring.

D'Artagnan
08-15-2007, 14:57
You could have told him you hadn't seen any acorns on the trail but had just seen two nuts. :eek: (I'm sorry -- I just couldn't resist.)

Crazy Larry #1
08-15-2007, 15:58
I walked up on a local fellow that had turned off of Hwy 421 to "relieve himself" behind his truck. After saying hello, he asked me did I see any wildlife as I was walking. I told him about the bear and he replied that there was "alot of bears around Double Springs Shelter". He was real interested in if I had seen any evidence of acorns on the trail and related it to the freeze last spring.
joec, i will ask again. did you happen to run into a married couple who were hiking south about the time to were heading this way by the name of Conan and Hannah?

joec
08-15-2007, 18:17
No on the married couple. I had two groups of older scouts trying to complete a merit badge requirement just behind me. Heading south I ran into a fellow that was in serious need of a bath and a couple of fellows and a dog.