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View Full Version : I would like advice from seasoned hikers...



Titanium Rat
10-15-2007, 21:43
Ok, let me start off with a little about myself. Im thirty, been hiking for 15 years (2 miles to 18 mile day hikes, weekend hikes only), avid kayaker, and love the mountains.

I would like some advide about my upcoming (Nov 1st) hike from Fontana dam to Newfoundland Gap. I know for a fact my body will do it, but need advice on some gear, H2O, and saftey.

With the bad drought in that area will it be ok to start my hike with 10 lbs of water (1 gallon and a quart)? Or should I take more, possibly 2 gallons?

With there being no rain how does that affect the bear situation,,,,are they going crazy mad hungry? With not so big of a suppy of berries and other yummy items for them to eat, will I have the words "EAT ME" tattooed in "bear language" on my forehead, and look like a pork chop walking around, or will I be ok? What is the best bear deterent,,,,an easily breakable bottle of ammonia, pepperspray, or my personal favorite safety net, a Colt.

What will the windchill factor (or total temp) be like up on thunder mountain ridge or at clingmans dome. a distant forcast and checking weather archives for that area it shows about 40-44 days and 20-28 @ nights. What about that wind though,, I have been told by some it could be -0- :eek: with the windchill??????

I have a kelty crestone tent i just bought off ebay pretty cheap, should help to keep me warm(ER),,,,,yes??

I havent bought a sleeping bag yet though,,,,I was thinking LIGHT WEIGHT, and maybe a 20 degree mummy bag(would like opinions), with some of that bubble wrap with plastic chrome foil stuff on both sides as my tent footprint and a sleeping pad(with both pieces its only like 10oz). what you think?

I will post my gear list on the correct forum to get opinions. But this stuff is the most important to me. Hopefully someone will have some constructive advice for me...thanks in advance!:D

Just a Hiker
10-15-2007, 21:59
removed post

SGT Rock
10-15-2007, 22:06
Ok, let me start off with a little about myself. Im thirty, been hiking for 15 years (2 miles to 18 mile day hikes, weekend hikes only), avid kayaker, and love the mountains.

I would like some advide about my upcoming (Nov 1st) hike from Fontana dam to Newfoundland Gap. I know for a fact my body will do it, but need advice on some gear, H2O, and saftey.
That section from about the Birches Campsite until Derrik Knob was dry as of the last time I checked. So you could wait until you got to the Birches to grab water if that is still right. When you call the reservation desk they usually have a current water report.


With the bad drought in that area will it be ok to start my hike with 10 lbs of water (1 gallon and a quart)? Or should I take more, possibly 2 gallons?

With there being no rain how does that affect the bear situation,,,,are they going crazy mad hungry? With not so big of a suppy of berries and other yummy items for them to eat, will I have the words "EAT ME" tattooed in "bear language" on my forehead, and look like a pork chop walking around, or will I be ok? What is the best bear deterent,,,,an easily breakable bottle of ammonia, pepperspray, or my personal favorite safety net, a Colt.
I would guess (cause I don't know this is a fact) that the bears are likely to be down lower where the water is and the tourists with food are than up high hoping for water and hiker food.


What will the windchill factor (or total temp) be like up on thunder mountain ridge or at clingmans dome. a distant forcast and checking weather archives for that area it shows about 40-44 days and 20-28 @ nights. What about that wind though,, I have been told by some it could be -0- :eek: with the windchill?????? It could be. I doubt it though.


I have a kelty crestone tent i just bought off ebay pretty cheap, should help to keep me warm(ER),,,,,yes??

I havent bought a sleeping bag yet though,,,,I was thinking LIGHT WEIGHT, and maybe a 20 degree mummy bag(would like opinions), with some of that bubble wrap with plastic chrome foil stuff on both sides as my tent footprint and a sleeping pad(with both pieces its only like 10oz). what you think?

I will post my gear list on the correct forum to get opinions. But this stuff is the most important to me. Hopefully someone will have some constructive advice for me...thanks in advance!:D
You will be a shelter rat for camps - they all have fireplaces in that section if I remember right.

Blissful
10-15-2007, 22:12
Section hikers must stay at the shelters, if memory serves me right. In fact, you need to reserve space. Leave the tent at home.

Titanium Rat
10-15-2007, 22:22
When you call the reservation desk they usually have a current water report.

What is the reservation desk? do I need a permit?
WOW!!!!!! good info thanks fellas:cool:

whats

Titanium Rat
10-15-2007, 22:22
When you call the reservation desk they usually have a current water report.

What is the reservation desk? do I need a permit?
WOW!!!!!! good info thanks fellas:cool:

whats a shelter rat?:o

Just a Hiker
10-15-2007, 22:27
removed post

Titanium Rat
10-15-2007, 22:27
What?

I HAVE TO stay at a shelter? That really defeats the purpose of my hike,,,,to clear my mind and have much needed relaxation and SOLITUDE! I want to hike in the remote mountains to get away from people not hand out with a bunch of them, (no offense to anyone).

Just a Hiker
10-15-2007, 22:28
removed post

Titanium Rat
10-15-2007, 22:36
edit............................

What?

I HAVE TO stay at a shelter? That really defeats the purpose of my hike,,,,to clear my mind and have much needed relaxation and SOLITUDE! I want to hike in the remote mountains to get away from people not (edit) HANG out with a bunch of them, (no offense to anyone).

Titanium Rat
10-15-2007, 22:50
Nope, I have my heart set on the fontana to NewFoundland hike,,,,,three days of me, solitude, beautiful views and the hungry loco bears!:D :banana

SGT Rock
10-15-2007, 22:59
Yes you have to have a reservation to stay at the shelter and have a permit with you. You can call ahead to make the reservation and they will give you a reservation number to put on your permit. You can get a permit form at the Fontana Dam visitor center and fill it out - make sure you have it with you.

The rules state you must stay in the shelter. That is unless you are a thru-hiker and the shelter is full - then the rules say a thru-hiker can tent within site of the shelter in that case.

I know you have your heart set on that section and I can empathize, but I would avoid it if you don't like shelters or a bunch of rules about hiking. As to solitude - maybe you won't get that. That is leaf season and you are likely to get some back country leaf peepers. The reservation folks should be able to tell you how many people you are going to see at the shelter each night.

Sly
10-15-2007, 23:22
Couldn't he just do the self-registration thing at Fontana?

Appalachian Tater
10-15-2007, 23:42
Couldn't he just do the self-registration thing at Fontana?


Only if he does not use shelters and only stays in campsites that don't require reservations.

This page has links to the rules and to reservation & permit info underneath the title "Backpacking" as well as whom to call for advice and information.

http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/backpacking.htm

Definitely call both groups listed and look at the maps and rules.

One possible out: what is their definition of a thru-hiker? Add that distance to each end.

Okay, the ALDHA Companion says that the park considers anyone hiking more than 50 miles from each end is exempt from reservations. That would add a week.

EAnderson
10-15-2007, 23:53
Here is the H2O report from the NPS website. The AT Spring Report is grim right now. There may be rain late this week, but the way things have been going, I wouldn't count on it.

Water Problems - No water available at the following areas:
• Water sources are dry on the Appalachian Trail from the Fontana Visitor Center to Derrick Knob—a distance of 23 miles.
• Backcountry Campsites 4, 5, 6, 7, 16, 26, 35, 42, 113
• Mollies Ridge Shelter
• Russell Field Shelter
• Spence Field Shelter
• Silers Bald
• Double Spring Gap
Please note: There is no drinking water available on the Appalachian Trail after leaving Fontana Visitor Center until Derrick Knob Shelter—a distance of 23 miles. Backpacking is not recommended on this route at this time due to lack of water. For additional information, please read the Appalachian Trail Spring Report (javascript:HandleLink('cpe_0_0','CPNEWWIN:NewWind ow^top=10,left=10,width=500,height=400,toolbar=1,l ocation=1,directories=0,status=1,menubar=1,scrollb ars=1,[email protected]___PAGEID=162423,/grsm/planyourvisit/upload/AT-Oct-07.pdf');).

Titanium Rat
10-16-2007, 00:40
http://www.appalachiantrail.org/site/c.jkLXJ8MQKtH/b.795277/k.B993/Permits_Fees_and_Regulations.htm

I have searched the net for where I can get this permit and register for a shelter(:mad:)

Went to the official gov parks site and it just gives a # to call. You fellas know if I can get one online form a different link?

Titanium Rat
10-16-2007, 00:51
Ok another question. How am I supposed to know if I can make it to the campsite/shelter in time for the reservation? Maybe I hike slow and am stuck between shelter when nightfall hits,,,,,,am I supposed to keep hiking in the dark, or can I crawl up into the woods and pitch a tent, to hold out till daylight. If I knew the terrain I could calculate, but going off the topo maps I have it is really hard to tell the exact terrain.

Or if I have 2/3 hours of daylight left,,,do I have to stay at that shelter/c-site until daybreak the next morning, seeing that i might not make it to the next one.

What if i feel like blast through the trail and pass my reserved shelter or campsite.

How many day should this hike take me, did Mt Leconte, alum caves trail in 10 hrs with TONS of playing and goofing off with the wife (she wanted to take a break every 30 mins), I am a medium paced hiker, with good endurance.

Appalachian Tater
10-16-2007, 00:55
You must call. Before you call, know your route and where you plan to stay. See my post above for links to the official site for information and a map showing various trails and the shelters and campsites.

When you call them, ask those questions. Remember that the purpose of the reservations system is to limit impact by making sure that people stay in shelters and designated campsites. The problem is there's no sheet at a shelter that says how many peopel will be staying there. Rangers and ridgerunners are scarce but there is a hefty fine for disobeying regs.

Consider taking a route that lets you stay in non-reserved campgrounds. There are tons of trails in the Smokies and the A.T. may not even be the "best".

Titanium Rat
10-16-2007, 01:16
Sorry to ask so many questions:( guys/gals

Yeah, after this hike i plan on asking the question "what is the most scenic, steep, rocky trail in this region".

For now its this section,,,,how long should this hike take a slow hiker? how about a fast hiker? 4 days is what was giving myself as a max, sound about right?

drdewrag
10-16-2007, 08:46
Just a note - hiking from Newfound Gap to Fontana is a much easier hike. If you are concerned about not making the shelters, going SOBO should help. Four days is plenty to hike this section - that'll give you 9-10 miles per day. Days are getting shorter though...

Stormennorm
10-16-2007, 08:54
Im a smoky mountain hiker almost every week. That time of year u might not even be able to get reservations now it might be to late. And not the place to go if you want to be by yourself. I have seen over 20 people at them shelter that time of year. I think the fine for camping at a non desinated area is up to 5,000 dollors.

SGT Rock
10-16-2007, 09:42
Couldn't he just do the self-registration thing at Fontana?
In a nutshell - no he cannot since he is not a thru-hiker. If he started 50 miles outside of the park and planned to go 50 miles past the park, then he would qualify and could self register. Otherwise he has to call and get reservations for shelters - and all shelters along the AT require a reservation (except for thru-hikers) and there is only one campsite - so he has to use sheltrers.

Flush2wice
10-16-2007, 11:24
Watch out for the mudsnakes. They live behind the shelters.

Marta
10-16-2007, 11:27
What?

I HAVE TO stay at a shelter? That really defeats the purpose of my hike,,,,to clear my mind and have much needed relaxation and SOLITUDE! I want to hike in the remote mountains to get away from people not hand out with a bunch of them, (no offense to anyone).

I wouldn't worry about the crowds in November. I hiked the Smokies as a section in Nov. 2005 (not Thanksgiving week) and was alone most of the time. Two of the nights I was alone in the shelters. The rest of the time there were only one or two other people. I didn't see any ridgerunners or rangers, either.

Titanium Rat
10-16-2007, 22:58
Watch out for the mudsnakes. They live behind the shelters.

Mudsnakes??? ummm i think i know what you are talking about but not real sure:-? . Do mudsnakes smell REAL BAD?

Flush2wice
10-16-2007, 23:25
Mudsnakes preferential habitat is the shady (back) side of AT shelters. They are especially prolific near the ones that:
#1 have no privies.
#2 are frequented by humans
The Smokies happen to meet both these qualifications and therefore are prime mudsnake habitat. Hikers encounter the most mudsnakes in the early spring right after the snow melt.

Flush2wice
10-16-2007, 23:28
If you happen to see a mudnake, most experts agree that you sould simply backtrack slowly until you are well away from said mudsnake. If you see one there is a good chance that there are others in the immediate vicinity.

Titanium Rat
10-16-2007, 23:40
(Laughing my arse off here), thats what i thought they were:D

you guys aren't right....LOL:banana

TwoForty
10-17-2007, 00:46
I would head to the Slickrock Wilderness if you are looking for solitude and freedom. The AT in the Smokies is not the place for either.