View Full Version : I have safer parking than on 19E,need details

geoffrey morris
01-30-2004, 01:45
Hello,If your plannig to hike the roans I have a safer place for you to park than on US19E.I have property extremely close to the trail with private access.If you would like details feel free to e mail me at [email protected] ([email protected]) All I ask is NO TRASH please,I deal with enough of it from the locals!!Hope to hear from you.

Geoffrey Morris

Moon Monster
01-30-2004, 02:40
This is a great offer!! Thanks much for it.

01-30-2004, 07:23
How bad is the situation near 19e in Tennessee?? I have heard that the locals hate hikers because the government claimed imminent domain and ceased the property from locals in order to secure the trail corridor. Is it really as bad as I have heard with locals stringing fish hooks from trees and tying mean dogs up near the trail or is all of this just the stuff of trail superstition and legend. Thanks....


Lone Wolf
01-30-2004, 07:35
That stuff happend 13 years ago. Even then it wasn't that bad. No problem now.

01-30-2004, 10:49
Is it really as bad as I have heard with locals stringing fish hooks from trees and tying mean dogs up near the trail or is all of this just the stuff of trail superstition and legend.

That is all trail legends these days, but it did happen a long time ago, though not to a high degree. Talk to Miss Janet if you want a more accurate description. Does kinda make you wonder when you hike through that section though doesn't it?? :-?

01-30-2004, 11:09
When I re-hiked Roan this past fall I parked my '95 Blazer overnight there with some concern. However, there was no problem and I was told there were no incidences of damage or theft at all this past summer. Having said that, there are warning signs and I've been told of problems in previous years.

What a great gesture to make Geoffery! Thanks so much and let's hope those that take advantage of your kindness have the good sense to respect your wishes.

01-30-2004, 12:17
Thank You!! That is very nice!! I just might take you up on that later this year. :)

geoffrey morris
01-30-2004, 14:27
:welcome HI everybody,let get something cleared up ,locals harassing hikers has happened ,but that was a long time ago.But there is still alot of hatred toward the trail and hikers.This is from the threats and tactics of the USFS in thier attempts to establish a right of way for the trail.I know first hand I have had to sell the government a scenic easement on some of my property.As far as vandalism on US19E it happens every year,feel lucky if it didn't happen to you.I have lived here for over ten years and pass by the parking area every day,I know what I'v seen,every season some poor hikers return to thier car to find all the windows busted out.This is a fact,look at the warnings posted by different hiking orgs.Check out what the state and local police have to say about it.
When I moved up here there were signs on the trail that warned about over-night hiking the section of the trail north of US19E to dennis cove.Why is this--?PEOPLE(hikers) WERE KILLED,RAPED,and ROBBED.Yes things have cooled down around here but make sure you all hike in groups.As far as the parking risk it if you want it matters not to me,I'm NOT charging a fee for parking at my place just trying to help.

Brushy Sage
01-30-2004, 16:28
In 2002 I was treated with courtesy and kindness by every local person in this area I did any business with. Even got a hitch into Elk Park from a beautiful woman who told me I looked clean; I told her I was respectable too, and she proceeded to tell me about her life. She dropped me off at the Times Square Motel and went on her way. Recently I wanted to contact the motel again, and couldn't get an answer, so finally called the postmaster. He told me the hotel property had been sold, and that renovations were underway. Does anybody know if the motel has reopened? Under what name? Is the restaurant still doing business? They had some of the best biscuits and gravy I have ever eaten.

Jack Tarlin
01-30-2004, 16:41
I agree with Wolf and the other folks who mentioned that most of these troubles took place many years ago, and were probably greatly exaggerated at the time.

Nevertheless, it's true that this is still a bad place to leave a car; there are vandalism and theft problems just about every year and the ATC and local hiking club do NOT recommend that cars be left there.

The nearby town and its residents, however, have always been friendly; hitch-hiking here is never a problem, tho backpackers are better off continuing on to Dennis Cove, staying at the wonderful Kincora Hostel, and re-supplying while there, before continuing to Damascus.

In any case, it's VERY good of you to offer this alternative parking spot for hikers; you might want to contact Laurie Potteiger at the ATC (www.atconf.org), and also the Tennessee Eastman Hiking Club, as well as Bob Peoples at Kincora, so that they know this option exists in case anyone asks them about parking options to 19E.

Miss Janet
01-30-2004, 19:55
From previous post
""When I moved up here there were signs on the trail that warned about over-night hiking the section of the trail north of US19E to dennis cove.Why is this--?PEOPLE(hikers) WERE KILLED,RAPED,and ROBBED.Yes things have cooled down around here but make sure you all hike in groups."""

I do not recall EVER hearing about hikers ever... KILLED, RAPED OR ROBBED in this area. Does anyone know of any documented incidents?

I have helped over 2000 estimated hikers do this section over the last few years and I have only had one incident that was at all uncomfortable... On Walnut mt Road I felt that some locals that we had passed may have followed us intentionally to see where we were going. They just drove past us and never actually spoke or anything. It may have been my imagination.
We used to stop by Vic's Trails End Market (it used to be .2 miles from the 19e crossing but is now closed). Many times we would stop by when I picked up hikers to just have a beer and talk to the locals. We heard lots of stories from some of the regulars about the trouble they had with "those trail people". They seemed more upset with the "Government" taking their land than they did with us as hikers. I have seen a number or cars vandalized at 19e but I have also seen cars damaged at LOTS of road crossings. I never recomend that anyone leave a car parked at a road. A hike that ends with the police, insurance claims, glass installers... is not remembered as a good hike. It will be good to have another safe parking option near 19e.

steve hiker
01-30-2004, 20:23
I do not recall EVER hearing about hikers ever... KILLED, RAPED OR ROBBED in this area. Does anyone know of any documented incidents?

In "Walking Home," Kelly Winters tells of being chased by three local men at a road crossing in the area. If she hadn't outrun them on the uphill, they probably would have raped her. I believe she hiked in 1995. May have been at 19E, I don't remember if she said specifically which road crossing.

Miss Janet
01-30-2004, 20:41
In a book about the AT by Jan Curan there was an incident about having a beer at the Pizza Hut in Erwin then being chased by red necks on motorcycles that had been in the Pizza Hut. The Erwin Pizza Hut has NEVER< EVER served BEER... I am not saying that this author was lying but he was mistaken about some of his facts. He did not say that he made a report of this incident to the police.
I don't know if Kelly Winters reported her incident to the authorities either. I am not saying that both incidents were not serious... I just feel that REALLY frightening, percieved threats to your life by hill billies and rednecks should be reported as soon as possible to the POLICE. What if these hoodlums were waiting there for a slower hiker than Ms Winters or Jan Curan? I feel that many retellings of situations tend to become the stuff of Urban Trail Legends. While they are fun around a campfire or they read well in an adventure book... they do not do well to help with better relationships between locals and hikers.

01-30-2004, 23:06
I agree with Janet, I have seen signs of vandals at almost every road I have crossed that has parking. Mostly glass on the ground, but I have seen. 3 (outside) rearview mirors at one crossing and an inside one at another crossing. & what seemd like a few hundred pounds of car window glass at each. So, if you have a choice like what is offered here, TAKE IT!

"And Hey, lets be careful out there!"


geoffrey morris
01-31-2004, 02:21
Hi all,regarding some of the criminal acts on the trail, one of the tales that i'v head from a couple of local red necks , involves a notorious local drug dealer.Apperantly the victims, a man and woman, weren't hikers but local drug users.And owed thier dealer money.These people use the trail and areas along the trail for thier own private partying spots.They feel safe from the law up on the trail.These people love to get drunk and beat the crap out of eachother for kicks.The woman was raped and the man was severely beaten.The dealer did go to prison for rape along with some others that were involved(about 20+years ago).This guy got out of prison not too long ago and then a short time later got busted for possession of a large amount of cocain and firearms while he was on the blue ridge parkway.The feds nailed his ass for 35 years. This community was very intimidated by this man and his buddies,but for the most part the're part of history now.There are still some groups of local wild asses,but thier usually to drunk or messed up on drugs like coke,crack and meth to care about the trail and hikers.They do steal but mostly from eachother and every now and then I hear about someone going to jail for assult and drug related issues.They are very clanish and pretty much stay within thier own circles.I wouldn't worry to much about hiking this area any more.But it would be a good idea to stay in groups especially for the lady hikers.Don't make yourself an easy target without a witness.These people are rough but not so stupid to do anything that would be seen by a group of people.

G. Morris

geoffrey morris
01-31-2004, 02:43
Specific areas we know that have experienced repeated problems are:

Grafton Notch (Maine)
Mt. Greylock area (Massachusetts)
Bake Oven Knob Rd. (Pennsylvania)
Weverton Rd. (Maryland)
Keys Gap/W.Va. 9 (West Virginia)
Va. 311 (Central Virginia)
Fox Creek/Va. 603 (Southwest Virginia) heavy-duty, 4WD trucks being targeted
U.S. 19E (Tennessee - between Elk Park, N.C. and Roan Mountain, Tenn.) repeated incidents here
Unicoi Gap/Ga. 75 (Georgia)


geoffrey morris
01-31-2004, 03:43
Vandalism status: Please note the number of times bear branch rd. and US19E are mentioned(8+),then contact me at [email protected] about a safer place to park.

The section of the A.T. maintained by TEHCC is crossed by many roads. Unfortunately, there have been a few incidences of vandalism involving vehicles left at road crossings. TEHCC does not recommend leaving vehicles overnight at remote mountain sites. When possible, you should leave your vehicle at a home or business, after asking permission from the owner. Or, you can arrange with a shuttling service (http://www.tehcc.org/shuttle.htm) for a ride to and/or from the A.T.

Specifically, the Club recommends that vehicles should NOT be left overnight at U.S. 19E, and at any road crossing between U.S. 19E and Bitter End (Bitter End is about eight miles trail north of U.S. 19E). This area is known locally as Buck Mountain.

If you are the victim of vandalism at any location along the TEHCC section of the A.T., you should notify local law-enforcement authorities and the U.S. Forest Service as quickly as possible. In addition, we would greatly appreciate it if you would inform the Appalachian Trail Conference and/or TEHCC.

Here are all the vandalism incidents that have been reported to TEHCC since October 1995: http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifOn October 14, 1995, several vehicles were burned at the intersection of U.S. 19E and Bear Branch Road.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifAn Elizabethton Star item, dated February 26, 1996, stated that three cars were broken into at U.S. 19E and Bear Branch Road. The windows were broken and the insides ransacked. ...still a problem area.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifThere have been at least three cars vandalized during June, 1996 at the trailhead parking lot at the intersection of U.S. 19E and Bear Branch Road, including the truck of a TEHCC member. Personal property was stolen from some of the vehicles.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifOn July 5, 1996, several vehicles were vandalized while parked at the intersection of U.S. 19E and Bear Branch Road. Personal property was stolen from the vehicles.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifThere were five cars vandalized at Carvers Gap sometime between the evening of August 1 and the morning of August 2, 1996. These cars had their tires slashed, windows broken, some theft, and one car had damage to the body. Judy Murray of the Southern Highlands Nature Conservancy and TEHCC discovered the vandalism around 9:00 AM; there were clothes strewn along the highway headed off the mountain into Tennessee (interestingly, Judy said the clothes were not damp as they might have been expected to be if they had been there long enough for the dew to accumulate). The cars were parked in the parking lot near the bathroom; there were no cars parked along the road through Carvers Gap that night. This incident has been reported to the Carter County Sheriff's office (Judy said that they conducted a thorough investigation and got some good fingerprints), the Forest Service, and ATC. Although there have been numerous incidents of vandalism this year at 19E, this is the first report we've had from Carvers Gap.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifThere was an additional occurrence of vandalism at Carvers Gap on December 9-10, 1996.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifOn July 1, 1997, the tires on a vehicle belonging to a TEHCC member were slashed, while parked at Isaacs Cemetery, off of Buck Mountain Road in Carter County.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifDuring the weekend of July 4-7, 1997, there were numerous acts of vandalism on vehicles left at the intersection of U.S. 19E and Bear Branch Road. Two vehicles were stolen, and all other vehicles left there were heavily vandalized. Personal property was stolen from the vehicles.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifA car left where the A.T. crosses U.S. 421 (Low Gap) was stolen between September 7-12, 1997. Do not leave vehicles parked at remote mountain sites. Instead, park vehicles at nearby homes or businesses after asking permission, or use a shuttle service (http://www.tehcc.org/shuttle.htm) or a guide service (http://www.tehcc.org/guided.htm).http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifHikers left a pickup truck (with cap) at the parking area at U.S. 19E on October 17, 1998 and returned on October 25 to find the rear window had been pried open and some items taken (nothing of value). The hikers reported that a college student from Boone had parked his Jeep there on October 24 and it was stolen. The Sheriff's Department found the burned vehicle elsewhere and notified the student's family of its whereabouts.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifThieves broke into two vehicles parked at the Hampton blue-blaze trailhead on U.S. 321 in Carter County during August 1999, according to an article in the Johnson City Press.. This is the trailhead for a blue-blazed trail that leads about one mile to the A.T. in Laurel Fork Gorge. The thieves took $1,800 in cash, a purse with several credit cards, two cassette players, and a 9-inch color television set from one vehicle, and a purse containing cash, keys, and personal papers from the second vehicle. **NOTE** - be sure to hide items that might attract thieves if you leave your vehicle overnight - put them in the trunk or under a seat, or cover them with a blanket.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifA vehicle left at the intersection of Bear Branch Road and U.S. 19E was burned during the early morning hours of September 30, 1999. Hikers left it there for several days and found that it had been completely burned upon their return. The Carter County Sheriff's Department and U.S. Forest Service investigated but could not identify the culprits. At least one other vehicle was vandalized. In a separate incident, a thru-hiker was struck by a vehicle while walking toward Elk Park along U.S. 19E to resupply. He suffered two broken legs and was treated at the hospital in Elizabethton.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifTEHCC member Steve Wilson said a vehicle was vandalized at the intersection of Bear Branch Road and U.S. 19E during March 2001. Vandalism at Carvers Gap was also reported.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifA vehicle left at the Hampton blue-blaze trailhead on U.S. 321 in Carter County was burglarized on July 1, 2001.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifA vehicle left at Indian Grave Gap was vandalized during the weekend of January 19-20, 2002.http://www.tehcc.org/_themes/nature/anabull1.gifA vehicle left in the Wilson Street parking lot in Damascus was vandalized between April 22 and May 2, 2002.sorry to say this most likely wont be the end of the vandalism,contact me for alternative parking.I have easy private access to trail and a much safer place to leave your car.
G. Morris

02-04-2004, 19:22
Great information. Many thanks. Sounds like we need to park a car up there with a $20 bill on the dashboard. Then hide a camera in the woods...


Jack Tarlin
02-04-2004, 20:26
Don't get me wrong----I think it's both important and very useful that knowledgable folks are reporting potential "trouble" spots for hikers and cars.

That being said, I want to stress to the new folks that they should NOT be alarmed and fearful over some of the more colorful posts here: The Trail is safer than any small town or college campus in America, and while it pays to use common sense and keep your wits about you while out on the Trail, this does not mean that you need to live in constant fear. Yes, there have been a dozen-odd violent deaths on or near the Trail since its creation......well, there are that many violent deaths in our nation's capitol every week, and this doesn't stop millions of folks from visiting there. What I mean, is hike smart, pay attention to where you are and who you're with; use common sense in picking campsites; when hitch-hiking; etc. But don't let these "horror stories" keep you from hiking; fact is you have a greater chance of being the victim of random crime or violence in your own workplace or home than you do on the Trail.

02-04-2004, 21:52
trail head vandalism is real

do not leave your car at

usfs 42 at springer
davenport gap
19e near roan

these areas are notorius for vandalism

07-14-2004, 08:09
Geoff was nice enough to let me leave a vehicle at his place while I was out doing some section-hiking. Not having to worry about the condition of your car when you return is a real blessing. As Geoff was dropping me off at Sams Gap to hike north, another section hiker was getting off the trail and Geoff offered to give him a ride. Many thanks to Geoff and others like him who are willing to invest the time/effort/facilities to help us with our section-hiking ..........

geoffrey morris
07-14-2004, 10:42
Hi springerfever, sorry to hear that you got sick during your hike. I guess you'll be returning to finish the section from beauty spot to my place. It sure was hot that week.There is road access to beauty spot and I'll drive you there when you return. Let me know when you'll be back.

As far as a chrismas tree this year, do you want me to pick it out and flag it?You can still walk the kids around looking for one. We start harvest around thankgiving(might be later this year due to limited numbers) but this might be too early for you all and your selection will be limited after harvest begins.Maybe you should pick it out when you return for your hike. You want a 8-9 ft. right? I'll flag several. As to the width of the tree, do you need narrow, medium, or fat? If you like to ski you might plan a trip around that time as well. I'll being seein' ya:)

10-11-2004, 12:48
Check with the fokks at Kincora Hostel regarding US19 E parking. Bob and his wife keep an eye out on this area. We went thru on a section hike last fall, and Bob told us that things had gotten better in the area but they still had a long way to go. The Elk Park relocation and the purchase of a couple of easements and properties has gotten the trail out of the worst areas, but there is still a lot of road crossings.

11-15-2004, 21:24
Remember when Lone Wolf and others told me that the nastiness against hikers near 19E was part of the past? Well, take a look at some of the last posts (#s 16 & 17) in this thread...

11-16-2004, 11:26
Remember when Lone Wolf and others told me that the nastiness against hikers near 19E was part of the past? Well, take a look at some of the last posts (#s 16 & 17) in this thread...

What Lone Wolf said was right. You're confusing vandalism on park cars with problems that a few thru-hikers had many years ago with hanging fish hooks and attack dogs along one particular section of trail. Those incidents are in books that prospective thru-hikers still read and have concerns with. Those concerns are, as Lone Wolf said "No problem now."

I hiked through that section alone and remember one roadcrossing where some joker had painted a 'chaulk outline' of a dead hiker on the pavement, complete with hiking poles. I should have stopped and taken a picture, but I chicken out and doubled-timed it up the trail because I had read about those incidents. I get quite a laugh out of it now.


11-16-2004, 11:42
I take it you think it is a coincidence that where the Trail crosses 19E the frequency of vandalism of cars parked there seems to be higher than at just about any other Trail/road crossing?

Lone Wolf
11-16-2004, 11:53
There's a helluva lot more traffic that goes by that trailhead than most other spots. Got nothing to do with coincidence.

11-16-2004, 12:02
Who would stop by a parking lot with vehicles in it in an area they didn't know, and start f'ing with the vehicles there? Surely fewer than locals who know how often LEOs come by, how long the owners of those cars tend to leave them unwatched for, etc. I still think that the high frequency of vandalism there has something to do with how the locals feel about the Trail and its hikers.

11-16-2004, 12:06

What I think is that vandalism on a hikers parked vehicle is different than assaults on hikers passing through.

I did an overnight stay plus I took a zero day at the Times Square Motel in 2000 when I did my thru-hike and had a positive experience with everyone I met during my time there. However, I wouldn't leave a vehicle there overnight at the US19E roadcrossing and I didn't when I section hiked there a few years ago... we asked one of the businesses about a mile or so up the road if we could leave it there. We did and when we got to the road I started walking and hitching. I got a hitch before I made it 100 yards.