View Full Version : Truth Or Myth

02-19-2004, 22:18
The area around Highway 19 in North Carolina seems to have a reputation for mistreating hikers. What's truth and what's myth?

Lone Wolf
02-19-2004, 22:23
Any mistreatment happend 14 years ago when the ATC/USFS took the folks land for the trail. No problems now.

02-19-2004, 22:35
Any mistreatment happend 14 years ago when the ATC/USFS took the folks land for the trail. No problems now.

Thanks for the facts.

02-19-2004, 22:47
With the reroute, the likelihood of problems on the Trail itself are greatly reduced. But I still wouldn't park a vehicle overnight at 19E. Vandalism is still a too-common occurance.

Jack Tarlin
02-19-2004, 23:28
Wolf and Skyline are both right on the money.

02-20-2004, 08:16
Click on "search" above and type in "vandalism" then take a look at Morris's thread along with some others.

I was told there were no incidences of vandalism in 2003 when I parked there overnight in October.

Moon Monster
02-20-2004, 22:12
There are other threads here in the archives directly answering this.

I had a bad experience here in 2003. Several profanities yelled from windows (like 3 or 4 cars). Several more middle fingers (like 2 or 3 cars). One pick-up swerved at us and lost control and spun out. It tried to spray us with the plowed snow a second time. No one would pick us up and we walked for two miles in the snow. First phone we came to had its cord cut. Second phone we came to (in a restaurant), we were not allowed to use. A stray dog charged us. Also tried to hitch on 19E in Hampton twice on the next day and had to wait about an hour and a half combined for the two rides.

I would bet cursing and middle fingers are still widespread towards hitch-hikers here. My companions and I were no different looking than any other group of three male hikers. It was snowing for what it's worth.

Also, the trail in Tennessee (not just around 19E) has several zones that are littered with lots of trash. I think that is vandalsim. But, it's not violent.

02-21-2004, 12:44
I heard the stories about the 19E area well in advance of my hike in 2003. When I finally saw it for myself what struck me was all the trash and crap laying on the ground near the road crossing and along the trail. This wasn't trash from thru-hikers either. It appears to be common dumping ground for people who live in the area. That alone made me concerned about the general safety of the area.

I myslef just hiked across the road and kept on going and I personally know of no one who had a problem there in 2003. However, as already pointed out, I would have a concern about doing an overnight near 19E or any other road crossing along the trail. The likelihood of having an undesirable encounter is bound to be higher there than it is is out in the woods.

Just my .02

02-26-2004, 01:18
I too made notes in my journal after some of the road crossings in this area. It seemed that people had a contest as to who could throw the most trash along the road. Losing 10 ft of trail corridor for a low impact activity to eminent domain is nothing compared to what private, for profit corporations inflict when they take a 150 foot corridor for a 345kv transmission line.

02-26-2004, 10:29
I live about 30 min. from the 19E intersection with the AT. I've heard the concerns about the area, paticularly parking cars at the road crossing, but have ignored them. This probably isn't the smartest thing to do, but as of yet I have had no problems. I've left a vehicle there several times for a total of 6 or 7 nights, and many more days. I'm not recommending you park a car there without fear of vandalism, i'm just giving my experience. As far as the trail through the are, I've had no problems so far. If there was going to be a problem, I would say it would happen on the north side of 19, as this is where the trail crosses several back roads and goes near some residential areas. But anyhow, just telling what I know. Good Hiking. Oh by the way. If you want to eat somewhere when you cross 19E I suggest the "Country House Restaraunt" in Elk Park. It doesn't look like much, but the food is very good and inexpensive. Try the bourbon ribeye. ;-)

02-26-2004, 11:31
Fishing lines across the trail with hooks may not exist anymore, but I pushed through that area as fast as possible. I had not heard any of the facts about the locals until I made it in one piece to Kincora, but I did not feel particularly comfortable. Just like Moon Monster, I felt that people swerved their cars towards me. There was a ton of trash, as well as the burned out hull of a bus or truck blocking the trail at one point near a road crossing. I hear that the folks are warming up, but hikers should be smart. Don't act like a jerk anywhere, especially not in that stretch.

02-26-2004, 15:56
[It seemed that people had a contest as to who could throw the most trash along the road. Losing 10 ft of trail corridor for a low impact activity to eminent domain is nothing compared to what private, for profit corporations inflict when they take a 150 foot corridor for a 345kv transmission line.[/QUOTE]

I won't defend the poor behavior by locals upset by land grabs but I know where the feeling comes from having been subjected to the "sign or we'll see you in court" tactics of my local power company when they decided my land was in the public interest...

Too many hikers do their best to belittle hicks, hillbillies, ______ you fill in the blank. Many have no clue as to the local history or the signifigance of land ownership and the sense of place most mountain natives have. Traditionally in the southern Appalachians neighbors and guests were allowed free access to undeveloped land provided it was treated respectfully and the owner or his/her family was also treated with dignity. Most mountain people are pretty independent and do not like the government or any other entity telling them what to do. (Sounds like a lot of hikers I know). I believe most hikers would be pretty upset with someone helping themselves to gear out of our pack without our permission, even if we could spare it. It's the principal of the thing, 10 feet or 150 feet its stolen land, and the fact most people feel like they have no way to fight back.
We all need to make a special effort to turn the other cheek when offended, act with dignity, and hold the hiking community to reasonable behavior when we enter towns or encounter local folks in the woods, at the road, etc.

02-26-2004, 16:18
The area around Highway 19 in North Carolina seems to have a reputation for mistreating hikers. What's truth and what's myth?

### I can tell you this is not a recent phenomenon ("recent" being "in the last decade or so"). The area had precisely the same rep in 1979 (sans fishhooks-at-eye-level), and in the early 80s, ATC replaced the register warnings in the leantos with engraved plaques nailed in place.

I can't relay knowledge of any others' experience, but can tell you that I was run off the road in '79. I was so POed I scrambled back up to the road and violently gave the digit to the driver, whose face I could clearly see in the mirror. The next day, as I was telling another hiker, I suddenly paused -- hearing the whole tale as if told third person -- and thought "How stupid was *that*???"

Anywho, animosity in this area has a generation's head start, at least.

02-26-2004, 19:53
I hiked in this area a few years ago and, well it was interesting. The night before we got to 19E it had rained like crazy and my friend and myself, and all of our gear, were soaked to the bone. When we got to the road we started trying to hitch into Elk Park, no luck, so we walked all the way to the Times Square Inn (I think that's the name).

When I walked up to the motel office I found the door was locked, but a knock on the door produced the person I think owned the establishment. He was in his 60's or early 70's and greeted me at the door wearing nothing but his underwear. Not a pleasant site. Anyway he got dressed, took our money and gave us the key to a room. The room was small, cramped, had no airconditioning, but it was dry.

We hadn't noticed a laudry on the walk to the motel so we washed our clothes in the tub and sink and then stung up a line all around the room to hang our clothes on and took the doors off the shower so we could hang our sleeping bags there.

Not the best motel I have stayed in, but the restaurant in front of it was quite good, lots of food at a reasonable price, friendly service, and it seemed pretty popular with the locals.

The next morning the motel owner told us one of his employees could give us a ride back to the trail, but this employee never showed up. So we started walking back to the AT. We didn't expect to have much luck, but for the first mile or so we would stick our thumbs out at passing cars hoping we wouldn't have to make that long of a road walk. Of course no one stopped, then again no one swerved to hit us or screamed vulgarities at us either.

We gave up on getting a ride and just kept walking, but about a 1/2 a mile from the trail a mini van pulled over and the nice, gay, rap loving, couple inside offered us a ride. Maybe it was my kilt?

We had a pleasnt, but short, conversation and were dropped off at the trail after a very briefe ride. So I wouldn't say that I felt in danger, or threatened at any time while on or near 19E. In fact (with the exception of the road walk) it was a pretty entertaining stop.

02-26-2004, 20:11
I will second the comments about all the trash in the 19E area. We didn't go into Roan Mountain or Elk Park in 2003. Just pushed on through. However, in 2001 we stayed at Apple House Shelter and then hitched into Roan Mountain for breakfast. 19E is a tough hitch as there really isn't a good spot to stop and the traffic is moving fast. Still, we got a ride in about 15 minutes with a nice couple. They dropped us off in town and we had a great breakfast. All the locals were very nice to us. Made a couple of phone calls and then went back out to the road to hitch. Got picked up in less than 5 minutes by an older gentleman that went out of his way to drop us off at the trailhead.

I too had heard all the horror stories about 19E, Roan Mountain and Elk Park. Guess things aren't always as they might appear.

Brushy Sage
02-26-2004, 20:39
In 2002 I got a hitch into Elk Park right away, with an attractive young woman in a sleek car, who commented that I looked clean; I told her I was also respectable, and she told me a lot about her life, but the ride was so short (3-mi) that she couldn't tell me everything. She dropped me in front of the Times Square Motel. The motel, according to the Elk Park postmaster, was sold, and closed for remodeling. I don't know whether or not it has reopened, or under what name. BTW, 19-E is scheduled for highway upgrading, so there might be some heavy equipment at the crossing -- again, I don't know what the exact schedule is on this (read about it in the newspaper). My experience was that ALL the local people were very kind.

geoffrey morris
04-25-2004, 00:08
:welcome Hi everybody, Just wanted to say again that I have a place to park less than a quarter mile from the trail head at US19E with private access to the trail.Feel free to E mail me at dremamorris@earthlink.net for more info(a map).Or call me at 1-423-772-3425 anytime.Hope to hear from you all.

04-25-2004, 10:40
I'll never forget my ride into Roan Mountain on my 1993 hike. A drunk hillbilly type of guy pulled over but I didn't realize he was drunk until we were going down the road and he grabbed the beer out of the back. He swerved the whole way down, kept trying to convince me to "go to the river with him and drink some beer." Much to my joy he got me to the place Jersey John used to run w/o wrecking. Jersey John was a pretty big guy with tattoos all up and down his arms. Much to my displeasure my driver would not let me just leave his car, but had to escort me into the motel lobby. When he saw Jersey John he slid right up next to him and literally started stroking/patting John's tattoos. I thought I was about to see someone get their head knocked off. John looked at him and rather sternly told him to step away and not to touch him....


Kozmic Zian
04-25-2004, 11:17
Yea......US19E. What a great section of Trail in both directions. I'd hike up there anytime. KZ@:cool:

04-25-2004, 15:53
The area around Highway 19 in North Carolina seems to have a reputation for mistreating hikers. What's truth and what's myth?

"Model T" even talks about a scary moment or two around Hwy 19 area of NC in his book ("Walkin' on the Happy Side of Misery (http://www.ModelT.net)")...but it's long since past!

Like L.W. said....the locals were pissed the FEDS took their land...but have, for the most part, gotten over it.

geoffrey morris
04-26-2004, 08:19
Hi all, hope all is well.I just wanted to say a few things about the area I live in(above Roan mnt. town) First ,for the most part the local people are very nice and will help hikers. I give hikers rides into town on a regular basis.However there are elements of the local population that are always looking for someone to mess with.Hell these red necks get thier kicks by getting drunk and beating the **** of eachother,so if they look like red necks they could be trouble. Secondly,these dumb asses only have to hear about some story involving the USFS,the trail and hikers to think the government is stealing thier land(land they don't even own or have anything to do with). This is not the case,I myself have had to sell an easement to the USFS.It took the USFS awhile to get the details hammered out (7 years)and they were ******** in thier approch toward us but when it was all said and done it wasn't a bad deal.We still own the land and can do most what ever we would like with it with a few exceptions and recieved about 80% of the value of the property for the easement.So in conclusion I think it's stupidity(the assumption of some wrong doing) that leads to bad attitudes towards the trail.The crazy thing is the same people that hate the trail and hikers are the types that trash thier own land with junk and garbage.No wonder the USFS wants the land.