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View Full Version : Advice with a section hike, where,gear,etc?



philsamhikers
04-19-2004, 16:39
My son and myself would like to take a 7-10 day hike through a section of the App Trail. Maybe West Virginia, Pa? We're from western Pa, north of Pittsburgh. Heard the Pa part of the AT isn't that great, wondering if anyone could give us advice about where to start. First time on the AT. Not novice to camping but beginner to AT. Thanks to Kozmic Zian for pointing us to whiteblaze.net. We'll be trying this in July this year so since we're rookies I'm not too proud to say I'd like all the advice I can get; gear, food etc.
Thanks!!

SGT Rock
04-19-2004, 17:58
I haven't hiked that part of the AT, but as to gear, it would help to know if you have any gear at all before pointing you to what to go get. That can be a very expensive or cheap question depending on what you want to carry and how much you plan to buy.

jamarshall
04-19-2004, 19:47
I'm from central PA (originally from Ellwood City). My first AT hike was Caledonia State Park to Harper's Ferry. It was also my first solo backpacking trip. There were plenty of shelters, state parks, etc. so it wasn't wilderness, but it wasn't a cake walk either. It was recommended to me as a good starter trip and I agree. I took a week to do it. If you want to spend more time on the trail, just start a bit further north or south. I went in April, so had no trouble finding room in the shelters. No idea what July will be like. Go for it and have fun!

TedB
04-19-2004, 22:41
There are many different gear philosophies. Some want the best money can buy and want to look like the cheery models you see in backpacker magazine. Others just want to hike, and could care less what they look like. Some go as cheap as possible. Some are big on military surplus gear. Some take the do it yourself approach and make as much gear as they can. Some travel heavy (50+ pounds), some travel light (25- pounds), some travel in between. Most everyone carries to much on their first trip. They find it too difficult to leave the luxuries of home where they work best, at home. A few do the opposite, and try to stay warm with a wool blanket, and eat only rice cooked on a campfire, etc. Borrowing or renting gear is a good option if you can, so you get a better idea what works and what doesn't work for you.

If you have already have gear for camping you probably have everything you need for a short trip, except maybe a pack. For 7-10 days, you'll probably want to replace some of it with lighter stuff made for backpacking. Particularly the tent, sleeping bag, cooking equipment, and perhaps clothing. Find out what the 10 essentials are (search the web), and make sure you have those.

For food, take along lots of canned fruits and vegetables... hehe... You'll save lots of weight, because you can just heat up the can directly, so you don't need a separate cook pot.

chris
04-20-2004, 08:38
Although I have not hiked it myself, why not traverse Shenandoah NP? The distance is in the 90+ mile range, the terrain isn't supposed to be difficult, and it is supposed to be rather pleasant, with lots of places you can hop off and have a meal. In terms of gear, I would look at any of the "My Gear List" type threads on the forum to see what others are bringing for their hikes. You can see my PCT gear list (mostly what I would bring for a trip like yours) at mypage.iu.edu/~chwillet/travel/PCT

philsamhikers
04-20-2004, 15:29
THANKS for the posts, everyone.
As far as what gear we have sgt. we have the basics, like tent, packs and sleeping bags, but speaking of sleeping bags, recommend a bag, or since we're going in July something lighter?
I think we need the most help with, where to hike, and ideas on food, (which I'm sure I can find food ideas on other forums)

jamarshall: I do have the app trail guide for Pa and will look at going where you suggested. Thanks

I like the idea of Shenandoah NP also.

SGT Rock
04-20-2004, 17:53
THANKS for the posts, everyone.
As far as what gear we have sgt. we have the basics, like tent, packs and sleeping bags, but speaking of sleeping bags, recommend a bag, or since we're going in July something lighter?
I think we need the most help with, where to hike, and ideas on food, (which I'm sure I can find food ideas on other forums)

jamarshall: I do have the app trail guide for Pa and will look at going where you suggested. Thanks

I like the idea of Shenandoah NP also.

Well this is at least a start.

First for packs -since you have one, almost any will do, so don't change. Tents on the other hand may not even be needed depending on what it is and the weight and space you need and whether or not you plan to use mainly shelters. You might be able to switch to a tarp. Sleeping bags depend on the rating and how you sleep and how much they weigh. Are they your basic Wal-Mart bags or some good, light backpacking bags?

My general reccomendadtion is to not spend a lot of money and see what you can do cheaply. Try to keep the pack weight at least under 40 pounds.

Deerleg
04-20-2004, 20:01
Dittos on Shenandoah NP I walked the southern half in the fall of 01. Planed on walking the whole thing but due to my hiking partnerís injury :cool: we cut the trip short. No problem on getting out as it crisscrosses the Parkway multiple times.
Shenandoah has lots of places to re-supply or arrange for a ďdropĒ so you donít have to carry all your food. On summer trips I take a tarp, bivy, and the lightest rated bag I have. I have also used a very light weight home made bag. When my son was 12 we used that set up on a three day trip on the Quanah Trail in PA and the trip went smooth. As far as diet goes since you have till July I would recommend a couple of books that I found useful: The Complete Walker by Colin Flecher, and Beyond Backpacking, by Ray Jardine. These 2 books contain a wealth of information about food and equipment, trip planning and more. I personally have used many of the ideas and dismissed many as well. Iím sure thereís something you can pick up and adopt into the hiking approach that works best for you.:) <O:p></O:p>

Good Luck!<O:p></O:p>

A-Train
04-22-2004, 00:34
I'd agree with JMarshall's advice about Harpers Ferry north. Its 80 miles from HF to Pine Grove State Park where the official halfway marker of the AT is. Either direction you hike in would give you a nice goal and finishing milestone. You would be able to accomplish this no problem in 7-10 days. Very gentle terrain with some nice scenary. Maryland has a lot of civil war history which you and your son might find interesting. Maryland and Southern Penn also offer state parks pretty frequently, and you can surely hit one almost everyday if you wanted to grab a meal, water, phone etc.
In July, no matter where you hike (Shenendoah, Maryland, PA) you'll be seeing tons of NOBO thru-hikers, so definately have a tent for the two of you.

I hiked Maryland with my dad 3 years ago and we both found it to be a very pretty, gentle section with much time to enjoy the scenary and companionship. Good luck