View Full Version : Section from DWG to Springer starting in October

El Toro '94
06-10-2009, 03:31
Howdy everyone, new here, but not to the trail. Am looking to do a long section hike from Delaware Water Gap to Springer late fall and winter, the turn around and make tracks for Big K. Using the section hike as a long training hike. Thru hiked in 94, been itchin' to get back to it for 15 years now.:banana Looking for advice on weather and winter hiking from Pearisburg to Springer in Jan. and Feb. I kno its gonna be cold, have the gear, and a little winter xperience in the Adirondacks and the Whites, but they were only 2-3 day hikes. Never hiked in the southern Apps. in winter. When I was there in May, it was cold at night, warm(mostly) in the day, wet, and I was out of shape. I guess what I'm trying to figure out is how does a short duration, though intensely cold weekend hike compare to a multiweek hike in the Smokies and the Roans. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

06-10-2009, 09:04
Am I to understand that in the middle of winter you will start from DWG and head North?

El Toro '94
06-10-2009, 10:23
No, not quite that adventurous:eek:. Going to start in Deleware Water Gap late fall (Halloween +/- a week) and hike south to Springer, arriving in Georgia (hopefully) end of Feb/middle of March. From there I'm going to turn around and do a traditional northbound thru hike.
Was wondering what to expect long distance hiking-wise through Southern VA, NC, TN in the middle of winter. Also any advice or tips about the southern section in Jan & Feb. Have done a traditional NOBO back in '94 (May-Nov). Liked it so much I want to do it again, but want to be in reasonable shape.
Am going to use PA and Northern VA to get into trail shape/training hike so I can enjoy the south instead of being so exhausted every day for 2 months that I couldn't fully appreciate or enjoy GA/NC/TN/VA as I should have.

06-10-2009, 11:33
I did a couple of late fall section hikes in Southern PA, Maryland and south of the smokies over the years. It was great hiking, but water sources were a PITA, a lot of the shelters were dry or close to dry. I expect that with a bit of rain they would fill up quickly, but it did require a bit of planning.

06-11-2009, 01:18
You will not see anything in the southern appalachians that comes even close to places like the Whites or Dacks in winter.

Saying that, a long distance trip in sustained cold weather would certainly provide it's challenges, even if the weather is much tamer than New England. I've also done many 2-3 day trips in extreme cold, -20 stuff, and it's easier when you know it's over the day after tomorrow!

There seem to be many people who hike during winter along the southern AT and do just fine. Plus, you are experienced and have demonstrated that you can deal with cold weather.

06-11-2009, 09:38
borrow a copy of the two BareFoot Sisters books. They yo-yoed. They were SOBO in NC/TN/GA in the winter. Describes some pretty good blizzards, drifts, etc, up on the mountains. They "wintered" for a few months off-trail before they started back NOBO. I think the last few chapters in their first (SOBO) book, describe the weather issues.

El Toro '94
06-11-2009, 20:49
Where can I find a copy of the Barefoot Sisters" book? Or what is the title and I can look it up.
What are the Smokys and Roan Mt. are going to be like weatherwise generally(assuming no blizzards)? How much snow and ice are we talking about?

El Toro '94
06-12-2009, 16:32
Would it be wise to carry snoshoes on the section between Damascus and Fontana? Or would it be just unneccessary weight? If my schedule holds, I'll be hiking south through that section in mid-late January. Appreciate any and all advice.

06-12-2009, 17:03
I live is SW Virginia and the only months in which I do not backpack are July and August. I gave my snowshoes and most of my real winter clothes to family back in Michigan. There are the occasional cold snaps, but I've also been out in January in sixty degrees and sunshine. You'll be through here by December, and winter here never really gets started until Jan/Feb.

As someone else mentioned, water will be scarcer because the trail is all ridge-top. We've had plenty of rain this spring, but by fall it is always gone. Check out the local trail clubs (www.ratc.org, for example) for good info on which springs may go dry, and ask on here before you leave for recent beta.

Take a book or a headlamp suitable for night hiking. You are going to have a lot of hours of darkness. Have a great trip.