View Full Version : finding campsites along the trail

10-22-2004, 21:27
Just a quick question. I read alot about people switching to hammocks from tent sleeping on here and one reason(not the main reason I dont think) is because of it being much easier to find a spot to hang your hammock then a spot to pitch your tent. I am planning on taking a tent on the trail. Is it really that difficult to find decent spots to pitch your tent along the trail. Were there any areas that you rememeber where it was particularly hard to find a suitable spot? Just wondering....:rolleyes:

Lone Wolf
10-22-2004, 22:26
Tent sites are a dime a dozen. They're everywhere.

10-23-2004, 00:23
There are a ton of sites available along the Trail and around shelters. There may not always be one available at the time or location you want to stop, in which case a hammock gives you a little more flexibility.

10-23-2004, 08:53
It's a long trail and the availablity of tent sites vary. Some parks, states, etc have particular regulations that effect this. You will figure it out as you go and deal with it as it comes up. For most of the trail it isn't that much of an issue and it is like LW says, tent sites are a dime a dozen... in that regard, hammock sites are $0.02 a dozen.


10-23-2004, 09:34
I use a hammock in the warmer months along the AT. I've never had a problem finding a place to hang it. Oh my gosh...try hiking all day and then laying down in your comfortable hammock. WOOT !

10-23-2004, 12:14
Your Data Book/Handbook will note tentsites along the way, and they're never too far apart. In addition, you'll run into a million little spots not noted in your book that someone has cleared out for their tent.

10-24-2004, 13:08
While it is possible to find spots to camp on the fly, it isn't as easy as, say, the PCT, where the land is more open. A hammock, if you are a backsleeper, would work well. I used a tarp and had to be a little cautious with hiking too late into the day. On a few occasions, I found myself in the dark with nowhere to camp. From when I started looking, to when I found a spot, though, I never walked more than 3 miles.

10-24-2004, 13:30
A hammock, if you are a backsleeper, would work well.I'll take issue with a hammock suitable only for a backsleeper. I'm an inveterate side-sleeper, but in a hammock I've found that I'm amazingly comfortable on my back. In fact, since there are no pressure points, once I get to sleep in the hammock I find that I rarely have to shift positions. I sometimes sleep on my side also, but find that I don't need to in order to fall asleep like I do at home.

10-24-2004, 13:39
I saw two people (on two different occasions) that were about 20 yards off the trail in a bivy sack. I suppose picking a bivy as a shelter would save weight and allow more flexibility as to where to sleep. I didn't see any hammocks, but they look comfortable. One thing to think about is that places like Max Patch there aren't any trees, but I think that you can pitch many of the hammocks like a tent in those cases. My tent doesn't weigh much more than a hammock, so I guess the only reason I would consider it is for comfort.

10-24-2004, 22:03
The Speer hammocks use a 8x10 tarp. When over the hammock, the 10 ' span is the ridge line, but if you add loops to the seam ends you can use the tarp alone as your shelter. You have the option of sleeping on the ground under the tarp, or in the hammock also under the tarp. Carry this type of hammock and you have two types of sleep options. Here's two examples where I was glad to have a hammock. 1.) Running out of day-light, I passed two tent sites that were full. Was able to hike on in the dark and found a place to hang my hammock in steep densly wooded terrain where I would have had a difficult time finding a comfortable site on the ground. 2.) Came to a tent site that was full of a large group of youngsters. The hammock gave me the option of being able to wander further off into the woods and not have to worry about finding level ground. Also flat designated tenting sites can also be full of puddles if it has been raining. Apologies for the blurry pic, but note in the lower left corner the edge of a tent platform I opted not to use. http://community.webshots.com/scripts/editPhotos.fcgi?action=showMyPhoto&albumID=69716370&photoID=164170270&security=qbTCSE Here is the site I found in the dark. Woulod have had a hard time pitching a tent in these woods. http://community.webshots.com/scripts/editPhotos.fcgi?action=showMyPhoto&albumID=190433191&photoID=190434036&security=CTQScX Using the hammock tarp as a stand alone shelter. (Note that the ridge line is running along a different way than when used with a hammock. The seam goes across the hammock as oppposed to end-to-end.) http://community.webshots.com/scripts/editPhotos.fcgi?action=showMyPhoto&albumID=198210768&photoID=198228962&security=KXVCDT

10-25-2004, 11:03
Yesterday, as part of the long-planned Leaf Walk, Dances With Mice & I hiked on and around Blood Mountain. Part of our loop involved taking the Freeman Trail. That sucker is Rock Central compared to any trail I've set foot on in Georgia, and places you could site a tent along or near it are rare to nonexistent. A bivy sack could be used there in places, but really only a hammock would be easily doable most places there IMO.

P.S.: I should add that DWM is a great guy, and a heck of a hiker. Uphills and rocks out the wazoo don't slow him down a bit, and he knew historical stories about multiple locations on the sections of the AT and other trails we hiked on that significantly added to the experience. He also has made some ingenious modifications to his alcohol stove, walking sticks, tent, and Hennessy; if you ever run into him in person, ask him about how to improve on off-the-shelf versions of gear. Also, he's a fine camp cook; if you ever have the luck of camping with him, try to get him to make his Apples Foster. It's good enough for fine-dining restaurants IMO.

P.P.S.: I got to meet Hammock Hanger there as well. She seemed perennially good-natured, obviously a highly experienced and knowledgeable hiker. Nothing fazes her, either; when something burning caught her pant leg on fire, and it had to be patted out, she shrugged off the whole thing, making nothing of it. It'd be a plus to any day out hiking to encounter her on the trail or at a shelter.

Lone Wolf
10-25-2004, 11:10
The Freeman Trail is only a couple miles long. No need to be seeking a campsite along it. It's a great blue-blaze to avoid going over Blood in shi**y weather.

10-25-2004, 11:51
Hey, MinnesotaSmith, see if you can get Dances with Mice to join WhiteBlaze and post his gear modifications and recipes!

10-25-2004, 11:55
hey everyone, thanks for the input. i guess it will vary everywhere on the trail which i kinda thought anyway. my bf and i plan on hiking in '06. I have the tent he has a hammock so i guess we'll see who has the easier time...;) .

10-25-2004, 12:27
DWM is an active member here at White Blaze already. He joined the site before I did.

Lone Wolf, having hiked both the AT over Blood Mountain and the Freeman Trail in the same day, I found the rockiness of the Freeman (a relatively level trail) more demanding than was the uphill climb to Blood.

Dances with Mice
10-25-2004, 12:41
Hey, MinnesotaSmith, see if you can get Dances with Mice to join WhiteBlaze and post his gear modifications and recipes!
ON TOPIC: I've done the 'Georgia Loop' (the 60'ish mile loop made with the AT from Springer to Blood, then Duncan Ridge and Benton Mackaye Trails back to Springer) a couple of times with a Black Diamond Megamid. The Megamid has a footprint of 9' x 9'. Even on the DRT & BMT, which are much less developed and maintained than the AT, there was never a problem finding a campsite.

OFF TOPIC: This wasn't a backpacking trip. Each year some folks from work & I go camping one weekend. This was the first year we didn't backpack. Instead we rented a group campsite at Lake Winfield Scott and car camped so some folks could bring the kiddies. The campsite cooking was done with 4 Dutch Ovens and a couple of Hibachis. I invited the ATL area W-B members I knew about, and Hammock Hanger when I learned she was going to be in the area. If any ATL'ians got left off the invite list, blame my head and not my heart.

I've been kinda shy about my home-made gear but H-H convinced me I might have a thing or two of general interest. I'll take some photos and put up a gallery when I get a round tuit.

Minnesota was the only one up for a hike, so we did the Slaughter Creek to AT north over Blood, Freeman Trail back around, then AT south to Jarrard Gap. We got kind of a late start and finished right at sunset. It was a good trip.

Kudos to the GATC crews for clearing out all the blowdowns I saw 3 weeks ago. The Trail we saw looked great.

Apples Foster: Core and slice 2 pounds of unpeeled, crisp, tart Georgia mountain-grown apples bought from a roadside fruit stand on the way to camp. In a 10" Dutch Oven melt 1/2 pound butter then stir in 1 pound brown sugar. When that starts to carmelize stir in 2 cups AppleJack brandy (which tasted horrid to me, in the future I'm going to replace with roadside stand apple cider), add the apples, stir to coat, and heat a few minutes to just soften the apples. Add a cup of really cheap brandy and make numerous, and rather humerous, attempts to flambe'. When that doesn't work, stir in the brandy and serve topped with a spoonful of whipped cream.

10-25-2004, 21:31
Campsites are everywhere on the Georgia AT. I don't do overnights at shelters and have never had a problem locating flat ground off the trail to pitch my tent.

I was at Lake Winfield Scott this weekend as well. I am training my new puppy, Cooper. My wife, Cooper, and I did the Slaughter Creek - Blood Mountain - Feeman - Jarard Gap loop late friday afternoon getting back at dark. The trail was in great shape considering the weather of the past months.

Minnesota, I agree that the Freeman is quite rugged and a great test for the ankles. But it is a beautifull trail. It is often considered a bad weather alternative to summiting Blood Mountain, but my opinion is it is no bonus in bad weather and should be avoided as well. You are correct that there are no campsites along the two mile trail. However, at each end you have great camping areas at Flatrock Gap and Bird Gap, both with water nearby.

On Satuday we hiked to Big Cedar out and back. On the hike out I met Hammock Hanger about a mile north of Miller Gap in a bottle neck of hikers including a scouting group who decided to take lunch in the middle of the trail. It was a pleasure. She told me that DWM was at Lake Winfield but unfortunately it was near dark by the time we returned and the night got away before I had a chance to venture over to the group site to meet you.

Lousy weather but it was nice to get out with my pup.