View Full Version : AT Excursion to Erwin from PA in Jan'05 - Suggestions?

12-08-2004, 01:53

This is my first posting on Whiteblaze, though I've been reading it almost everyday since I've been introduced to it. You're postings are all so fun to read! Anyways, my name is Ted, I'm 21 years old (almost 22) and I'll be thru-hiking the AT NOBO in '06 and can't wait. Someday I'll be finished with college, and I'm majoring in Earth and Space Science Education. I'm active in Amateur Astronomy and do a lot of stuff outdoors. I'm into Kayaking, Caving, Hiking, Backpacking, Biking, as well as history. Lots more stuff to but I could go on forever! I don't live far from the AT in PA and frequent the Doyle and the Pine Grove Furnace Store quite often to chat with thru-hikers and distribute goodies. This past season I was known for handing out copious amounts of Lorna Doone cookies, long story as to how I got so many. :)I've wanted to hike the AT since I've been 6 and can't wait to get started!

Anyways, I'm AT hungry these days and am looking to do a little "car" exploring January 2nd thru the 9th or so with some day hikes involved as I've got a break to fill and want to experience some of the AT south of here.

I've been intrigued by Miss Janets forever and definitely have that on my list. I've always heard great things about her from the people I've met hiking North in PA and figured she'd be a fun person to chat with. I'm thinking of leaving PA and heading for Erwin for 1 or 2 nights. I'm then looking at working my way back up to PA with maybe 3 nights worths of stops. Anyone have any suggestions on any "must see" places to incorporate along my "AT Fix" trip on the way back to the Harrisburg area from Erwin? I'm looking for 3 more nights worth of places to stop with a day hike or so incorporated into each.

Any suggestions from you guys have would greatly be appreciated. Thanks!

Looking forward to seeing some of you on the Trail in '06! I'm psyched!

Ted A. Nichols II
NOBO - GA --> ME '06
Lemoyne, PA

12-08-2004, 02:21

Maybe we'll run into each other. I'll actually be right on the AT at one of the PATC cabins around Shenendoah (not sure where yet), jan 7-9th for an AT reunion of trailfriends from 03'. I'm off for college break and was thinking of making it into a roadtrip of sorts, maybe heading down as far as Erwin (but don;t tell Janet-Hi Janet lol). Anyway, keep in touch about this and maybe we can combine forces on this one.

There are tons of easy jump off points from I-81 as the trail almost parallels it. If I were you, I'd want to keep some of the highlights of the AT a mystery until you actually walk thru as a thru-hiker, but thats just me. SOme like to be familiar with what they see.

One easy day hike/camping opportunity is stopping in Catawba at VA311, which isn't far from the interstate. Its a 3 mile hike north up to one of the best spots, McAfee knob. Great place to watch the sunset and there is a shelter (Campbell) not a mile further north. The area just south of the road is beautiful too and there is a hostel right near by (it may be closing).

Damascus, Waynsboro and Dalveille are all fairly close drives from the Interstate and all 3 have different flavors. Damascus is the true essence of the trail town. I mention these towns because they all have good outfitters. It may be a good idea and go in and talk to some folks who may help you with questions about gear. MRO in Damascus is one of the friendliest outfitters up the AT. From here you could day hike for a day or so thru the Grayson Highlands, some of the most spectacular scneary on the AT, and be able to easily hop back into town where there are 2 cheap hostels and good restraunts. You may even run into the famous Lone Wolf if your lucky.

Lastily I'd recommend a stop over in Harpers Ferry. Its a cute little town with a lot of history (worth it just for the tour). Another very good gear shop there and the ATC Headquarters. Go in, talk to the folks there and look thru the hikers books, it'll get you pumped for your trip. From there you can do a nice day hike on the C and O canal Towpath and go up to Garvey shelter and back if your adventurous or get an early start. Its a nice big shelter.

Whatever you decide you can't go wrong. I did something like this on the way back from trail days and it was a lot of fun, and driving.

12-08-2004, 02:29
Thanks for the Suggestions A-Train! Maybe we'll meet up.

Yep, I definitely want to keep most of the "trail" highlights off limits until I'm hiking. Don't want to have the "been there done" that and just keep walking without enjoying thigns experience.

Mostly I was wanting to do what you suggested, stop in some trail towns and talk with people and get psyched about the hike. And maybe a few hikes along the way. I'm just looking for a reason to get in the car and ride and to visit Miss Janet :)


12-08-2004, 08:35
You want to call Miss Janet, as there was a rumor that she will briefly shut down during renovations/repairs of the hiker's bathroom and tub. She can give you lots of excellent advice and pointers.

Consider a drive up to Hampton and popping over into Dennis Cove and meet Bob and Pat Peoples at Kinkora. A drive up US321 and left on TN 91 in Mountain City follows the AT on your west as you head toward Damascus the back way. You might find the weather good enough to rent a bike and do the Virginia Creeper Trail.

Waynesboro is a great town. If the Blue Ridge Parkway is open, consider stopping at the Humpback Rocks, which used to be on the trail. Great views from on top.

Have fun.