View Full Version : Got a few questions...

01-15-2011, 03:46
My girlfriend and I are looking to hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail in Late July into early August. Well, the portion we are looking to hike is Springer Mountain to Clingmans dome. We have unfortunately not figured out how to get somewhere where we could get transport back home from there :/ That's for another story.

As of now, I wonder if it would be possible to hike that distance in 3 weeks? The distance is about 200 miles. We have done multiple day hikes together before. Mostly 10 or so miles. We only do backyard camping as of now, but have a few trips on a local trail (26 miles) planned for this spring.

Another thing, it's not going to be cold those days I'd think. Would I even need to bother bringing a rain jacket? I figured if it rains I'd be better off not wearing one due to the heat and humidity.

And one last question. What would be appropriate for our sleep gear? We both plan on bringing hammocks, but will we even need underquilts? I would rather try to bring a sleeping pad instead of making an underquilt for this trip. I will have to make our quilts, though. Which is a whole other issue that I think I can figure out... I'm assuming 35-45* quilts will be good enough for each of us.

And if these questions belong in a different forum, just let me know.

Thanks! :D

01-15-2011, 10:13
It will be brutally hot and humid. But what you also need to know is that it can be quite cold too. I have been in summer thunderstorms where the temps dropped 30+ degrees and had me worrying about hypothermia. Bring the rain jacket for those type situations to keep you warm.

Water can be a problem in August. Many of the published sources can be dry.

01-15-2011, 12:42
No problem doing it in three weeks.

01-15-2011, 14:34
I just did that section last June and three weeks was about perfect for me who spends most of his time as a desk jockey. However, two things (one was already mentioned to consider. Heat and Smokies reservations. Expect hot (and potentially dry) conditions so watch your water. We ran into that in June where it was already getting warm and some of the water spots were pretty weak. It wasn't a major problem, but I'm guessing water will be more limited by July/August so plan to fill up more often and carry a little more water just in case the next spot is low.

The problem with the Smokies is that unless you are a thru hiker, you need to make reservations. Last year (and I'm assuming this year) that is defined as starting 50 miles before AND ending 50 miles after the park. You've got the first part covered but not the last. That means you either have to guess exactly where you'll be the last few days and make your reservations before you start hiking (which to me seems like a logistical nightmare) or "plan" to hike on to Erwin (or so). Of course, plans always change and if you just happen to change those plans at Clingman's so be it.

One last thing, I've hiked that section twice and it really is a great trip.


01-15-2011, 15:11
Thanks for the quick replies all! :D

If there is another spot further up the trail we can possibly make our trip last a bit longer. Possibly a place that would be easier to get back to Ohio from. I'm more worried about money than time.

01-15-2011, 16:52
No problem doing it in three weeks. In the summer I take a 3/4 length Ridgerest or Z-rest for my hammock, I don't need an underquilt. And the pad is useful for breaks.

You can drive to Amicalola Falls SP and leave your car there, then just get a shuttle back to the car from wherever you stop hiking. There are many people who offer shuttles in the South, or you can hitch the whole way if you have good luck hitching. (The Hike Inn will pick you up at Clingman's and drive you to AFSP, it'll cost a bit but they are great people and well worth it.)

It'll be very hot and humid. I often bring a light poncho or just a wind shirt in the summer, or just get wet.

01-15-2011, 22:26
For the time of year you're planning to hike, I'd normally suggest hiking in NH or Maine but you certainly wouldn't make the miles (that in itself perhaps wouldn't present a problem for you), the terrain is much more difficult, and given your concern about money, probably too expensive.

Another option in the South for you is Davenport Gap at the north end of the Smokies to Damascus, a distance of 225 miles. You'd still have hot weather but temps might be more pleasant at the higher elevations (Big Bald, Roan Mountain). You get to end at a cool trail town and if you arrive ahead of schedule, continue on to Mt. Rogers and the Grayson Highlands.

01-16-2011, 04:09
Thanks Cooker, I'll look into that portion as a possibility. Is that a scenic section of the trail?

We are mainly looking for a very beautiful place to hike that is within a few states of Ohio. I would absolutely love to do some parts of the Northern AT If I could get in a fair distance hike, but it doesn't even have to be the AT to be honest.