View Full Version : First AT hike...This week!

05-14-2011, 15:25
My dad and I are planning an overnighter this week from Carvers Gap to US 19 E. I am relatively new to hiking, although I did do a 21 mile overnighter in the foothills of the Uwharries back in March. I have done maybe a days worth of mountain hiking, none of which was on the AT. I'm planning my thru for next summer after graduation, semi-ultralight. I know our trip this week is only a little over 13 miles but we plan on taking our time.

I'm looking for any type of advice at all, gear related or not. If anybody is familiar with the hike I would love to hear about it. I have heard it is popular, and sometimes "crowded". We are not trying to go out and drop a ton of money on this trip, I know I will somewhat be doing that for my thru but for now we want to keep the spending a minimum. So what would you consider vital for an overnighter? My gear now is as follows:

Sierra designs lightyear 1 tent
Golite Quest pack
Small thermarest ridgerest
Eureka silver city 30 deg. bag (planning on upgrading to a lighter, warmer down bag soon, but my dad had this already so I decided to make it work for now)

My dad's gear list is more old school and traditional camping style, so I'm trying to decide what he needs / shouldn't bring. He doesn't have any synthetic clothes. We do have ponchos, would this be fine for him if he wore cotton shirt / pants? I know sweating is still a problem. Also, I was thinking he might like a hammock as opposed to using his old foam mat but he has never tried sleeping in one and is worried about using one for the first time on the trail. Also, about bear canisters: I have heard it has been years since a bear has been spotted on this hike, but we plan on hanging our food regardless. Is using a bag to hang it OK or is a canister style better to keep out rodents etc? Is their a cheap form of container that can be a substitute?

As you can prob tell, I'm a newbie. I have done a decent amount of reading but my experience is lacking. I want this trip to go well and only fuel my desire to thru in '12 even more. Any advice is welcome. Thank you,


05-14-2011, 16:18
Hi Ryan -- welcome to WB!

I remember my first AT hike - I thought I was going to kill my son. We were wearing all cotton and got caught in a sleet storm a few miles from Big Bald and our tent collapsed on us in the middle of the night. I will never forget it as long as I live!

Carver's Gap to 19E is an awesome hike, and it's pretty short - less than 15 miles I think. Your pack, bag, and tent will work fine for that. Check the weather before you go but worse case there is a pretty good shelter on that stretch you can hide in if you need to get out of the elements.

Just go with the basics... synthetic (non-cotton) clothes is a big one. Take something to keep you dry if it rains, and a few more snacks than you think you'll eat and you'll do fine.

Let us know how it goes!

05-15-2011, 15:30
Bear canisters are way overkill. I've seen people use plastic grocery bags as bear bags or you can buy the Sea-to-Summit bags. You can hang them up and that will keep the rodents away or keep it in your tent with you. Cotton is a big no-no, the area you're hiking in will be ridiculously windy so if he gets wet he will be miserable. You can get synthetic shirts at Wal-Mart or Target for about $15. Most people just hike in running shorts because it is more comfortable, he may want to carry some wind/rain pants or something like that for breaks and around camp.

That section you are doing is awesome. Make sure you take the Grassy Ridge Trail (1 mile there and back) for a short side trip. It's not far from Carver's Gap. You can stay at Overmountain Shelter the first night, it's a big red barn with a nice view.

05-15-2011, 22:51
I would take a quick look at the "What to leave home" article


There is a lot of great info there and can defiantly help cut down on your pack weight which will make for a more enjoyable hike.

Hope you have a great hike!

05-23-2011, 20:52
our hike: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvz3EFhytuc

Rain Man
05-23-2011, 21:54
GREAT section for a hike. My wife and I did it about 3 years ago. I agree with all the advice so far. Make sure you take a digital camera, of course.

And if you need, I'd surely recommend Mountain Harbour B&B hostel right there on Hwy 19E.
Mountain Harbour B&B (http://www.mountainharbour.net/)
You can park there and arrange a shuttle with or through them back to Carvers Gap.

Hump Mountain is perhaps my favorite mountain so far.