View Full Version : Approach and first few stops...

03-26-2012, 16:24
I'm starting my thru in less than a month, and I plan on doing the Approach Trail. I'm just trying to get an idea of where I should camp out that first night, and logistics of getting around Blood Mountain without having to carry a bear canister...

Here are my feelings on the three most likely candidate locations for the first night:

Black Gap Shelter: Short day with Approach Trail, and the next day would be my first day on the AT itself
Springer Mountain Shelter: Camp out on the AT this first night. This is the leading one so far, I think.
Stover Creek Shelter: It's possible, but I don't think I want to push myself that much the first day.

I feel like I'd rather appreciate Springer Mountain at nightfall and dawn than get the extra couple of miles that first day.

What really complicates things is the bear activity around Blood Mountain. Therefore, I'm thinking of camping at Springer Mountain Shelter the first night, Sassafras Mountain the second night (don't want to push myself to Gooch, I know I'm in for the long haul), then Lance Creek the third night. Resupply in Neels Gap on what would be my 4th day, and continue on, probably setting up camp at Wolf Laurel Top.

I'm carrying a light pack (total weight is around 13lbs without food/water, that's including the stuff I'll be wearing, though), I'm young, and I'm in good shape, though, so I dunno if Stover Creek/Gooch Mountain is a realistic itinerary or not. But even then, I'd be looking at 15 miles to hit Neels and get outside the bear canister radius, which might be asking a bit, so it's not like pushing myself to those spots would really benefit me much more, since I'd still need an extra day before resupply anyway.

03-26-2012, 16:38
You shouldn't have any trouble making it to Stover Creek. It's a pretty easy hike over to Gooch. Gooch to Neels will be a good day having to go over Blood Mt, but not unrealistic. I typically stop at Woodshole so I can sleep in and still get to Neels early the next day, but it wouldn't be too much of a streach to go all the way and get there late instead. (but still well before dark). Take a nice break at Woodshole, eat a light meal and push on the rest of the way.

03-26-2012, 17:09
Definitely try to stay at Lance Creek if it works out, I thought it was a beautiful site.

max patch
03-26-2012, 17:24
I would camp at Springer, Justus Creek, and Lance Creek. When leaving Hawk Mtn. Shelter I'd top off all my water in case I felt like stopping before Justus.

Many people stop at Hawk the first nite. If you were to do this then I'd camp at Springer, Hawk, Gooch Mtn, and Lance.

Many hikers are staying at Lance this year as it is just outside the bear cannister zone.

03-26-2012, 20:02
Thanks! I'll probably do Springer, Justus (maybe Gooch, I'll see how I feel, what the people I've met to that point are like), Lance. Then resupply at Neels and probably camp at Bull Gap.

03-27-2012, 15:35
My friend that I am supporting started Saturday the 24th with a shuttle to FS42... His first night was Hawk Mountain (8.1 from Springer), his second night was Gooch Mountain (7.7 mile day), third night was Lance Creek (8.5 miles) and he plans on Neel Gap today... He called me around noon Georgia time on top of Blood Mountain... It's only a couple miles from there to Neel Gap... He's doing this is good shape for a 62 year old man and a 30 pound pack...

What I'd suggest is do the approach and stop at Springer Mountain Shelter the first night (9 miles), then follow his itinerary from there... That would get you over Blood Mountain during the day and dodge the bear box issue...

Just a suggestion from someone supporting someone else...


Old Boots
03-27-2012, 17:38
You can re-fill water from a spring at Gooch if need be.iii