View Full Version : Good meeting places near AT for family

01-05-2003, 18:26
In trying to plan ahead and was wondering if any previous thru-hikers had family or girl/boy friends visit them 2-3 months after starting their hike, and if so, what were the towns that they found easy to get to. I live about 40 miles from the AT, however, the AT I am talking about is in Vermont. From looking at the map it appears that Roanoke would be the best city to fly into and rent a car. I would think that south of PA it would not be practical to drive for a 3-4 day period from Northern New England.

01-05-2003, 18:32
I was thinking about meeting my family once or twice along the way. Although I've never thru hiked, I hiked the AT in Shenandoah National Park. Charlottesville, Virginia is a very nice city and is not too long of a drive from the AT as it enters SNP from the South. It seems like it has possibilities.

01-05-2003, 18:33
Peter ...first place that comes to mind which is a good meeting spot is Damascus. VA. A lot of hikers spend 2-3 days at the "Trail Days" event so your family could meet not only you (and vice versa) but also many of your hiking friends.

Lone Wolf
01-05-2003, 18:39
If they meet you in Damascus, Tri-cities airport is 40 miles from there but you'd only be 1 month or so into you're hike. Harper's Ferry would be a good place to meet. It's only an hour from Wash., D.C., close to the halfway point.

01-05-2003, 19:07
Part of the answer depends on what your family likes to do.

If they enjoy white water, you might consider a meeting at NOC, the white water capital of the east. It's only a few weeks into your hike, but so what.

Damasacus gets overrun on Trail Days. It's a weekend long party for thru-hikers. However, there are a lot of thru-hiker wanta-bees also and underage. But, everyone is there, so it would be the one opportunity for your family to meet some of the people you have been hiking with. If you hiked past Damascus, then get your family to drive you back for the weekend, or if you haven't gotten that far, likewise. If you have wheels, I'd suggest staying in Abington.

Harpers Ferry and DC is a great place to visit. Lot of civil war history in the area. Likewise, Waynesboro and Charlotsville.

At Bear Mountain, many people go into NYC.

My wife met met at Manchester Center and we spent the day on the Battinkill.

So, almost every trail crossing has something to offer. It's all what you make of it.

01-05-2003, 21:25
I am looking for a visit about 60 days out from Springer; I would rather arrange a visit somewhere north of Damacus.

Peaks-my favorate sport is white water canoeing (XL-13) and I will miss most of the season in New England, however, I would rather not be distrated from the hikking by taking days off to canoe. If it works out that I can break away for a short run and someone will provide a wetsuit and gear, fine, but I am not counting on it.

By going on the AT I am giving up my yearly trip on the St. John River in Northern Maine (about a 7 day trip) and also the Bonaventure River trip in Quebec (right near the international AT). By the way I have not been impressed with the way the International AT keeps looping back to towns as you get close of Gaspe and also the fee arrangement for shelters (worst than the AMC). I believe that you are not surposed to camp anyplace other than a provided log structure which are very fancy.

Lone Wolf
01-05-2003, 21:29
Roanoke or Lynchburg is your best bet.

01-05-2003, 21:38
I met my wife at Atkins right along side of Interstate 81. I chose this spot since it was close to the interstate and I could wait for her at the Motel that is within sight of the Interstate. After she did get there, we drove up to Wythville and spent a 2 nights. Bland, VA is a another spot close to the trail and the Interstate. Waynesboro is a nice town and it just as you enter the Shendandoah National Park, from the south. Also very easy to get to for an automoble and also plenty to see and do for the family in the park or in the area. I met some other friends in Waynesboro for a couple of days and it was a great place to spend a day or two. Harpers Ferry is about 1/2 way if you want to wait that long to see them, and there is a lot to see but can get a little expensive and mostly gift shops and ect.... I met my wife and family at Atkins, as I said and then I met them again in North Adams, MA since the trail came into town.. Several places along the AT are good, and easy, but a lot will depend I suppose on what type of transportation they will use to meet you. If it is by auto, it could be about anywhere you decide. Since once you get to Damascus you are never really very far from the Interstate. Hope this helps.... Sincerely, Ed

01-05-2003, 22:46
When you get to the James River, hitch a ride into Buena Vista. They have a canoe livery there where you can rent a canoe and paddle thru Balcony Falls, a classic run thru the gorge. Leave your pack in the canoe but tie it in. The get out is almost at the Foot Bridge, jump out of the canoe, throw your pack on and keep on walking.

I think they have a web page. I'll find it and add it on as an edit.

James River Canoe and Kayaks


01-05-2003, 23:27
Thanks for the info on the James River; I went to the outfitter web site and the canoe trip looks perfect, class 2 & 3 WW. I have done I little class 4 by accident, however, I enjoy class 2 & 3. Looks like a great trip to break up the AT grind. Thanks.


01-06-2003, 08:57
60 days into the trip will put you somewhere in Virginia. Exactly where depends on your pace. As others have posted, there is plenty to do.

Meanwhile, if you enjoy white water, then by all means plan on renting a ducky at NOC and spend an afternoon rafting. Great fun.

Other places to check out include Erwin and Hot Springs. And of course, Carratunk (near Forks). I tried to raft at Carratunk but arrived too late in the morning. You need to be there early in the morning.

Uncle Wayne
01-06-2003, 09:17
I want to second what Peaks said about the NOC. By all means take the time to do this 8 mile (?) float. If you rent the ducky from the NOC they provide you with a helmet & wet suit, take you to the put in and you take out right near the showers. They let us stow our gear in the rental house while we did the float. There are a couple of options for eating also. They have a good gear shop if you need something replaced and will help out with warranty issues.
The water is very good, class 2 and 3 almost continually, and cold enough to give us guys another belly button!

There are several motels in the 20 to 30 miles range for the family to stay also. Good luck.

01-06-2003, 09:51
Thanks for the info on NOC; a lot of my friends have paddled down south but I never have. I will try and rent some type of solo WW canoe like my Mohawk XL-13 boat. I have also heard the French Broad river is a great river to paddle. I can bet you one thing, I don't think that the water is going to be as cold at NOC as what you get in Northern New England in mid March. And I always seem to take a good swim the first of the year; last year I swam on the first drop on my first trip during high water. Thanks for all the paddling info.


01-06-2003, 10:54
That's the place. My parent met us there sorta. They made plans to fly into Roanoke and to rent a car. At the appointed weekend we were actually further south in Pearisburg. They just drove down. Some friends mut us in the Shennies for a day 1.5 hours from DC and my cousins met us in Harpers for Dinner.

My sister met us in BEar Mtn and hiked with us for a few. Up in your neck of the woods. My inlaws drove up to Hanover from Boston.

Plenty of places.

Just so you know. Meeting people was the most stressful part for us. We had to pull 3 consecutive 20 pluses in 105 degree heat to make it to Kent, CT in time. arrrgh. Had to pull a 27 to make into Pearisburg. Just be aware.

01-06-2003, 11:50
The water in the Nantahala (Nanny) is a constant 53 degrees year round. It comes from the bottom of a resevoir (dam released of course) and so it is the same temp as the ground. I guess 53 could be considered warm, but it sure feels cold! There are only two class three's on the nanny, one at the top (Patton's run) and it is the first thing you encounter! The last one is the one on the bottom, The Falls, which is great fun to sit at (its VERY close to the restaurant) and watch the disasters as totally inexperience people try to run their canoes through there!

I've paddled it a FEW times...

Gravity Man