View Full Version : 2 week section

11-21-2013, 15:40
I'm looking for suggestions for a good 2 week hike for my 2015 thru shakedown. This shakedown hike will unfortunately have to be in the mid-summer heat (July or August).

I'd like the start and end to be within a reasonable (<8 hours) drive from southeastern Virginia. I'd also like to stay away from the tiny portion of trail I've experienced (50 miles either side of Catawba, Va.

Looking for anything around 150-200 miles with decent logistics for my first crack at multiple mail-drop re supplies.


11-21-2013, 17:56
Springer Mt. Ga to Fontana Dam at the entrance to the Smokey's. This is where your thru-hike will start and by hiking it as your shake down you will learn even more than a normal shake down teaches.

11-21-2013, 22:51
what is a shake down ?

map man
11-21-2013, 23:53
You could do the 165.6 miles between VA 603 in southern Virginia and Erwin, Tennessee.

40.7 miles from VA 603 to your first resupply in Damascus, VA. Scenic highlight, Grayson Highlands. In Damascus you can sample the experience of resupplying at a decent sized grocery store (to compare it to the alternative practice of mail drops), you can check out a fairly typical trail town outfitter, Mt. Rogers Outfitters (and maybe buy some stuff you've discovered you need), and you can lodge anywhere ranging from from a no frills hostel like The Place to a fancy B&B (there are a few). Get some practice doing laundry at the laundromat while wearing just rain pants and jacket (or less).

50.4 miles from Damascus to Dennis Cove Road, TN, for your next resupply. Scenic highlight is Laurel Falls. Road walk the .4 miles to Black Bear Resort and choose between several options that are typical of some facilities on the AT, ranging from paying a pittance for the right to pitch your tent, spend slightly more for the hostel, or a lot more for one of the cabins. Shower in a stall that is fairly typical of what you will be showering in throughout your thru-hike to see if that freaks you out. You can mail drop here or buy food for your next segment at the small camp store to see if "limited resupply" is too limited for you, or if it's enough to get by -- if it's not enough, see if you can yogi a ride into Hampton (gotta practice those yogiing skills) for grocery resupply.

74.5 miles from Dennis Cove Road to Erwin, TN. Scenic highlight is the Roan Highlands. This 74.5 miles will be a longer carry to let you compare the advantages/disadvantages of carrying more food (and weight) than your previous segments, but needing to resupply less often. Different folks develop different preferences in this regard. End your hike at Uncle Johnny's and decide for yourself whether you like it or not.

If you do have your heart set on mail drops for resupply send your mail drop using the "post office" option in Damascus and the "private business" option at Dennis Cove Road to compare those methods.

11-22-2013, 13:10
Thanks for the excellent and thoughtful replies. I'll bump this up for any more suggestions!

11-22-2013, 21:20
I second Map Man's recommendation.

11-22-2013, 21:27
what is a shake down ?

Something similar to a preliminary hike.

12-03-2013, 19:44
Again, these are phenomenal suggestions. Just to keep my options open, anyone have suggestions for this type of hike in central va? Would I be sacrificing scenery and variety staying too close to home?

12-03-2013, 22:14
I second Map Man's recommendation.

I third Map Man's suggestions. Excellent section to hike with some good humps and challenges and good mix of town and private businesses along the way. Black Bear Resort is a great stop and so is Kincora Hostel just up the road. Both at Dennis Cove Rd.

12-03-2013, 23:04
+1 for mapman, but I'd probably start in Damascus and head south. Easy start, good resupply, and ends in Erwin or Hot Springs or even Davenport Gap depending on your hiking speed.

Central Virginia is nice, but there are some longer stretches without resupply and the trail has a tendency to go steeply up and down. :) That's fine for in-shape hikers, but I am finding it more difficult on my summer 1-week sections. If you want to do that, you could do worse than starting in Waynesboro and heading south. Nice hike but some serious climbs one right after the other.