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  1. #1
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    Default Four day solo in Virigina

    Folks,
    I am looking to do a 4 day solo hike in the Northern Virginia AT area. Since I will be solo my thought is to park on a friday and hike in friday and saturday; turn around and hike out sunday and monday. Work constraints are limiting me to this schedule for now and this will be my first multi day solo (the idea being making the solos a bit longer each time, well I'm sure you get the picture.)
    So, any suggestions on some place I can park for 4 days? Any suggestions on starting and turn around points?
    Thanks!
    Joe

    P.S. I am really digging this site. The amount of information is tremendous.

  2. #2
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    How many miles a day are you willing to go? The Massanutten Mountain trail makes a nice loop up there around Luray. The "normal" loop is about 71 miles. There are a few crossing trails too if you want to expand or shrink the loop. It's not the AT though, if that's important to you.

  3. #3
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    That looks interesting. I will definitely check that out. I forgot to mention that I will be driving down from NJ on the Friday I start and that's why I am sticking to the Northern section.
    Thank you Mobius for the info!

  4. #4
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    In 4 full hiking days you might be able to park in Harpers Ferry, catch a shuttle down to the AT crossing of US-522 outside of Front Royal, and hike the 55 miles back to your car. If that is too far for you, then it is about 40 miles from the VA-50/I-66 trailhead. You might be able to park at a hostel in Harpers Ferry, and I know that you can park for multiple nights at the National Historical Park for a $10 entry fee. The Teahorse Hostel in Harpers Ferry appears to offer shuttles. See the ATC Shuttle List (page 9) (www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/thru-section-hiking) for more info. This was the first section I did solo in 2001.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  5. #5
    Registered User joshuasdad's Avatar
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    I'm not a huge fan of northern VA hiking (and I live in northern VA...) because of all of the PUDs in the roller coaster section just south of West Virginia. The suggestion to park in Harpers Ferry is a good one, but I would get a shuttle and hike from Southern Pennsylvania to Harpers Ferry for a first solo backpacking experience. If you do your first solo multiday in the roller coaster at age 45, you may not do a second solo multiday...

  6. #6
    Registered User Kingbee's Avatar
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    +1 on PA south to Harpers Ferry. A nice section for a first time multi day trip.

  7. #7
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    What's life without a little challenge?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerosene View Post
    In 4 full hiking days you might be able to park in Harpers Ferry, catch a shuttle down to the AT crossing of US-522 outside of Front Royal, and hike the 55 miles back to your car. If that is too far for you, then it is about 40 miles from the VA-50/I-66 trailhead. You might be able to park at a hostel in Harpers Ferry, and I know that you can park for multiple nights at the National Historical Park for a $10 entry fee. The Teahorse Hostel in Harpers Ferry appears to offer shuttles. See the ATC Shuttle List (page 9) (www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking/thru-section-hiking) for more info. This was the first section I did solo in 2001.
    Looking at the ATC site Interactive map, they are showing a Parking location on 522 near Lake Front Royal. Is this some place I can leave my car for a couple of days?

  9. #9
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    Check out the Meet Up forum on here and see if you can find someone with similar interests and you can either car swap or spot one car and drive to a starting location together.

    The roller coaster is a joke - it is a series of (at best) 500' elevation gain hills. None of them steep.
    Pain is a by-product of a good time.

  10. #10
    Registered User joshuasdad's Avatar
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    The roller coaster is no joke for someone not in shape and/or on their first overnight backpacking trip. 5000 feet of vertical gain in 13.5 miles, and very few flat sections. You are either walking up a steep rocky slope, or descending one. Yes, it is a joke for a thru, but the uninitiated, it is as soul crushing as the PUDs of Georgia to a thru. I prefer the vistas and historical sites of Maryland, to the wooded, viewless peaks of Northern Virginia. (There are nice places to hike in Northern Virginia, Sky Meadows for example, I just think you get more bang for your effort in Maryland.)

    Also, when I hiked past 522 in September 2011, there was broken window glass, and there is a warning on the parking on the AT site for vandalism in 2012, so I would not park there. See http://appalachiantrail.rohland.org/

  11. #11
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    I too am looking to hike more of Virginia. When w.ere you thinking? I was thinking to park In Damascus and hike from there

  12. #12
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    Default When?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jmcollins View Post
    Folks,
    I am looking to do a 4 day solo hike in the Northern Virginia AT area. Since I will be solo my thought is to park on a friday and hike in friday and saturday; turn around and hike out sunday and monday. Work constraints are limiting me to this schedule for now and this will be my first multi day solo (the idea being making the solos a bit longer each time, well I'm sure you get the picture.)
    So, any suggestions on some place I can park for 4 days? Any suggestions on starting and turn around points?
    Thanks!
    Joe

    P.S. I am really digging this site. The amount of information is tremendous.
    I', thinking the same only soon. When you thinking

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshuasdad View Post
    The roller coaster is no joke for someone not in shape and/or on their first overnight backpacking trip. 5000 feet of vertical gain in 13.5 miles, and very few flat sections. You are either walking up a steep rocky slope, or descending one. Yes, it is a joke for a thru, but the uninitiated, it is as soul crushing as the PUDs of Georgia to a thru. I prefer the vistas and historical sites of Maryland, to the wooded, viewless peaks of Northern Virginia. (There are nice places to hike in Northern Virginia, Sky Meadows for example, I just think you get more bang for your effort in Maryland.)

    Also, when I hiked past 522 in September 2011, there was broken window glass, and there is a warning on the parking on the AT site for vandalism in 2012, so I would not park there. See http://appalachiantrail.rohland.org/
    Soul crushing? Well, thank you Capt. Enthusiasm.

    I haven't settled on a trip yet. I may just move it up to Pennsylvania, close to home turf, possibly easier logistically.

  14. #14
    Registered User teachergal's Avatar
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    Maybe try Shenandoah National Park? You will need to pay a $20 entrance fee, unless you have a National Parks Pass, but you should be able to park safely at a trailhead and not worry about vandalism. I'm not sure about getting a ride within the park, I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone attempting to hitch a ride, although there are alwaus TONS of people in the park, I'm not sure how many of them would be willing to help a hiker. There are shuttle drivers that you can contact. Unfortunately I have to work on Friday and Mon or I'd be able to help you out (I live about 60 miles from the park but I'm always looking for an excuse to go out there! :-)

  15. #15
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    Go from Dicky's Gap to Damascus. Mt Rogers in Damascus can shuttle you. It is a beautiful hike!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by teachergal View Post
    Maybe try Shenandoah National Park? You will need to pay a $20 entrance fee, unless you have a National Parks Pass, but you should be able to park safely at a trailhead and not worry about vandalism. I'm not sure about getting a ride within the park, I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone attempting to hitch a ride, although there are alwaus TONS of people in the park, I'm not sure how many of them would be willing to help a hiker. There are shuttle drivers that you can contact. Unfortunately I have to work on Friday and Mon or I'd be able to help you out (I live about 60 miles from the park but I'm always looking for an excuse to go out there! :-)
    My girlfriend and i hitched a ride from elk wallow to skyland with a drunk german guy in the rain and fog. He drove the whole way with his emergency brake on and at least a half dozen empty heineken bottles rolling around in the back seat. When we got to skyland he freaked a couple out that were probably in their eighties by politely asking them to take a picture of us. By politely i mean he jumped out of the car and pointed at them and yelled "YOU TAKE PHOTO!!!???". Sure it was scary, but we still laugh about it.

  17. #17
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    Hitching in SNP works.
    Merry 2012 AT blog
    "Not all those who wander are lost."

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by teachergal View Post
    Maybe try Shenandoah National Park? You will need to pay a $20 entrance fee, unless you have a National Parks Pass, but you should be able to park safely at a trailhead and not worry about vandalism. I'm not sure about getting a ride within the park, I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone attempting to hitch a ride, although there are alwaus TONS of people in the park, I'm not sure how many of them would be willing to help a hiker. There are shuttle drivers that you can contact. Unfortunately I have to work on Friday and Mon or I'd be able to help you out (I live about 60 miles from the park but I'm always looking for an excuse to go out there! :-)
    That's probably what I am going to do. Thanks for the tip!

  19. #19
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    You won't have to carry much food if you do SNP. Lots of places to buy a meal in the park.
    If you don't already have a trail guide like David Miller's AT Guide get one.
    "Chainsaw" GA-ME 2011

  20. #20
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    Hitching in the park is easy.

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