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  1. #1
    Trail name (and nickname since I was about 2): Chopper
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    05-09-2010
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    Charleston, SC
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    Default Hiking with a hill-averse wife

    Hey, folks.

    After almost 20 years, I finally got my wife to spend a few nights in a tent. It was the epitome of car camping, and we managed to fit an Areobed in the tent, but it's a start. She wants to go look at tents (we were using a borrowed 3-man, and my trail tent is an REI one-man that is just barely big enough for me), and she thinks that should could forgo the air mattress for a pad. Baby steps.

    I'd like to get her up onto one of the southeastern trails (the AT is my first thought, but I'm coming here for any and all advice), that would provide a relatively short (three miles or less) and relatively flat hike in and out. She does not do great on hills, and I am still rehabbing my knee after ... well ... after falling down an active volcano last summer (Cotopaxi, in Ecuador. Luckily, falling down is not the same thing as falling into).

    We are in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, but would have no problem driving five, six, seven hours to a trailhead. I think she would actually really like shelter camping, but I want to strike the tent-camping iron while it is hot.

    So, does anybody have any suggestions for baby-step backpack camping in GA, NC, TN, SC or VA?

    -- Philetus
    (Only about 200 miles in; more than 2000 to go, but I'll get there)

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    05-21-2010
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    Seminole, Fl
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    Around Clayton, GA, Walhalla, SC there is the Chattooga river trail. It parallels the river for many miles and the slopes are easy. Find a raft guide to shuttle you to an access point and hike back to uS 76 and your car. Bring your banjo.
    Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other.
    óM. C. Richards

  3. #3
    Trail name (and nickname since I was about 2): Chopper
    Join Date
    05-09-2010
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    Charleston, SC
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    Default

    Great idea. We've rafted the Upper Chattooga (it only took me 15 years to get her in a raft), and the Lower Chatt is on our to-do list. I think I'd want to combine rafting with a hot shower, though.

  4. #4

    Default

    Well, you know her a lot better than we do.. baby steps. Looks like you got a handle on it.

    I would get a A.T. Guide book and look at that. Pick out something that she would be comfortable doing.

  5. #5
    Registered User
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    01-16-2011
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    I was also going to suggest the Chattooga as well. Very nice but relatively easy.

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    09-29-2008
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    West Palm Beach, Florida
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    Close to home for you is the Palmetto Trail.

    I'm familiar with the section through Sumter National Forest, and think it's some beautiful woods (and flat). Nice primitive camp sites or developed sites if that's her thing.

    Swamp Fox Passage section is in your backyard, but I haven't hiked that area yet. Might be good if you need to bail out and head home.

    http://www.palmettoconservation.org/maps.asp


    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  7. #7
    Registered User
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    02-14-2011
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    scottsville,va
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    Have you considered Cumberland Island National Seashore? Not too far from you, very flat, and you might find a few sharks teeth in the sand.

  8. #8
    Registered User
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    Rockingham VT and Boston, MA
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    How about the C&O canal? Columbus MD to Georgetown. Flat, camping every five miles, with water pumps.
    Everything is in Walking Distance

  9. #9
    Registered User
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    That would be Cumberland, MD. and with amtrak service once a day, hike from there to DC and train back to your car.
    Let no one be deluded that a knowledge of the path can substitute for putting one foot in front of the other.
    óM. C. Richards

  10. #10
    Registered User
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    My wife is the same way. So for our first multiday day hike I took her to the Virginia Creeper Trail.

  11. #11
    Registered User
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    08-15-2012
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    Pinnacle, Nc
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    Just got home with my wife.. She set foot on the AT the first time yesterday. I planned a small trek in Grayson Highland. The scenery is great and many wild ponies. The trail up to Wilburn ridge is up hill but if you go slow it is ok. I planned to set up camp close to a spring, helped her knowing I could get water back to site and she can clean up. The sun set and rise from the ridge is very nice(romantic with the spouse). She now is interested in another trek. Best if luck

  12. #12
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    Chattooga river trail is definitely a good one. Park at the Hwy 28 Russell bridge and head upstream. My girlfriend is adverse to hills, and sometimes flats, but she enjoyed that. Good campsites on the river and at least one with chairs of river rock. A couple waterfalls not too far upstream where the chattooga meets the Foothills and more campsites.

    Another good one for the Chattooga is to park at the Fish Hatchery and hike the East Fork Chattooga trail 2.5 miles to the river where there is great camping.

    Also, Shining Rock Wilderness on the BRP would be a good one. Park on Black Balsam rd and enjoy breathtaking scenes on your hike in. One of my favorite areas in the south but gets a lot of traffic.

    South Mills river trail in Pisgah. Good camping on a short hike from Turkey Pen Gap.

    Jones gap trail in Jones Gap state park. Set up camp on the river and hike to Rainbow Falls.

  13. #13
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    Neusiok Trail in New Bern NC area is a great trail before bug season.

    Also so you should look at some loop hikes in Uwharrie National Forest in central nc.

  14. #14
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    01-06-2013
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    Mt. Oglethorpe, Ga
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philetus View Post

    So, does anybody have any suggestions for baby-step backpack camping in GA, NC, TN, SC or VA?

    -- Philetus
    (Only about 200 miles in; more than 2000 to go, but I'll get there)
    Three Forks to Long Creek Falls is beautiful, flat and only a 3 mile round trip.

  15. #15
    Section Hiker
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    Teach her the lock step! I have a much easier time hiking uphill now. Granted, my moves look a little like Frankenstein but it gets me to the top without stopping and without feeling totally winded and beat when I get there. Also, with the lock step, climb the hill at a slow, steady pace--however slow you have to go to progress consistently. This past weekend I likened it to a cog railway as I climbed some steep hills. Use rhythmic breathing as well, think Lamaze. The other things that helps me is that I use two hiking poles and going up, I don't put them out in front of me. I found this tempted me to pull on them which is hard on your arms and the poles--use your thigh muscles. My poles go only slightly forward of my body, but out to the sides. In theory, I think this feels better because it creates a more stabilized, wider surface area going up the hill.


    "Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.
    "


  16. #16
    Registered User Doughnut's Avatar
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    Panther Creek Falls in georgia or several falls trails in SC, Can't rememerb the names, there was a book "Waterfalls of South Carolina" or similiar, many are in and out hikes, not too far, not too steep.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmax View Post
    My wife is the same way. So for our first multiday day hike I took her to the Virginia Creeper Trail.
    I second this suggestion. If not the Creeper Trail, the AT int he
    Grayson Highlands section is really beautiful, reasonably mild, and has horses which is fun for everyone. There are alot of hikes i that area all you have to do is choose where to park, then hike to town and get a ride back to your car.

  18. #18
    Registered User
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    Dolly Sods has some pretty gentle terrain depending on which loop you take, and it is one of the most beautiful places I have been.

  19. #19
    Registered User Professor Paul's Avatar
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    05-22-2015
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    Google "rail trail." Rail trails are pretty common, often very nice, and usually easy. One here in central Maryland is the NCR or Torrey Brown Trail; it goes for about 20 or 25 miles through some very nice countryside and attracts folks with a similar aversion to hills. I got a guidebook for rail trails in WV/MD that has a lot of options. I'm sure there are guides for the areas you're looking at, too.

  20. #20
    Lnj's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slbirdnerd View Post
    Teach her the lock step! I have a much easier time hiking uphill now. Granted, my moves look a little like Frankenstein but it gets me to the top without stopping and without feeling totally winded and beat when I get there. Also, with the lock step, climb the hill at a slow, steady pace--however slow you have to go to progress consistently. This past weekend I likened it to a cog railway as I climbed some steep hills. Use rhythmic breathing as well, think Lamaze. The other things that helps me is that I use two hiking poles and going up, I don't put them out in front of me. I found this tempted me to pull on them which is hard on your arms and the poles--use your thigh muscles. My poles go only slightly forward of my body, but out to the sides. In theory, I think this feels better because it creates a more stabilized, wider surface area going up the hill.
    I am a woman who just recently discovered that I have developed exercise induced asthma. I take a hit on an inhaler about an hour before a hike to help me breathe on the climbs. I have heard of but have no knowledge of "the lock step". Can someone clue me in?
    " Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt. "

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