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  1. #1

    Default ISO buddy(s) to hike Pinhoti, BMcKaye, or Great Smokies, spring break 3-27 / 4-02

    hi,

    I'm an experienced backpacker but also enjoy helping others get into the adventure, so if you can hike 10 miles (up to 15-18) per day, consider joining me for 4 to 6 nights in either of the places I mentioned in the title. You could even meet up for less than 4 nights if we arrange vehicle shuttles to get everybody back to their vehicle or public transportation.

    If you prefer the Pinhoti, I want to do the northern part in AL since I just walked the southern part up to Cheaha TH after Christmas.

    If you prefer to hike in Great Smokies (my first choice if I have the time to get there) we can do a long loop from one trailhead instead of having to position 2 cars if it helps. I've got all the maps and trail guides for GSNP, so we can plan just about anything we agree on; just realize that if you want to hike the AT, it will be critical to get shelter reservations in 30 days in advance. My first pick would be a less traveled route through the old growth forest on NC side.

    I have walked almost none of the Benton McKaye , so have no preference except not really wanting to do the BMK through the Smokies because it is mostly along Fontana Lake with little view of old growth forest.

    I don't mind sharing advice if you need it, or if you are as experienced as me, we can just "show and go" although hope we can chat enough before hand to find out if we will enjoy the company as well as the views. I'm a volunteer at my local school is why I need to do this during their spring break; any time between March 25 to April2. I could go a little later or earlier if necessary to your plans though.

    Edwin

  2. #2
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    Hi Ed,PM sent.

  3. #3

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    FEB 19 UPDATE GREAT SMOKY Mountains up to 7 night Backpack


    going during AL public school spring break 3-25/4/1 : 2 loops in Great Smoky Mountains. Newbies and novices welcome only if you are in shape to walk 10 miles each day. I have one friend from Tallahassee that has committed to go and we are going to do 2 loops (exact route still not set) from the North Carolina side of the Smokies. We will try to pick two different 3 to 3 1/2 day loops. Most likely with moving vehicles to a second location. Mitch and I can walk up to 18 miles per day on moderate difficulty trails, so we may plan on a 14-15 mile per day average, but we will plan the route based on 10-12 mile days if we have others interested that want less mileage. Also if you could only join us for one of the loops that would be fine. Later I will post exact route and expected time to return to vehicle in between the loops. Car pool is possible with me . I expect to leave early Sat am and pass through Montgomery about 6:30am Sat 3/25 and expect to finish the hike before 3pm Sat 4/01 so I can arrive back home by midnight.
    Last edited by ednotmilkman; 02-20-2017 at 03:51.

  4. #4

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    Post your route plans when you know them. I will be in the smoky mtn area around that time

  5. #5

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    Feb 26 Update
    OK friends and future companions, it has taken me a lot longer than I thought to get a 4 day, 3 night loop together. And this is only half of what I hope to hike. If interested, please tell me what you think of this and we can make adjustments as needed. After picking another loop, we could decide to do this one last also if that would help in some way. I want to pick another loop of similar distance except have the last day the shortest so I'll have more time to drive home on Sat April 1. I want to get in reservations by March 5 if possible. Reservations cost $4 per person per night, but if we have 7 nights planned at one time, there is a savings as the max per person per trip is only $20, vs. $4x7nights= $28. I will not pay for a companion that is not active in discussing what we want to do. So far it is just me and Mitch, as we had a successful 2 night hike in early Feb.


    Start from Deep Creek TH, north of Bryson City, NC. (don't know exactly where this is in relation to campground, but campground will still be closed)
    Loop hike of a total 47.8 miles approx.


    Planned start Sat. March 25 no later than 2pm. If however, we can arrive early, we could amend our permit to walk farther on 1st day, if they allow changes "on site"? I have not done a trip since the new computerized permit system?


    Day 1- 4.8 miles - up Deep Cr., then East on Indian Cr. , and east again on Deep Plow to campsite #51
    Day 2- 17.3mi - East on Deep Plow Gap Trl all the way to Mingus Cr., then north on Mingus Cr to Newton Bald,
    west to Thomas Divide and short N zig zag to Sunkota Ridge, west on Martin'sGap then up Deep Cr., to campsite #54
    Day 3- 15.8mi - Continue N up Deep Cr. then west on Fork Ridge to AT at Mt Collins, west on AT to Collins Gap then over on Clingman Dome Rd to Noland Divide Trl. , south on Noland Divide, then west on Noland Cr. to campsite #61 .
    Day 4- 9.9mi - return east to Noland Divide and then down full length of this trail back to Deep CR TH.

    Looks like 0.4 mile walk on road from Noland Div TH to Deep Cr. TH.

    If Day 2 looks to ambitious, we can shorten that day a little or a lot by skipping Mingus Creek. Instead continue north on either Thomas Divide or even less by backtracking to Indian Creek and then north.

    At the end of this section hike, I hope to have time to drive to another Trailhead, probably Smokemont area, and hike in to the next campsite but if necessary, we could car camp at Smokemont.
    Edwin
    Last edited by ednotmilkman; 02-26-2017 at 22:29. Reason: more info

  6. #6
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    I've already got camping plans for spring break...

    But having hiked the area you're talking about... my personal recommendation would be to camp at Newton Bald (#52) the 2nd night.

    Day 1: 4.2 miles - Deep Creek Campground to #51
    Not the best camp site, but a good position to move on to Newton Bald for the 2nd night.
    Day 2: 9 miles - #51 to #52 via Deeplow Gap.
    There is an interesting water fall between Thomas Divide and Cooper Creek trails. I like the Newton Bald campsite (can't say why).
    Can add an additional mile if you want to hike to the end of Cooper Creek Trail and back.
    Day 3: 12 miles - #52 to #61 via most direct path
    Nothing special along the trail that day, but I do like the creek side camp site at #61.
    Day 4: 9-1/2 miles - #61 to Deep Creek Campground via Noland Divide
    Look for a small side path about half way down Noland Divid for the Lonesome Pine Overlook. The distance includes the 0.5 road walk back to the parking area in Deep Creek.


    A 4 night loop I've researched in the area is the Lakeshore Loop.
    Day 1: 5-1/2 miles - End of the 'Road to Nowhere' to #75.
    Starts with a walk thru a 2,000' long tunnel.
    Day 2: 8.8 miles - #75 to #83
    Includes a short side hike to High Rocks, the site of a former fire tower.
    For an additional 3.6 miles, include a side trip up Bone Vally from the campsite to the most remote house still standing in the park.
    Day 3: 8.6 miles - #83 to #81
    See the remains of the Lumber Mill that was the old town of Proctor.
    For an additional 1.6 miles, you can hike the Hazel Creek Access Trail from Proctor to Fontana Lake
    Day 4: 10.8 miles - #81 to #98
    (Haven't hiked this section of trail yet)
    Day 5: 8.6 miles - #98 back to Trail Head.
    Rather than a 2nd walk thru the tunnel, you can use Tunnel Bypass trail for an extra mile.
    Goldmine Loop adds 2 miles compared to walking thru the tunnel.

    Given all the campsites along Lakeshore, this could also be done as a 3 night loop, but I haven't mapped out a plan for 3 nights.

  7. #7
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Quote Originally Posted by ednotmilkman View Post
    Start from Deep Creek TH, north of Bryson City, NC. (don't know exactly where this is in relation to campground, but campground will still be closed)
    There is a parking lot past the camp ground near the "drop off loop" that IS the Deep Creek Trailhead. If you look in Google Earth, you can see the parking lot it at the following coordinate:
    35 27.854'N
    83 26.077'W

  8. #8

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    thanks for the help hookoo,

    There is another person considering going, but only for first 3 days, 2 nights. I may switch around and do a short loop northeast from Smokemont, then lengthen the loop from Deep Creek, (or switch TH to end of "nowhere rd") to 5 days, 4 nights. Also if we have 2 vehicles for the whole trip, we could take a car to NF Gap and start the hike with some AT walking and then downhill to the lower campsites.

  9. #9
    Registered User gollwoods's Avatar
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    75 to 83 wet wide Creek crossing could be fast in spring

    Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Registered User DSPeabody's Avatar
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    Looks like you guys are all set for a great trip. I just found this thread a little late logistically for me to make it work, but I'm looking for partners for GSMNP trips. 2, 3 and 4 nighters are fairly doable for me from a time standpoint. Anything longer and I need more lead time to get the time off from work. Any chance of another trip over the summer or maybe in the early fall?

    Thanks, DS

  11. #11

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    hi DS,
    We went back to a 3 night loop from Deep Creek first, then 4th night option to car camp at Smokemont unless we arrive early; or we reserved Kephart Shelter near our 2nd section start for no car camping. 2nd section starts with 1 vehicle at New Found Gap , going east on, then off, then on AT again to Balsam Mtn Trl, then looping back south and west to Smokemont again, for 3 or 4 nights.
    We will report back after the trip, then chat with us about the next Smokies trip. I won't do another Smokies hike until fall or winter, if I can find a good buddy to do 2 weeks on the AT somewhere north of Harpers Ferry.

  12. #12
    Registered User DSPeabody's Avatar
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    I'd be up for some fall or even winter camping in the Park later this year. Keep me posted. I'll start checking in here regularly.

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