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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexasBob View Post
    We definitely need a trip report afterwards.

    "but ya yadda yadda-ed over the best part"

  2. #22
    Registered User Shooting Star's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have a workable plan and lots of good suggestions. If you decide to hike less,
    consider parking at Massie Gap, backpack to Thomas Knob and get camp water. Then back-track
    to the meadow you passed just before getting to the shelter. Lot of good camping area here.
    Sometimes some of the ponies shelter here overnight. No big climbs on this section and lots of
    trail through the rocky spots and some loop possibilities without putting in big miles. Have a good trip!

  3. #23

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    You cook the food for both of you. Make sure she drinks enough water.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  4. #24

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    Lots of good ideas here. We discussed plans last night and so far we are firing on all cylinders! lol

    -Night Hiking - She was pretty excited to do this right out of the gate and I know that the trail from Elk Garden to Brier ridge has several tenting sites along the way, if it becomes too much we can always stop short.

    -Her Pack- I am going to set her up with my zpacks arc blast. We will be using comfy Exped sleeping pads and Montbell sleeping bags with some sea to summit pillows so all comfy there. She will carry her things, I will carry mine and shared items

    -Shoes- I told her a comfortable pair of running shoes would be sufficient for the amount of walking we will be doing matched with a pair of PhD Smartwool socks

    -Tent - I will be pulling out the Tarptent Cloudburst 3 for this hike. I want a roomy tent experience for her that can provide a great view from within.

    Overall she is very excited for the experience and the ponies but stress level is medium due to the unknowns. Now we wait for the weather report to become more accurate
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  5. #25
    Registered User Siestita's Avatar
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    "My plan is to drive to Elk Garden Friday night and do some night hiking up to Brier Ridge so that climb is half over sat morning, and to get a great sunrise opportunity."

    I infer that your Friday night priorities will be (1) finding a place, other than an established vehicle campground, to camp after driving into the area after dark; and (2) being up on a scenic ridge at dawn to get that "sunrise opportunity".

    Another way that could be accomplished would be for you to simply drive up White Top on the gravel road there. After crossing the AT near the excellent spring, that road continues all the way up White Top, dead ending amid view blocking trees in front of a communications installation. Potential campsites wth good views abound on White Top. After having a scenic breakfast on Saturday morning you could drive down the mountain and continue to the State Park. You could then backpack up to Rhododendron Gap, or to Thomas Knob, or to one of the many potential campsites located between those two spots. Water is available both at Thomas Knob and also about 250 yards south of Rhododendron Gap, across an open field. You would probably see ponies on both Saturday, hiking up Wilburn Ridge, and also on Sunday, descending to your car at the Massie Gap backpacker parking lot.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siestita View Post
    "My plan is to drive to Elk Garden Friday night and do some night hiking up to Brier Ridge so that climb is half over sat morning, and to get a great sunrise opportunity."

    I infer that your Friday night priorities will be (1) finding a place, other than an established vehicle campground, to camp after driving into the area after dark; and (2) being up on a scenic ridge at dawn to get that "sunrise opportunity".

    Another way that could be accomplished would be for you to simply drive up White Top on the gravel road there. After crossing the AT near the excellent spring, that road continues all the way up White Top, dead ending amid view blocking trees in front of a communications installation. Potential campsites wth good views abound on White Top. After having a scenic breakfast on Saturday morning you could drive down the mountain and continue to the State Park. You could then backpack up to Rhododendron Gap, or to Thomas Knob, or to one of the many potential campsites located between those two spots. Water is available both at Thomas Knob and also about 250 yards south of Rhododendron Gap, across an open field. You would probably see ponies on both Saturday, hiking up Wilburn Ridge, and also on Sunday, descending to your car at the Massie Gap backpacker parking lot.
    I've been up and over white top, I don't camp around road access- Just one of my safety rules along the trail. I have however done the walk up from Elk Garden to Brier ridge on 5 occasions in the dark and it is a pretty straight forward 3 mile walk to there along the AT. I know that by doing this in the cool of the night will be much more enjoyable then first thing in the morning. As well it will take 3 miles off of Saturday, give us a water source at camp as well as ponies Saturday morning with the sunrise.

    To previous comment -I have always seen ponies at Grayson.
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  7. #27
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    10-22-2002
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    I'd park at Grayson Highlands State Park and start there. Hike up to the AT, head left (sobo) up Wilburn Ridge. Right after you cross the fence into the USFS area, take the Rhododendron Gap horse trail to the right (NOT the VA Highlands Horse Trail that you cross at the fence. Repeat, NOT that one.) There are campsites immediately on your left, or walk out through the woods to the first really open area and look to the right. It's bumpy but there are places to tent. This is our usual tent spot when we drive up after work on Fridays -- and we've never seen anyone else here.

    The major advantage is the ponies. There are generally more of them in the state park and this area of Wilburn Ridge. You'll likely have them all around you in camp that night and the next morning.

    The next day you have many choices for continuing. You can do the loop hike with the Pine Mountain Trail over to the AT and come back around to your car that way. Plenty of camping options (I like the broad open summit of Stone Mountain.) If that's too far, then you could go climb the summit of Mt Rogers, then backtrack and spend the second night along the AT between Thomas Knob and Rhodo Gap. TONS of campsites here (and usually tons of people on weekends, too.)

    Have a great hike. Hoping your SO decides she loves it as much as mine does
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  8. #28

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    Well this past weekend was finally our time to go to the Highlands together. We have planned and rescheduled 2-3 weekends to wait for the perfect weather and we finally got about as close as your gunna get to perfect. She had a blast. Ended up doing 13 miles for the weekend and other than a sunburn and a tiny blister she did fantastic and loved her experience. Woke up to ponies on Briers ridge Saturday morning and after a day of walking around we ended back up at Briers ridge for a second night.

    Highpoints-
    Water was dry up from elk garden to briers ridge - 2 springs running between briers ridge and thomas knob.
    the rodos are in full peak bloom in grayson right now from Rodo Gap all the way thru pine mountian crest trail

    Pictures will come when I have time today
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
    AT Trips: 67
    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  9. #29
    illabelle's Avatar
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    Yay! Glad she enjoyed her trip. If the weather cooperates, I'm hoping to take the family to Carver's Gap this coming weekend. I've promised them they'll be astounded.

  10. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    Yay! Glad she enjoyed her trip. If the weather cooperates, I'm hoping to take the family to Carver's Gap this coming weekend. I've promised them they'll be astounded.
    Peak rodos is slated for wednesday. My trip isnt until NEXT weekend. Another year missed on rodos peak. I have only ever hit it 1 trip of peak out of 8-9 trips

  11. #31
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Awesome, glad she enjoyed it. Yay ponies
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  12. #32
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    Alert. My baby sis is missing. She's fond of ponies. Anyone aware of her whereabouts PM me.

  13. #33

  14. #34
    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Great pics!
    While searching for that unknown edge in life, never forget to look home. For the greatest edge you can find in life is to stand in the protective shadow of those who love you.

  15. #35

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    Sunsets in the highlands are otherworldly. Glad you both enjoyed it.

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