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  1. #1
    Registered User daveiniowa's Avatar
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    06-10-2015
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    Waterville, IA
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    Default How About Late Winter or Early Spring?

    I am itching to hike in GA again. I have not AT hiked since fall of 16. Would love to do an early Spring hike but I am concerned about crowds on the AT that time of year. Now thinking an early Spring or Late Winter, Feb-March, 50-75 miles on the BMT. Anyone hike the southern sections this time of year? Cold weather and snow not really an issue for me, I go out West and way up North regularly and have gear for ice and snow and low temps. Are Snow shoes recommended for February/March? How about ice cleats? Any section starts and finishes or loops you would recommend? I was going to add to the previous thread about Best time to Hike the BMT, but since I don't know the answer to that questions thought I would start this one. Thanks in advance hikers!!

  2. #2

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    A 75 mile February jaunt on the BMT should get you up to Watson Gap and just into the Cohuttas.

    I wouldn't worry about snowshoes in any way---very few winter backpackers in the Southeast mountains carry the extra weight of snowshoes.

    Plus, a good pair of all leather boots with some decent lug tread will work in most snow conditions here and so microspikes probably won't be needed.

    The southern part of the BMT is lower elevation than more northern sections and so what would be a full blown snowstorm at 5,000 will probably be just a butt cold rainstorm at 2,000 or 3,000 feet.

    BUT if we have a serious snow event like the Blizzard of '93, well, you'll be stuck in place unless you hitchhike out to the closest town. That storm hit around March 12 and shut down the mountains.

  3. #3

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    I've entirely hiked the Pinhoti Trail starting at Flagg Mt to the northern terminus at the BMT junction taking the BMT SOBO to Springer starting in late Jan with only a dusting of snow a couple of occasions. Most times it was ideal backpacking weather. No hikers until I spent the last night at Springer Mt shelter. There were maybe 8-10 hikers there. Did a BMT AT Figure 8 starting in late Feb, March going into Apr having to get off the hike for about a wk. The people I did encounter congregated at AT shelters and the one GSMNP BMT shelter. The BMT is not a crowded trail. You could start a BMT NOBO at Amicaloala Falls SP or Springer mt with very little crowd experiences in Mar and even Apr. If crowds are an issue don't focus on the AT in Mar and Apr in GA! I've done the GA Loop a few times twice in winter. Once in Jan. Once in Feb. Some ice. Minimal snow depth at 3" or less. No need for snowshoes.


    If you like northern GA hiking vast opportunities abound beyond limiting yourself to the AT.

  4. #4
    Leonidas
    Join Date
    04-26-2016
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    Birmingham, Alabama
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    Default

    Just curious, why not do a spring BMT? It is pretty much never crowded since everyone is on the AT.
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/user/tehJC13

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by JC13 View Post
    Just curious, why not do a spring BMT? It is pretty much never crowded since everyone is on the AT.
    That's true. I was on the BMT for like 14 days in December and didn't see a single thruhiker.

  6. #6
    Registered User daveiniowa's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JC13 View Post
    Just curious, why not do a spring BMT? It is pretty much never crowded since everyone is on the AT.
    Probably because I'm just having south east backpacker withdraw and can't wait that long. And I think I can get away then, 2 day drive for me down there just to start hiking. I would be lying if I didn't enjoy making friends on the AT and hiking in and out of groups and getting to know people for a few days. But also love that feeling of being so remote and really depending on yourself. After hiking out west solo I really found that to be very gratifying. And I wouldn't mind some weather challenges it may present.

    I am guessing the same shuttle contacts I have used around that area for the AT would work there too?? Any suggestions?
    "Hell ain't half full. Hike on!" - Chena

  7. #7
    Leonidas
    Join Date
    04-26-2016
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    Birmingham, Alabama
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by daveiniowa View Post
    Probably because I'm just having south east backpacker withdraw and can't wait that long. And I think I can get away then, 2 day drive for me down there just to start hiking. I would be lying if I didn't enjoy making friends on the AT and hiking in and out of groups and getting to know people for a few days. But also love that feeling of being so remote and really depending on yourself. After hiking out west solo I really found that to be very gratifying. And I wouldn't mind some weather challenges it may present.

    I am guessing the same shuttle contacts I have used around that area for the AT would work there too?? Any suggestions?
    Ron Brown 706.669.0919 or [email protected]
    AT: 471 mi

    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/user/tehJC13

  8. #8

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    Is the BMT fairly well maintained?

    Shaker

  9. #9

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    Suffering from southeast backpacker withdrawal doesn't need to be addressed by limiting yourself to the AT, BMT or GA. For late Winter early spring there are fewer people on all to begin with anyway. Want some weather challenges but possibly acceptable with shuttle availability and it has to be those trails look into the BMT through GSMNP or go to the BMTA for suggested AT/BMT Loops. The BMTA site provides logistical pre hike planning info - resupply, shuttles, trail beta, etc. Seeking a winter 500 miler or less that's what I've done. Late winter on much of the BMT you'll generally have it to yourself. The BMT in itself is a less crowded affair made more so with your timeframe. IMO, don't restrict yourself to GA for your timeframe in what you seek.

    Another good alternative is the Foothills Tr with perhaps slightly more agreeable weather for a late winter/early spring romp. Try to time it with the Oconee bells bloom time. It's southeast Blue Ridge Escarpment single track waterfall and botanical therapy at some of its best. Go to the FHTC site to get beta including shuttle info. You can fly into and out of Greenville Spartanburg AP. I've employed Hayward Douglas from the FHTC shuttle list who has been exceptionally agreeable to exceptionally financially reasonable shuttles from/to Asheville NC and Greenville SC for my FHT hikes. He's plugged into the FHT too so can offer much behind the scenes FHT insight I've always found enjoyable having him share. I have to note the FHT is but part of a much larger interconnected southeast trail system so it's not overly difficult to do less or many more miles/days than the typically quoted FHT mileage/trip timeframe. This area is a southeast gem!


    One can also fly in/out of Atlanta's Hartsfield AP getting AT shuttles to and from Amicalola Falls SP in upstate GA doing a AT/BMT Loop with added lollipop stick between Springer Mt and AF SP. Late winter after a warm spell and early spring is when AF is pumping. Consider GA has built a SP around this waterfall so it must hold interest for a large number of folks for good reason. YMMV but it has been my southeast backpacking assessment the Approach Trail is a worthy add on for a southeast hiking experience most notably when the falls are really at high volume.

  10. #10

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    The BMT is fairly very well maintained but it doesn't always receive the consistent higher maintenance as the AT receives. There is some seasonal maintenance fluctuations that CAN marginally impact trail conditions but IMHO that's mostly a late spring to late summer impact in not having downed trees and briars/raspberries/blackberries addressed. i.e.; thorns, brushy trail. IMO most BMT hikers will benefit carrying trail descriptions, guidebook pamphlets, and or BMT maps. The BMTA site covers the three NG TI maps that cover the entirety of the BMT and the three guidebook(glossy pamphlets) are very light wt. The pamphlets are not WP however unless that has recently changed.

  11. #11

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    Awesome! Thanks for the helpful info, Dogwood.

    Shaker

  12. #12

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    Thank you. If we can facilitate shining some light on your trip options that juices me. I don't do all this backpacking and sharing for myself. LOL.

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