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  1. #1
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    Default tricky water spots between hot springs and damascus?

    no idea if this is the right spot to post this.

    last year i painted myself into a less than ideal corner in VA where for 12 or so miles between laurel creek and niday shelters the choices for water are a cow pasture and dropping nearly a mile off trail to scoop cap fulls of water at a time out of a little tiny pool at sarver hollow.

    in retrospect all the information i needed to avoid this was staring me right in the face, but i just didn't make a big even enough mental note about it until it was too late i guess.

    i'm hiking hot springs to damascus soon, can anyone think of any similar spots in that stretch one should be particularly careful about?

  2. #2

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    I went through this section in mid May. It was raining a lot that year, and can't recall any water concerns. I'd already been on the trail for a month at that point, and got my "not enough water" stupidity out of way down in Georgia. After that, I paid a lot more attention to Guthook/AWOL each morning to plan out how much water to carry at various points in the day. At most it was the kind of thing, where I'd load up the dirty water bag and carry that for half a day, but nothing that called for more extreme measures.

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    thanks. no guthooks or awol here, though this water issue i got myself into last year might be the best reason to consider getting it i've run into. in fairness, there were tons of signs at laurel creek warning of no water ahead, but the surprise that complicated things was where the next water was and what it's state was. thats information i had read and didn't full process/forgot.

    figure if i make a point of hearing about them ahead of time this time i won't overlook them.

  4. #4

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    AWOL was great for water sources, and Guthook was even better. It's nice to know in advance if you can avoid carrying that extra two liters up the side of the mountain. Spring half way up, can start with a half liter, and save lifting 5 pounds 2,000 feet. Guthook was especially handy after the third time I spent 10 minutes filling up water from a tiny trickle... only to walk another 300 feet and find the actual flowing spring.

    Looks like the longest dry stretch is the 8 miles south of Ervin, nothing far at all.

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    Just did Hot Springs to 19E last week. There was plenty of rain during my trip so that helped, but water in this stretch was not a concern at all. It was also my first time using Guthooks, and I've come to really like it. I used pdf AWOL for kind of a macro view of the upcoming day and for planning, but Guthooks was my go-to for on-trail beta. It inspires confidence knowing the "unreliable" water source 5 miles ahead was in fact flowing the previous day. Things like that.
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    AWOL was great for water sources, and Guthook was even better. It's nice to know in advance if you can avoid carrying that extra two liters up the side of the mountain. Spring half way up, can start with a half liter, and save lifting 5 pounds 2,000 feet. Guthook was especially handy after the third time I spent 10 minutes filling up water from a tiny trickle... only to walk another 300 feet and find the actual flowing spring.

    Looks like the longest dry stretch is the 8 miles south of Ervin, nothing far at all.
    cool, thanks.

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    Registered User LittleRock's Avatar
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    Yeah, I had issues with that part of VA too - ended up walking with zero water for a few miles a couple times. Never any real danger but it always rattles my nerves a bit knowing I've got nothing to drink.

    Probably the worst part (it's really not that bad) between Hot Springs and Damascus is the 40-ish mile segment south of Damascus. There are water sources, but you have to be careful which ones you choose as some of them involve steep drops of 1/4 mile or more from trail.

    FWIW, this May has been pretty dry here in NC, and there's no rain expected for at least another week, so water might be more of an issue than usual this time of year.
    It's all good in the woods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleRock View Post
    Yeah, I had issues with that part of VA too - ended up walking with zero water for a few miles a couple times. Never any real danger but it always rattles my nerves a bit knowing I've got nothing to drink.

    Probably the worst part (it's really not that bad) between Hot Springs and Damascus is the 40-ish mile segment south of Damascus. There are water sources, but you have to be careful which ones you choose as some of them involve steep drops of 1/4 mile or more from trail.

    FWIW, this May has been pretty dry here in NC, and there's no rain expected for at least another week, so water might be more of an issue than usual this time of year.
    never really felt danger, just hadnt planned on and didnt want to spend the time and energy to drop all the way down off the ridge and then sit for 30 mins scooping caps of water

    thanks for the heads up about just south of damascus, will try and look at that closely when ig et near there

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    A couple of tips on water thru there; There is a good spring right next to the picnic table where US 421 crosses the trail about 15 miles south of Damascus (unlikely place), also 1.7 miles before the Vandeventer shelter is a good spring right on the trail, don't wait to get to the shelter, the water source is WAY down hill; there are other good places in this stretch, Iron Mtn shelter has spring right before you get to it. Hope this helps.

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    the last few miles before erwin sucked, thats for sure.

    the other spot that became tricky (needlessly) was near beauty spot. beauty spot gap was dry and some (very) clueless weekenders i made the mistake of asking told me the next water source was also dry. it wasnt. not even close. but i didnt discover that until a whole big to do which ended with getting water from the spot thats about 1/2 mile down the road from the trail.

    otherwise no issue, though a lot of sections were hot and dry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tdoczi View Post
    the last few miles before erwin sucked, thats for sure.

    .
    I dont know about sucked
    But its a drier section. Can be 20 mi without source in october in drought yr.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    I dont know about sucked
    But its a drier section. Can be 20 mi without source in october in drought yr.
    there was just something particularly unpleasant about walking in the blazing afternoon sun, with very little shade, through a dustbowl, with a giant river in sight (and audible) below you for an hour or more.

    it really wasnt about water, as i had water. but it was that sort of so dry kind of place that you in inhale the dirt as you walk.

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    I'm not sure why south of Erwin would suck. There's a good water source right on trail just before you get to the No Business shelter going NOBO. After that it's only another 6 miles or so to Erwin.

    If you were out last week, I'm sorry. It was wicked hot and dry here in Raleigh last week. Very unusual for this time of year.
    It's all good in the woods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleRock View Post
    I'm not sure why south of Erwin would suck. There's a good water source right on trail just before you get to the No Business shelter going NOBO. After that it's only another 6 miles or so to Erwin.

    If you were out last week, I'm sorry. It was wicked hot and dry here in Raleigh last week. Very unusual for this time of year.
    yup, hot and dry. i'm sure in different conditions its better. but that was the one prolonged stretch where the weather being slightly warmer than ideal turned things unpleasant.

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