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  1. #1

    Default PT8 - Porters Gap to Flagg Mountain - A race To The Finish

    Here we are at the end of another long trail. This last trip was compressed from two 30 mile trips that needed to be done to complete the trail. The drive down to Alabama had become somewhat monotonous and so after some unneeded trail math, which goes right out the window the second you step on trail, I dedicated an additional day and a half to my weekend(Like how I worded that? Its another way of saying I took a vacation day) and setout for Talladega Thursday around noon. I had studied the weather pretty obsessively for a week prior and the forecast was nothing of hiker dreams...more like a nightmare! I had from Thursday to Sunday to cover 60 miles and the weather was to decline as the weekend went on...I knew I would be racing the weather timeclock if I wanted to stay out of the pouring rain.

    Now, I had two pleasantries on the Pinhoti. The first was on my first trip when I had the chance to eat lunch with Nimblewill Nomad on his way to Maine. The other being that I was able to bring a Pinhoti shuttler, and hiker veteran out of shuttle retirement for my last three trips. I will leave his name out to respect his wishes to remain shuttle retired but for those of you who know of him, he completed the Pinhoti five years in a row when he was a shuttle driver...It was a true honor to meet and form a friendship with him, he will be what I miss the most about the Pinhoti Trail.

    Ok, back to the story. On my way to Flagg Mountain from home(a 5 hour drive) I got a call from my shuttle friend and he let me know he was having some motorcycle issues and may be a little late. I thought hmm, bad weather(increases risk of a bailout), extended drive at southern terminus(less time for good weather walking at the start)I proposed we do the shuttle at the end of the hike. With the possibility of bad storms as well as some high mileage requirements to finish on time I thought it would be best to save him a second trip if I fell short, and to just pick me up wherever I end up getting to. He was relieved and agreed to this plan and so I was at Porters Gap an hour later and heading out!

    Thursday Night: 10 miles, camped along a string of overlook cliffs, the wind was wippin!
    Friday: 22 miles, Camped along the reroute south of Trammel. on Farout, the redline is still the original route however the blazes on trail have been changed, and there are POI's(Points of Interest) placed on the map where the red line would be. This reroute eliminated a considerable amount of road walking south of Trammel!
    Saturday: 21 miles, This was a grinding day with another reroute about 15 miles into the day just North of Weogufka, again eliminating some road walking! It rained on me for about 2 hours toward the end of the day, I had an ice cold Dr Pepper at the Weogufka Crossroads General Store, I setup camp on the side of the trail about 1.8 miles south past Weogufka. I was in my tent no more than 20 minutes before it started raining, that lasted the whole night. No better feeling that it pouring outside and your confidently dry in your tent. Whenever I have an ice cold soda on trail I will always think of Homer Witcher up in Virginia on the AT. He would always stop at some little store after picking me up and would get us both a cold soda Nostalgia.
    Sunday: 5 miles from camp to the terminus. 2.5 into the day I walked past the Weogufka Creek Shelter, with it still packed with several hikers, the rain started pouring like it was set in for the day however after not 5 minutes of heavy showers the rain was gone as quick as it had arrived. On down the trail I had a first time experience...I left something behind...My trekking poles..."That creek would have been easier to cross with my poles...Hey. Where are my poles!!??" It was a 1 mile back track, grabbed my poles and back down the trail and back over the creek crossing. Flagg Mountain was an easy climb, nothing crazy about it. The place was a ghost town. Clean and orderly, but a ghost town. I guess I had invisioned Billy Goat or Nimblewill sitting in a rocking chair at the host cabin, but it was a quiet Sunday and I had the mountain to myself. After scouting the place out as thoroughly as I had time for I continued on to the southern Terminus, a half mile walk down the mountain to a pavilion and sign. It literally started pouring rain the second I arrived. My shuttle friend arrived not 5 minutes later.

    Water: Watch yourself! Several nice water carries along this section, study your Farout comments for POC(Pinhoti Outdoor Center) water caches. This trail had its dry spells, I remember 3 times I drank ditch water on long road walks. I'm not gunna be the guy knocking on doors to borrow some water, so ditch water it is sometimes
    Cell Service: I had Verizon service basically the entire trip. Saturday night I could get text's out but that was it.
    This trail had some real highs and some real lows.
    Highs: The quantity of views with campsites on this trial was unreal. I haven't done a thorough dig yet but I think I had 7-8 spectacular campsites with views.
    Lows: Hands down the road walks. They suck and are at many times dangerous. I would encourage everyone to skip the 2 major road walks(Dalton, GA and Cave Springs GA), they are both 15+ miles on mostly busy roads.
    The middle ground: Water. The POC does an outstanding job putting water out, but other than that the trail was pretty hit or miss on water. It seemed like you got way more water than you needed, or none at all.

    Overall I would encourage others to hike the Pinhoti. It was well maintained thru out, I met very very few people. Perhaps 15 backpackers in total, no more than 30 people total. I would encourage other hikers to use the resources the POC provides and to give feedback, as feedback is an invaluable gift.

    So what's next?
    When I finished the AT I set out to complete the Sheltowee, Pinhoti and BMT. Well I am 2 trails down and less than 1 left to go however the Foothills Trail has been on my mind for a couple of years so I am going to knock it out and then set in on the BMT. I also have CDT2 coming up in May.

    Thank you for following my Pinhoti journey and if you have any planning/ logistics questions please reach out!
    Gambit signing off, happy trails
    Last edited by Gambit McCrae; 02-12-2024 at 10:37.
    Trail Miles: 5,154.2
    AT Map 1:
    ✔ | 13-21'
    Sheltowee Trace: ✔ | 20-23'
    Pinhoti Trail: ✔ | 23-24'
    Foothills Trail: ✔ | 24'
    GSMNP900: 134.7(17%)
    AT Map 2: 279.4
    CDT: 210.9
    BMT: 52.7

  2. #2
    Registered User Slugg's Avatar
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    Congratulations on finishing the Pinhoti!! Enjoyed your final report and your reports throughout.

    Planning to do the Foothills in one go? At your pace you could do it in 4 days.
    Appalachian Trail 16-
    Pinhoti Trail 17-20
    Benton MacKaye Trail 17-21
    Bartram Trail 22
    Foothills Trail 21
    Palmetto Trail 22-

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Slugg View Post
    Congratulations on finishing the Pinhoti!! Enjoyed your final report and your reports throughout.

    Planning to do the Foothills in one go? At your pace you could do it in 4 days.
    I would enjoy doing it in one go but I have a best friend that lives in Brevard and drive time is only 4 hours so I will probably end up doing it as 1 day hike and 2 weekends on trail.

    Thinking of doing Tablerock to Rocky bottom as a day hike next month when I go to Brevard. And then divide the 60 miles remaining into 2 - 30 mile weekends
    Trail Miles: 5,154.2
    AT Map 1:
    ✔ | 13-21'
    Sheltowee Trace: ✔ | 20-23'
    Pinhoti Trail: ✔ | 23-24'
    Foothills Trail: ✔ | 24'
    GSMNP900: 134.7(17%)
    AT Map 2: 279.4
    CDT: 210.9
    BMT: 52.7

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