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  1. #1
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    Default First section hike

    Three of us are going on a hike as beginners from Indiana for about five days. It is me ,my 10 year old son and my father-in-law. We were wondering where would be a good place to do a section hike. We were thinking about West Virginia,Kentucky. or Tennessee area. Any sugestions?

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    when?

  3. #3
    Registered User BigBlue's Avatar
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    If it's in warm weather how about from Damascus, VA south to Watauga Lake, it's only about 40 miles and pretty easy terain for the mountains. With a 10 year old and a father in law I wouldn't want to go much more than that.

  4. #4

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    If this is your first hike then I wouldn't go to the A.T. -- gotta be some good hiking a lot closer to you. If you like it then I'd commit to the longer hours in the car.

    If you want to hike the A.T. then the suggestion to hike near Damascus in SW VA is a good one. I'd do Grayson HIghlands (see the wild ponies) and probably spend a day biking down the Creeper Trail.

  5. #5
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    Carvers Gap to Dennis Cove Road or US321. You can keep short days short and easy, you are starting at over 5000 feet so most of it is downhill, and Roan Highlands is the prettiest part of the trail I have done.

  6. #6
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    Default indiana hiking

    Hi
    A lot closer to you is.......

    the Knobstone trail in Indiana. Lots of info on the internet. It has some nice hills, and i believe it is about 70 miles long.

    You could use two cars and it would be easy for your son to learn on it. Nice and close for you to check your gear out, and if your son likes it you could do it early in the spring and move on to a little tougher hike later in the year.

    Other than that i like the Damascus idea...........

  7. #7
    Registered User rpenczek's Avatar
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    Default Indiana Backpacking

    The Knobstone (KT) in Souther Indiana is a great trail, but water is very difficult to find. I am not a fan of caching water for fear someone will either dump it or mess with it before I arrive. When we hike the AT, we keep water in our Autos and shuttle the cars from trail head to trail head always allowing us to have water. We camp near the trail heads each night (you are supose to be 1 mile away from a road, we break this rule).

    Example, Drop a car with water at your ending trail head, drive to your beginning and then hike. when you arrive at the ending, go and get the first car and then do the same process the next morning.

    The KT is pretty difficult for first timers and old timers. There are lots of PUDs (pointless ups and downs) and the trail was not built with switch backs. So up is UP. My boys (scouts) struggled much more with the KT than they did with the AT in and around Grayson Highlands in VA.

    There are really good spots in Indiana for first time and inexperience backpackers. Try the Deam Wilderness just south of Lake Manore. You can camp along the lake (water) if you use the Peninsula Trail. The attached is a good map of the Deam.

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/hoosier/recr...wilderness.pdf

    Our typical route is to park a car at the blackwell camp groud (wtih water). Then drive East the next ltrail head (east). From there on Friday afternoon we hike 5 miles out to the lake on the Peninsula Trail. On Saturday we hike the Northwestern half of the Grub Ridge loop to Blackwell and then on Sundy morning we hike the southern portion on Grub Ridge (along tower ridge road) back to our first car. (about 15 miles for the weekend). I have found this to be an ideal route for new backpackers (1st and 2nd year boy scouts).

    Happy packing.

  8. #8
    Registered User rpenczek's Avatar
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    If you are set on the AT, I can tell you we had a really good time in and around Grayson Highlands in VA. We began our hike at the Hurrican Campgroud north of Damasucs, hiking south, we camped first at fox creek, the next night just north of the Wise shelter, the next night at Elk Garden, the next night at Lost Mountain Shelter and ended at the Bear Treee Camp ground (38 miles). I beleive a 10 year old on a few weekend warm ups could easily do this section of the AT and the wild ponys in Grayson are a treat.

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    Max patch is right. You guys should do a closer backpacking trip just in case its not what you expected. Its a lot differnt sitting in a nice warm house in front of a computer talking about hiking and then being in the rain and cold for three days. You dont want to make your kid not like hiking. Do a easy hike and just have a fun time instead of trying to knock out a bunch of miles on your first trip.

  10. #10

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    I agree that you should probably try something a little closer to home. The Deam Wilderness area is a great place to introduce your son to backpacking; the Adventure Hiking Trail in the Harrison-Crawford State Forest (about 1/2 hour west of Louisville) is another great spot, a little more challenging than Deam. Lots of info on both on the web. The AHT is a 24 mile loop trail, easily doable in 3 days/2 nights, with some challenging hills and a view or two. You will need to cache water near road crossings before your hike. I have heard the Knobstone Trail is the closest thing in Indiana to the AT, but have not seen it for myself.

    If you are set on going to the AT, I would recommend te Shenandoah National Park. The grades are fairly reasonable; there are plenty of shelters and campgrounds (with stores and showers); and you are never very far from Skyline Drive if you need to get off the trail in a hurry. This is where I introduced my son and three of his friends to the trail.

  11. #11
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Ditto on Shenandoah Natl. Park. If going this summer after school expect the park to be busy ,especially weekends. I would do a midweek outing unless throngs of people aren't a concern. Maybe this economy will change that. Last summers high gas prices saw a decline in number of people visiting the park.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  12. #12
    Springer - Front Royal Lilred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenczek View Post
    We camp near the trail heads each night (you are supose to be 1 mile away from a road, we break this rule).

    I have never heard of this 'rule' on the AT. Only place I know of where camping is restricted near a road is in Shenendoah and it is a lot less than a mile away from the road.
    "It was on the first of May, in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceable habitation on the Yadkin River, in North Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America." - Daniel Boone

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lilred View Post
    I have never heard of this 'rule' on the AT. Only place I know of where camping is restricted near a road is in Shenendoah and it is a lot less than a mile away from the road.
    I don't believe it's a rule in the legalistic sense. Rather, it's considered a safe camping practice.

  14. #14
    Registered User rpenczek's Avatar
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    Default I was not Clear

    On the KT (not AT, I typed AT in my prior post, when I ment to type KT "Knobstone Trail"), you are supose to camp 1 mile from any road (ie trail head), but because of water and the way we shuttle cars between trail heads and the lack of water through out the trail, we camp within 1000 yards of trail heads so we have water each day.

  15. #15
    Section Hiking Knucklehead Hooch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Newbe View Post
    We were wondering where would be a good place to do a section hike.......We were thinking about.....Kentucky......Any sugestions?
    Yes, avoid Kentucky. The AT doesn't go through it.
    "If you play a Nicleback song backwards, you'll hear messages from the devil. Even worse, if you play it forward, you'll hear Nickleback." - Dave Grohl

  16. #16
    Springer - Front Royal Lilred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rpenczek View Post
    On the KT (not AT, I typed AT in my prior post, when I ment to type KT "Knobstone Trail"), you are supose to camp 1 mile from any road (ie trail head), but because of water and the way we shuttle cars between trail heads and the lack of water through out the trail, we camp within 1000 yards of trail heads so we have water each day.
    Ohhh Ok well that makes sense now.
    "It was on the first of May, in the year 1769, that I resigned my domestic happiness for a time, and left my family and peaceable habitation on the Yadkin River, in North Carolina, to wander through the wilderness of America." - Daniel Boone

  17. #17
    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    :banana

    Quote Originally Posted by Newbe View Post
    Three of us are going on a hike as beginners from Indiana for about five days. It is me ,my 10 year old son and my father-in-law. We were wondering where would be a good place to do a section hike. We were thinking about West Virginia,Kentucky. or Tennessee area. Any sugestions?
    The only trails I know right around eastern Kentucky area are the Cumberland Trail at Cumberland Gap Park. Then Pine Mountain Trail.
    The TN/NC Appy Trail has the reputation of getting people addicted to hiking. Maybe hit Sams Gap or Erwin to 19E. Or hit a lot of ridgetop by doing Dennis Cove to Damascus. Or do a long stretch or a loop in the Mt Rogers Rec Area in Virginia.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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  18. #18

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    Here's another thought for you. The Sheltowee Trace runs N to S 270 miles through eastern KY. I have not been on it--maybe there are others on WB who have. Check it out at www.sheltoweetrace.com.

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