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  1. #1
    Registered User Plodderman's Avatar
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    Default Hiking Springer to Fontana

    Last year we hiked the Smokies in five days and now I am thinking about hiking from Springer to Fontana. Anyone have any opinions on when is a good time and your thoughts of this part of the trail?

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    Pretty much anytime is okay to Fontana. Crowds in March and April, but fun hiking...

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    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    I hiked that exact stretch this past May, starting the 15th if I remember right. Still had some Thru Hikers starting out. Weather was warm mostly, very few insect problems, water was plentiful. The only drawback was that some of the hostels were closed for the season, and fewer shuttles available. This didn't turn out to be a major problem. Hiawassee Inn still came to the trail and provided excellent services. Tho' Ron Haven was not able to pick us up at the trail, he did get his bus out to shuttle a group of us back to the trail.

    Trail itself was not as difficult as anticipated or reputed to be. Strenuous in some parts? yes. Arduous? no.

    Enjoy your hike.

    Not sure if this was an ideal time, but it was very pleasant.

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    first week of may or late september

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    Registered User Plodderman's Avatar
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    Thanks right now I am considering the first two weeks of June maybe May.

    Lyle -- how long did it take you and how many miles a day did you hike.

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    You're gonna love it! I'll prolly see you out there.
    I'm not really a hiker, I just play one on White Blaze.

  7. #7
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plodderman View Post
    Thanks right now I am considering the first two weeks of June maybe May.

    Lyle -- how long did it take you and how many miles a day did you hike.
    I allowed myself 17 days. Planned no zero days.

    In actuality I used 16 days, started at 1:30 on the first day (-1/2 day), took one zero day at Hiawassee (-1 day), and one half day off at NOC (-1/2day). Got into Fontana in time for the breakfast buffet on the last day, so before noon (-1/2 day). All together, I guess that was 13 1/2 days actually hiking.

    170 miles/13.5 = 12.59 miles/day.Tried to keep the miles below 10 for the first week, but didn't succeed. Think my shortest day was 6 miles, longest about 19.5. This was a nice, comfortable pace. I always like to build in some extra time when I go out so that I can do things like sitting around NOC for half a day eating, doing laundry, relaxing, and still not worry about HAVING to make miles. I almost always end up fininshing a hike a day or two earlier than I have to, keeps the entire trip more relaxed and enjoyable.

    Have fun.

  8. #8
    Registered User Plodderman's Avatar
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    Lone Wolf how is the traffic in early May with Thru Hikers.

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    Registered User Plodderman's Avatar
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    Thanks Lyle, I usually average about 15 miles a day.

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    I started the Approach trail on April 23 and made it to Fontana on 5-6. My longest day was 22miles into Fontana, and my shortest was 6 coming out of Unicoi Gap. I didn't take any zeros, but if I were to do it again, I would definately take one at NOC. Most of the thru hiker herd was ahead of me, but by the time I made it through the Smokies I was catching up to a lot of them. I really liked this stretch. That time of year was especially cool because the trees on the mountain tops were just starting to get leaves but as you walk into NOC the trees were in full force. I also liked Woody Gap to Unicoi Gap. Several different types of Trillium, all in full bloom in early May.

  11. #11

    Default Hiking Springer to Fontana

    I am planning on leaving May 7 from Springer and hike through Hot Springs. Planning on 29 days or less, maybe I'll see ya out there.

  12. #12
    Registered User Plodderman's Avatar
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    Toolumpy You might as I am thinking about leaving the same time. I have to move a little faster as I have a son graduating form High School and need to be back the the end of May. I can get way with being gone for a week or two but three weeks would be hard. Planning on 16 days.

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    GA-VA 2005, VA-CT 2007, CT-ME ??
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    I've done the same stretch leaving April 22 and May 21. Both were pleasant as far as water, weather, bugs, and scenery were concerned. I saw a lot more people on the April start.

    The May hike I made it to Fontana in a week. During the April departure I arrived in an unhurried 12 or 13 days later, if I recall correctly.

    -Mark

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    First half of May is my favorite time of year to be hiking down here on the very southern part of the AT. Minimal bugs, cool nights, warm days with refreshing thundershowers every now and then, fresh leaves on the trees, wildflowers in bloom, etc.etc. Gosh it's going to be a long winter!

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    Registered User Plodderman's Avatar
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    daddytwosticks yes it is going to be a long winter but I have my maps out right now doing a little planning and this gets me through.

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