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  1. #1
    http://bamahiker.blog.com/ Freedom Walker's Avatar
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    Default My First section hike

    I went on a backpacking trip in SMNP last Oct and had such a good time, I thought I wanted to try hiking the AT some day. Since then I have spend hundreds of dollars replacing old heavy gear, buying better gear. I have gone on a few single night trips, practicing with my new gear. I have been going to the gym to get in shape. I won't be able to attempt a thru until retirement, so I decided Section hiking is the best chance I have. I want to do a modest trip first, so on Sept 23, Myself, my son, and a friend are starting at Springer and hiking to Neels taking three days. Its a modest start, and I hope to do longer sections next year, Maybe the whole month of Sept. I have a few questions for those who know this section. Is the water sources good this time of year. On Saturday, we plan on hiking the 12 miles between Gooch Mt shelter to Woods hole. If we want to hike less that day are there campsites between the two shelters that water is available. What other advice do any of you have for three AT beginners. I am pumped up and ready to Go!
    Freedom Walker, I am free to Walk, I am free to Run, I m free to live for You Lord Jesus, I am FREE!

    He who the Son sets free, is free indeed.
    Visit my blog Free To Hike

  2. #2
    Springer to Atkins, VA
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    Default

    Have a great hike...take it slow...enjoy the moment with your son. Water should be OK...enough streams to cross should all be running....take the side trail to Long Creek falls...well worth the time. If my memory serves me well...small campsite just after the side trail to Dockery lake....about 7 miles north of Gooch Mountain shelter. For what it's worth...I would by-pass Woods Hole shelter (almost a half mile off the trail) and walk on to Slaughter Creek campsite....about 1/2 mile past to trail to Woods hole shelter....save some time....and camp at a good campsite....only problem...use to be a ban on campfires at this site. How are you getting to springer?...shuttle...drop-off? cheers.

  3. #3
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    Default 3 days/2 nights ?

    Depending on start time and how late you want to end on day three, it might be less than real fun. You might want to add one more day/night and relax a bit.

  4. #4

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    Here's my advice: If you were to section hike as many weekends, holidays and vacations as possible, you'd making hiking as much a part of your life (maybe more) as any thru-hiker. It doesn't have to be done all at once. Now that I've completed the PCT, it's like now what? That's it? No way! I'm going to hike little pieces of it again and again, and if not the PCT, then other trails. I feel like I need to get out there soon, too. Real life is on the trail and I miss it!
    Some knew me as Piper, others as just Diane.
    I hiked the PCT: Mexico to Mt. Shasta, 2008. Santa Barbara to Canada, 2009.

  5. #5

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    Have a fabulous time
    ad astra per aspera

  6. #6
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    Default

    I really enjoy section hiking, part of the fun for me is thinking about and planning my next section hike. Have completed Southern VA to Central VT. Also have time to dial in my gear and skills over time.

    Plan is to complete VA before Thanksgiving.

    Having time blocked out in my calendar into the future really drives me (fitness) and something great to look forward to.

  7. #7
    Registered User MkBibble's Avatar
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    Default

    Freedom Walker, Your story sounds very familiar to me (and probably many others on the board). Last June I did some short hikes in the SNP and was hooked. I hadn't hiked since boyscouts... 30 years previous! I lost several pounds exercising, ran on the treadmill, and even walked on the treadmill with a full pack at a 12 deg angle to get ready.

    In September of last year I started at Springer headed toward Neal. I pushed too hard the first day and had some painful knee issues. I managed less than 5 miles each of the next two days and got off the trail early on the third day at Woody. So, take your time (and don't leave your poles in the hotel room...)!

    On 09-25 (Saturday) of this year I'm starting at Woody Gap and I'm aiming to finish Geaorgia and get off at Deep Gap NOC. That gives me 8 good days to cover 63 miles; I plan on a much slower pace, with my poles this time.

    It seems like there was lots of water along that part of the trail; I doubt you'll have any issues. You can check with Mountain Crossings before you go for the latest updates, or your shuttle driver will probably also know. I've heard multiple times about skipping the Woods Hole shelter; several people have told me that there are a few really nice campsites a few yard down the trail toward the shelter, but no water at those campsites so you'll need to tank-up just before.

    Who knows, maybe I'll see you between Woody and Neal. Good luck and enjoy the trip - It is WONDERFUL!

  8. #8

    Default

    It's been dry lately in GA and the last time I hiked (northern GA/beginning of NC) the water sources were low. Two creeks were completely dry.

    I'd suggest you check out hikerhostel.com. They are located in Dahlonega, GA, and are a great support. Take their phone # with you on the trail and if you have your cell phone (on a high place on the trail) you can call them if you get in a jam and need help (an early pick up or advice on water, etc.). They know the area (they shuttle) and could find you anywhere along the section you will be hiking. You could call them ahead of time and they could probably tell you the water conditions for the area you will be hiking. The folks at Mountain Crossing could also advise you on water availability.

    I agree - Woods Hole is just that - located a mile from the trail, in a hole, and not worth the effort of the hike into and out of just to spend the night at a shelter. There is indeed a good campsite at Slaughter Creek. There are plenty of campsites between most of the shelters in GA, so you should be fine. . . just know that there has been a lot of bear activity this year, and you should probably hang your food (bear bag).

    I also would suggest that you may not have allowed enough time for yourself. GA is tough, and if this is your first experience with it, you will find that those uphills aren't kidding, and the downhills can kill your knees. Having said all this, I hope you have a great hike - just take the time you need, and have a back up plan in case you need it.

  9. #9
    http://bamahiker.blog.com/ Freedom Walker's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cowpoke View Post
    Have a great hike...take it slow...enjoy the moment with your son. Water should be OK...enough streams to cross should all be running....take the side trail to Long Creek falls...well worth the time. If my memory serves me well...small campsite just after the side trail to Dockery lake....about 7 miles north of Gooch Mountain shelter. For what it's worth...I would by-pass Woods Hole shelter (almost a half mile off the trail) and walk on to Slaughter Creek campsite....about 1/2 mile past to trail to Woods hole shelter....save some time....and camp at a good campsite....only problem...use to be a ban on campfires at this site. How are you getting to springer?...shuttle...drop-off? cheers.
    Cowpoke, we are using a ****tle service and are taking three nights and four days averaging 7-8 miles a day. Original plan was to stay at Hawk Mt shelter Thursday night, Gooch Mt Friday night, and hike the 12 miles saturday to the Woods Hole shelter, but after reading all the suggestions we may want to skip that and stay at the Slaughter creek site. Then finish up the 4-5 miles on Sunday. From earlier posts I felt like this pace was doable. I am the oldest of us and I hiked the Approach trail last may to Springer in a little less than 5 hours (7.5 miles). Mk, we plan on staying at or near Gooch Mt shelter Friday night. How close is that to Woody.
    Freedom Walker, I am free to Walk, I am free to Run, I m free to live for You Lord Jesus, I am FREE!

    He who the Son sets free, is free indeed.
    Visit my blog Free To Hike

  10. #10
    Springer to Atkins, VA
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    Default

    Gooch Mtn shelter is about 5 miles south of Woody Gap....fairly easy walk. Trailweaver right....good recommendation to keep Josh and Leigh's number with you..(www.hikerhostel.com) Just make sure you camel up at each water source...especially if some of the streams are dry. This is a great section...you and your son will enjoy. I'm heading up on the 24th to walk section from Burningtown Gap over to Fontana...won't start walking until 26th but wanted to cache water along the route just in case. Have a great hike..have fun...enjoy the moment with your son. cheers.

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