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Thread: New Guy

  1. #1
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    Default New Guy

    Hello all, it looks like I have found a really nice site to learn about the AT and hiking. For the past few years I have camped at Crab Tree Falls Campground in Va and did the hike to the top of the mountain at the falls. When I say camp I mean I trailered a camper to the campground and was with my wife and daughter.
    Each year I have the desire to actually throw everything on my back and take off a few miles, set up camp and then hike back out in the morning. In time hopefully adding days to the trip.
    The only experience I have in hiking was when I was in the Marines, except we didn't really call it hiking. I know we carried a ton of weight and humped for what seemed like days. I am almost 42 but my job requires me to maintain my physical fitness as I know this is very important on the trail. I am not getting any younger so I want to get started.
    With that said, is there a list somewhere of the gear I need for an overnight hike? I can figure this out but I thought a list would be nice. Where is a good place to start? I saw an entry point to the AT on Crab Tree Falls Hwy about 10 miles prior to the campground which is only a little over an hour from my home. Can I plan a trip there and head out 5 miles, camp and then head back out the next morning?
    I have a ton of questions but I thought this would get me started. I look forward to talking with everyone and can't wait to get on the trail. Thanks in advance for any and all advice. Scott

  2. #2
    Registered User swjohnsey's Avatar
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    Don't take much to do a overnight, bag, pad, tent, pack. I wouldn't rush into buyin' gear without doin' some through research as the gear most folks use to thru-hike is specialized and expensive. You can do an out and back overnight on that trail with little more than a daypack. Take a look at some of the gear lists than have been/will be posted as folk get close to leavin' in March.

  3. #3
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    Thanks swjohnsey

  4. #4

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    Welcome, fiveonomo! I used to live down the street from you in Midlothian.

    Your story sounds very similar to mine, but mine started at Humpback Rocks. During a day hike up to Humpback Rocks, at some point I landed on the AT and I remember thinking - why in the world would someone paid white triangles on a bunch of trees? And who are these smelly people walking down the trail? And why do they look homeless? And where are they going? etc, etc, etc.

    Once I started learning about the AT, I couldn't wait to get started.

    As far as a list goes, do a search here for pack lists. That will give you an idea of what items to bring. If I were you, I wouldn't buy any of the major purchases just yet, like tent, pack, pad, etc. There is a great REI at Short Pump. Most REI's rent gear so you might be able to get some things there for your first trip. You should also pick up a map for the section you are doing.

    If you like clubs, check out ODATC. This club maintains a section of the AT. They have organized group outings, including overnighters and multi-day trips. I used to be a member before I moved.
    Some people take the straight and narrow. Others the road less traveled. I just cut through the woods.

  5. #5

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    I meant white rectangles....obviously
    Some people take the straight and narrow. Others the road less traveled. I just cut through the woods.

  6. #6

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    You may notice on this site that people sometimes get rather argumentative over all sorts of things. Don't let that bother you. There is a lot of wheat in with the chaff. Using the search function usually brings up past threads on any subject. That, with the posted articles, is a good place to start.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  7. #7
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    Check out this page on the Appalachian Trail Conservancy: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hiking
    Also consider buying the Thruhikers Companion referenced there as well. This will give you info on trail access and ammenities you can expect.
    You can also check here for the Guidebook for your area. There may be one at your local library. That'll have maps which can help out as well. I also started by looking at a standard road map and driving the roads that cross the trail (usually shown on road map) and looking for the AT sign.

    When you find a section you want to hike, just head out and explore. I started by doing short day hikes, out and back. Pretty soon you get more familiar with the trail and have some access points located and you're on your way.

    If you think you want to buy some gear, refer to some of the articles here on WB. There are some good ones.
    Read some old threads (learn to use the search function)
    Get a book from the library...
    and above all, don't spend a bunch of money until you've had a chance to learn from doing and reading. Prior to that, I would suggest the dirtbagging article: https://whiteblaze.net/forum/cont...a-Professional

  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone. I have some gear from years of collecting things so the only thing I really need is a sleeping bag. Thanks for all of the advice and information, please continue.

  9. #9
    Registered User joshuasdad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fiveonomo View Post
    Hello all, it looks like I have found a really nice site to learn about the AT and hiking. For the past few years I have camped at Crab Tree Falls Campground in Va and did the hike to the top of the mountain at the falls... Where is a good place to start? I saw an entry point to the AT on Crab Tree Falls Hwy about 10 miles prior to the campground which is only a little over an hour from my home. Can I plan a trip there and head out 5 miles, camp and then head back out the next morning?
    Well, you are definitely in shape for a real AT section, that climb from the bottom of the falls to the top of the mountain (whether you are talking about the gap, or The Priest nearby), rivals some of the most difficult ones on the AT.

    Note that if you start on Crabtree Falls Highway, you are ascending 3000 feet in 4-5 miles, no matter which way you are heading. Heading SOBO up The Priest is a little steeper than NOBO up Three Ridges. There is a shelter and camping at the top of The Priest, so you COULD climb up the 3000 feet to the top, hike past the top for a 1/4 mile or so, then camp up there.

    OR, you could have a bit more fun on you first backpacking trip in your 40s, and go to an easier place like Shenandoah National Park, or Maryland (where I started). Also, depending on your conditioning, consider day hiking to get in shape, before carrying a heavy pack. If you don't want to backtrack on the trail, there are plenty of shuttlers that can help you out.

  10. #10
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    I like the sound of the priest and camping up top. Thanks for the info I am gonna look into that one.

  11. #11
    T-Rx T-Rx's Avatar
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    Welcome to WB fiveonomo. My story is similar to yours. The wife and I were car campers and day hikers for many years before getting hooked on backpacking. We now love it and go at every opportunity. So, I'll give you fair warning it can be addictive! The Shenandoah NP is a great place to begin as the trail is not that difficult, there is some beautiful scenery and views, lots of wildlife and frequent bailout spots. Good luck and enjoy.

  12. #12
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Welcome. You should get in touch with Johnnybgood, he's in your neck of the woods and hikes Shenandoah a lot. Try sending him a messge or e-mail.







    Hiking Blog
    AT NOBO and SOBO, LT, FHT, ALT
    Shenandoah NP Ridgerunner, Author, Speaker


  13. #13
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    Welcome to the site. Lots of great info here & many people willing to help. Read some of the articles here on the forum regarding gear. Bear in mind that a lot of it is geared to long distance hikes. We have a term here HYOH = hike your own hike. This is due to many different hiking styles. YOU have to decide what works for you & your comfort level. Just cooking alone ranges from going stove-less to cooking from scratch on the trail. Best advise I can give is ask as specific questions as you can.

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