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  1. #1

    Default NC/TN/Southern VA section hike

    I'm hiking the PCT starting in a couple months, and would like to spend several days breaking in some gear on the AT. Since I'm in central NC (Chapel Hill), I figure somewhere in the NC/TN/southern VA area would make sense. With that in mind, what are some starting/ending points for a hike that:

    1) Provides 4-7 (roughly) days of hiking at a decent pace
    2) Is relatively to get from start point to end point by hitching or some form of public transit (so I can park my car at the end, then make my way to the beginning and set sail)

    I've been thinking about using Damascus as an end point, but am not sure where the best spot to start from would be. I'm also open to ending somewhere else.

  2. #2
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Park in Damascus, get a shuttle to Marion, VA, and hit the trail at the MRNRA HQ building or at Atkins on the I-81 exit. 65-75 miles, good tune-up for gear and body.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  3. #3

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    i dont know if anywhere up here, in VA near Damascus, can provide some hiking opportunities, we have a good bit of snow on the ground with a good dosage of ice recently. This area might be better for some good snow hiking practice. Also I hear rumors we are getting hammered again not to soon(https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...71736259_n.png). but i agree with BigCranky, good suggestion for this area, might need to check if a shuttle in Damascus will take you to Atkins.

  4. #4

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    EDIT: ...I dont know if up here, in VA near Damascus, can provide some decent paced hiking opportunities...

  5. #5

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    Thanks for the help guys, that sounds perfect. Looking into getting a shuttle now. I don't mind slogging through the snow so much; we don't get enough of it in NC, so I kinda look forward to it actually.

  6. #6
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    Consider the Foothills Trail in South Carolina. 77 miles. Easy to get a shuttle from end to end here: http://www.foothillstrail.org/.

    Trust me, you would love this trail.

  7. #7

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    I think they've backed off the initial statement of a good snow this week, now it may be in the 60's this week. Be prepared for 10 degrees and anywhere between 20-60 mph winds as you head through grayson highlands

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    Consider the Foothills Trail in South Carolina. 77 miles. Easy to get a shuttle from end to end here: http://www.foothillstrail.org/.

    Trust me, you would love this trail.
    Good call, thanks 10-K! Just talked with a volunteer on that site, and am headed out there in the morning. Sweet!

  9. #9
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    It's an awesome trail - I've hiked it twice. Lots of water, lots of good camp sites, and it is very well maintained.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by 10-K View Post
    It's an awesome trail - I've hiked it twice. Lots of water, lots of good camp sites, and it is very well maintained.

    You're right, it's a really nice trail. Some gorgeous scenery, and really well maintained and marked to boot. Didn't have time to get a map, but didn't need one at all. Finished it on Saturday, really enjoyed it.

    Takeaways:

    1) Drop some weight. Pack was something like 35 pounds with food and water, which was manageable, but I'd still like to go lighter.

    2) Figure out how to deal with rain. It rained all day and into the night on Wednesday, which soaked me, and got the tent wet when setting it up (and thus my sleeping bag some, since it was in a wet tent). The initial wetness wasn't so much of an issue (I stayed warm hiking), but rather the fact that it was hard to dry stuff out, since the best times to air it out were when I was hiking. Had it continued raining, it might have been more problematic. Thinking I should add a rain jacket and a silk liner (for warmth), and get better at pitching my tent in the rain.

    3) Food. Was too tired to cook pretty much every night, and so generally went to bed without eating much. Since I had figured on getting most of my calories from dinner, I ended up consuming probably no more than 500 calories per day, which is completely unsustainable. I didn't even feel hungry, though fatigue in the final two days was probably related to the lack of calories. Switching to more prepared food would possibly solve this, and also allow me to eat more than just gorp while hiking.

    4) Possibly switch to trail runners. Love my boots, but they start to feel heavy halfway through the day, and probably beat up my feet (blisters, etc.) more than shoes would.

    5) Thoroughly rinse out that Gatorade bottle before using it as a water container. Each time I drank from it, I'd get a whiff of that wonderful/horrible sugared drink, and would promptly crave it. First thing I bought after finishing the trail: fruit punch Gatorade.

    6) "Foothills Trail" must really mean "every time your foot is on the trail, it's on a hill".

  11. #11
    Registered User Coosa's Avatar
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    I found that I ended up happy eating bagels and peanut butter ... and I hate peanut butter ... but it's fast and with the bagel gave me the carbs I needed.

    You could try using jerky for some of your protein. On hikes of five days or less, I use a 'meal replacement drink' for my breakfast and it can be made with NIDO for additional fat and calories, though I really don't like the taste of straight NIDO, so I mix half and half with powdered skim. NIDO is available in the hispanic section of the grocery store, usually.

    Remember the 'very old' adage [I'm showing my age] about boots ... a Pound on the Foot is Five on the Back.

    Enjoy Lightening Up,
    Coosa
    My blog, dedicated to my Dad: Chasing the Trail
    Proverbs 4:26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
    Hike Your Own Hike

  12. #12
    Registered User Coosa's Avatar
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    OH, let me 'splain my breakfast drink: I use zip locks and put the meal replacement powder, NIDO and skim milk for one drink in the zip lock, then I use one of those bendable straws, bend it and stick it INSIDE the zip lock, press out the air and zip it up.

    Works for me, YMMV, Coosa
    My blog, dedicated to my Dad: Chasing the Trail
    Proverbs 4:26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.
    Hike Your Own Hike

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