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WildernesStudent

Any tips??

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So quite a few of us are going to be around over the summer and have wanted to do something exciting/adventurous. Someone suggested hiking the GA part and maybe even a bit of the TN part of the Appalachian Trail. Apparently the GA part takes only about three days. I was wondering if anyone had done this before and what it was like? Surprisingly this plan was met with approval and lots of excitement (the guys even offered to carry all the stuff so we ladies wouldnt have to carry anything). We would probably go some weekend (Friday morning till Sunday afternoon) during June and July (note to self: BUG REPELENT) and take our time, see ho far we can get without killing ourselves. We are not hard-core hikers and from what I know none of us have gone backpacking before. Ive been looking at http://www.appalachiantrail.org for some information and it looks like they tell you almost everything you need to know including a list on what to bring and even provide shelters for sleeping a long the trail (unfortunately no bathroomsick) but Im all for getting tips, especially if anyones done anything like this before. :)

 

Thanks!

 

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Some places do offer privvies but once you learn to poo in the woods, it isn't that bad :-) Of course, we menfolk have a slight advantage.

 

 

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Hitting the AT is not for the uninitiated. It isn't like just going for a jaunt in a state park.

 

Are your boots broken in? Do you know how to use trekking poles?

 

Are you taking tents or are you depending on the shelters? Some rude people will set up tents in the shelters and refuse to give up the space. My son's Scout master told me that he ran across a Scout troop that had taken over the shelter and wouldn't budge for the people who were trekking light without a tent.

 

Where will you get your water? Chemical treat or filter? Water is more important that food.

 

Food? Cooking? Fuel?

 

Do you need to worry about critters looking for food? BIG Critters that won't be detered by your tent? Do you know how to rig a bear bag?

 

Not trying to discourage you. Just want you to look before the proverbial leap.

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Do you honestly need to know all that for a weekend camping trip? From what I gathered we'd take food like hot dogs (other then that most likely cold stuff, after all it will be July) some water (boil the rest) and one tent for the ladies, the guys want to sleep under the stars ( and on on top of all the bugs). Not to worried about to bears (in fact I wouldn't mind seeing a small one), though I suppose it wouldn't take to much work to tie the food up in a tree or something (the guys do like playing with rope). It's not really a concrete thing...but I do know we are going camping somewhere and that was one of the options.(This message has been edited by WildernesStudent)

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It sounds like it should be a fun trip, and two nights is good for a first backpack trip. Just be prepared about the important stuff so the trip isn't miserable or dangerous:

- Water is important. Bring about 2 liters per person per day (unless you've got a filter or tablets). Really - you don't want to be short or dring from a stream. You're going to have to boil for about 2 minutes, and the fuel probably makes this not worth it.

- Pack as light as you can. It's easy to bring too much food and extra clothes. Get a backpack stove and dehydrated meals (or make your own - lots on the web about that). No cans. Solid meat, cheese and fruit can get pretty heavy on the hills.

- Do bring a (topo) map and compass and make sure you know how to use them. It's easy to get lost. Also bring matches where they can stay dry and a small first aid kit (include mole skin for your blisters).

- Don't push it too far. Accidents happen when you're tired. A shorter trip can be just as much fun and it's easier to get out if you have a problem.

 

Good luck. Think about trying a shorter, less difficult trip first to get used to what you need and what you don't. Have fun. Stay safe.

 

Don

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I know this may sound like a gimmie, but do not forget to tell someone where you will be coming out at, and when you are expected to return. That way if you are late, they know about where you should be.

 

I would still consider the bear bag thing. Let the menfolk play with the rope.

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"Do you honestly need to know all that for a weekend camping trip?"

 

A weekend camping trip is car camping at the state park where you can run to Wal-Mart when you find that you've forgotten the Grey Poupon for your hot dogs.

 

I think that Don is a bit light on the water, I drink about a gallon a day (two lexan bottles plus my Platypus bag) and then another half gallon at night. I'm sure that I could get by on less if I really had to but I don't like dehyrdation. A Scout on one of our hikes didn't bother to drink for a good part of a warm day and keeled over.

 

Not too worried about the bears? Small or large they can still do some damage.

 

No, it's not too difficult to tie the food up in a tree but you have to remember the bag and the rope and know how high you should hang it as well as how close to your tent you want it.

 

Divers say, "Plan the dive, dive the plan" and I think that test pilots say something similar.

 

However, if you want to head off on a two day hike with a package of hot dogs, a book of matches, and a bottle of Evian, more power to you.

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The Appalachian Trail in Georgia is approximately 80 miles long, following a ridge of the Appalachians through the Chattahoochee National Forest. Most of the trail is at about 3,000 feet but can vary between 2,500 feet and 4,500 feet - with steep climbs and descents. To hike the AT through Georgia in 3 days means hiking a minimum of 27 miles per day - not as easy as it may sound on paper when factoring in all the climbs and descents along the ridge.

 

The AT starts in Georgia on Springer Mountain. There is very limited auto access to Springer Mountain, so, before you even start the trail, you'll have to hike about 9 miles from Amicolola Falls State Park to get to the start of the AT. If you're lucky, you might be able to park at the US Forest Service parking area about 1 mile from the summit of Springer - if you're lucky. And if you feel secure doing so. There is no secret as to why there is a shelter about .2 miles from the start of the AT on Springer Mountain. Most hikers actually get to Springer Mountain at the start and spend their first night at the Springer Mountain Shelter. (Or their last night if coming from the North).

 

The typical through hiker, starting at Springer, averages about 10 miles per day for the first couple of weeks (it takes most through hikers about 6 to 8 days to get to North Carolina from the start of the trail in Georgia) - they generally don't start hitting the 20+ mile days until they've been on the trail a while. And these are people who have been preparing and training for the hike for a minimum of a year before starting. Given the lack of experience backpacking in your group, don't even start thinking you can make 27 miles per day. A more realistic trip would be about 5 to 10 miles per day.

 

You'll also need to either coordinate with someone to pick you up at the end of your trail and take you back to your cars at the beginning of the trail if you want to make it a linear hike.

 

Now that I've completely discouraged you, let me suggest a possible 3-day trip in the Georgia portion of the AT that might work out - if you folks start doing some pre trip training now (that means day hikes with back packs of at least 5 miles, preferably 10).

 

Day 1: Unicoi Gap (Mile 50.5) to Low Gap Shelter (Mile 41.1) - total mileage = 9.4. You'll go from 2,949 ft to 3,780 feet to 3,500 feet to 2,990 feet. Your ascent will be at the beginning of the day and you'll descend most of the rest of the day.

 

Day 2: Low Gap (Mile 41.1) to Neels Gap (Mile 30.5) - total mileage 10.6 miles. Longest day of the trip and maybe the most challenging; From 2,990 feet you'll climb to 3,450 feet, descend to 3,360 feet then to 3,138 feet then climb again to 3,766 feet then descend to 3,125 feet. Neels Gap has a first come first served hostel.

 

Day 3: (And the best part of the trip - and maybe even the best part of the AT in Georgia). Neels Gap (Mile 30.5) up Blood Mountain (at 4,461 feet, its the highest point of the AT in Georgia - Mile 28.1)descend to Bird Gap at Mile 26.9 (3,650 feet) then take the Freeman Trail bypass back around Blood Mountain to Flatrock Gap (1.8 miles) and then .6 miles to the Byron Reece Memorial for pickup. Total mileage = 6 miles. Sounds like an easy day, but the 1,336 feet climb up Blood Mountain, then the climb down, won't be as easy as it sounds wearing a 40+ pound pack after 3 days on the trail.

 

Total trip mileage = about 26 miles. Remember, backpacking and day hiking are different animals. You may be able to day hike 10 miles in a day very easily, but backpacking adds other challenges. I'll let others speak of the food and water issues, etc. I will say this - don't count on using the shelters - bring tents.

 

I also suggest you check out the website georgia-atclub.org for Georgia specific AT tips and hints.

 

Let us know what you end up doing.

 

Calico

 

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"...and from what I know none of us have gone backpacking before."

 

Be congratulated for your self honesty. Many have said "oh, piece of cake" and ended up on the front page of B section, extolling the virtues of our state park service rangers.

Listen to Uncle Calico. He knows of what he speaks. Do not do the BIG trip first. Work up and feel good about your experience on the LITTLE trip first. 25 or 30 miles a day under pack is a GOOD days hike.

 

I like Calicos 3day plan. Another consideration would be to find a park campsite for a base (and in July, you will need advance reservations) and hike out for the day to see the various sights around the area.

 

Condition and practice. Break in those shoes AND those muscles that haven't been used IN THAT WAY before. You will end up liking each other better afterwards. (you and your muscles, AND you and your friends).

 

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UHH Scout

I do not think you meant what you wrote. 25 to 30 miles a day is next to impossible.

10 miles a day is a Good day.

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Dan: 10-4 good buddy. I meant "good" as in G^O^O^D not in GvOvOvD.

 

25 miles under full pack isn't impossible, it just ain't very nice.

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25 miles?

It would take us all weekend to do that lol. Yeah, I think that is just a bit ambitious (what my friends would call dangerously optimistic). If we find the trail (big if, if you have to park elsewhere) we probably would go a few miles since the most we've hiked is 8 miles tops and that is just with water not packs...I won't say we would get lost but if the trail isn't obvious (not that we need the little wooden arrows that read 'trail this way' even though the trail is made of gravel and there are trash bins every few feet...and tiny speakers behind the trees making squirrel noises) we might just take a 'scenic route' which probably isn't a good idea (though I might add the people who work for Search and Rescue in this area are VERY nice and have lots of fun equipment :D). I, personally, would find just as much of a thrill as sleeping in the woods around campus (which is what we originally had planned to do)I mean we've taken 'scenic routes' around here so we probably have no business on the AT lol maybe we should leave that to people who know what they are doing or at least until we get organized.

 

Also...we're going to have to buy a tent (for some reason that one fourth inch of material adds to my safety meter) not sure where we'll buy one but if anyone had any tips on that too I would be very thankful (last time I went camping I was in a one and a half person tent with two other people and lots of luggage...none wanted the door open because animals might get in so we kept it shut and well it didn't let the oxygen in either lol...oh and if anyone wants to hear it I have a funny story about how we learned why you use tent pegs and why the tarp goes under the tent not over it especially when it is raining...trial and error hehe)Anyways, going to bed...school night :)

 

Oh and P.S.

If anyone on here works for Search and Rescue in Northeast GA, you guys are GREAT!!! Seriously! :)

(This message has been edited by WildernesStudent)

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