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Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

  1. #1
    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Appalachian Trail, Southern VA


    I'm planning to hike a 93 mile section of the AT between Pearisburg, VA and Daleville, VA in the second week of May. Anyone here ever hiked down there? I'm just curious about what to expect. I'm thinking it will be substantially less taxing than the AT in NH and ME.

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    Last edited by stoinkythepig; 03-30-17 at 01:47 PM.

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    Lifer Falko's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Knowing you, you've researched this pretty well. So it should go without saying that VA, especially in the western side is still pretty hilly terrain. You are starting off a stones throw from WV, and that area is pretty rural.
    So in short, hills, cows, and rednecks is what to expect. Also, that time of year and area, the ground will most likely be pretty wet still and creeks running high(er).

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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    I've hiked the Shenandoahs in VA before. The trails are deceptively steep.

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    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    I know it will be hilly, we are looking at 23,000 feet of ascent (and 23,000 feet descent) for the week, but from what I can see on my trail guide, there a lots of ridge sections that are pretty flat. I've also read that there are lots of AT sections in VA that are not rocky. AT hiking in NH and ME is often like walking on a stone wall that's been tipped over... Really looking forward to the trip. Going with 4 other guys (2 are good friends, 2 I don't know yet) and expect to have a great time. We've planned for 7 days, but I think we can do it in 6 without much of a struggle. I've been walking 5-8 miles in steep, hilly terrain after work nearly every day for the last 3 weeks with a 35 lb. pack on my back to get in better shape and to get used to the pack. Fortunately, I won't need to carry any more weight than that since water is readily available on the route. We will need 5 to 6 days of food for the first 75 miles though, no easy place to re-supply...

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    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Wow, sounds awesome!

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    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    AWESOME! I thru-hiked 20 years ago, and I sorta revisited a lot of places on the trail last summer. Southern VA was one of them. It ranks as one of my favorite sections of the trail. I think the trail is actually tougher in the south but that section you are doing is right at the edge of where things start easing up. Can I ask what determined your star/end points? I ask because you are very close to some spectacular places just to the south. (though, you can't go wrong really).

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    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    As far as pace, covering more than 15 a day with a big load of food like that is going to hurt. The looong descents in the south are brutal on the knees. Since you won't be trail hardened, I would definitely recommend walking poles and use them proactively on descents to take some weight off the knees. It's doable, but give yourself the full 7 days IMO.

    I jealous! Beauty and pain. They somehow go great together. Hahaa!! You will get Macafee Knob on that route, which is definitely spectacular.

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    Lifer loudbeard's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    As far as pace, covering more than 15 a day with a big load of food like that is going to hurt.
    For real? How much can a week's worth of Kashi bars really weigh?

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    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    I don't know, but you wan't get far on Kashi.

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    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    You will get Macafee Knob on that route, which is definitely spectacular.
    Haha I feel like such a poacher...in 2015 my wife and I were driving theu the area en route to Nashville and wanted to do some short day hikes in the AT so we asked around about fun spots, and were directed here. We hiked a grand total of less than ten miles of AT in VA but if this is what they call "max patch" that was part of it. Huge grassy meadow mountain, right?

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  11. #11
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Max's patch. Yes. Different from Macafee's knob.

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    Lifer Imbeek's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Ok, good, not so much of a poacher then...yeah max patch, pretty cool section of trail!

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    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    Can I ask what determined your star/end points? I ask because you are very close to some spectacular places just to the south. (though, you can't go wrong really).
    One of the guys I'm hiking with has done all but this one section of the AT and wants to complete it on this trip. The rest of us are along for the ride and have never done any overnight backpacking.

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  14. #14
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Appalachian Trail, Southern VA

    Ah!! Sweet. Congratulations to your section hiker friend!

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    As far as pace, covering more than 15 a day with a big load of food like that is going to hurt. The looong descents in the south are brutal on the knees. Since you won't be trail hardened, I would definitely recommend walking poles and use them proactively on descents to take some weight off the knees. It's doable, but give yourself the full 7 days IMO.

    I jealous! Beauty and pain. They somehow go great together. Hahaa!! You will get Macafee Knob on that route, which is definitely spectacular.
    7 days will take us to Friday, thus we actually have 2 extra days cushion. I have been using trekking poles for a couple of years, only on descents and I love them. Plan to take a lot of vitamin I(buprofen) too.

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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Quote Originally Posted by stoinkythepig View Post
    7 days will take us to Friday, thus we actually have 2 extra days cushion. I have been using trekking poles for a couple of years, only on descents and I love them. Plan to take a lot of vitamin I(buprofen) too.
    Cushion days are good! You never know what might slow your progress.

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    Lifer Tekime's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Quote Originally Posted by stoinkythepig View Post
    One of the guys I'm hiking with has done all but this one section of the AT and wants to complete it on this trip. The rest of us are along for the ride and have never done any overnight backpacking.
    Wow, bold choice! A 93-mile jaunt is no small potatoes. I've never hiked that far south on the AT, but I do know Maine/New England have a reputation as the most difficult sections due to terrain.

    You'll be moving at the pace of your slowest hiker. Hopefully everyone in the party is mature and nobody is on the warpath to cover miles at the expense of safety/group mojo.

    Having plenty of water sources is a huge bonus. Filter all of it - Sawyer Mini works great. Dehydrated food is the way to go. I love bringing Nido dry whole milk - can mix it with water for some extra calories and put on cereal, coffee, etc.

    35lbs is a heavy pack, but hopefully that will get lighter each day as you eat. Splitting gear up in the group could help reduce weight too.

    Sorry I can't answer your question about actual trail quality/conditions, sounds like a great trip though, have fun!

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    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Quote Originally Posted by Tekime View Post
    Wow, bold choice! A 93-mile jaunt is no small potatoes. I've never hiked that far south on the AT, but I do know Maine/New England have a reputation as the most difficult sections due to terrain.

    You'll be moving at the pace of your slowest hiker. Hopefully everyone in the party is mature and nobody is on the warpath to cover miles at the expense of safety/group mojo.

    Having plenty of water sources is a huge bonus. Filter all of it - Sawyer Mini works great. Dehydrated food is the way to go. I love bringing Nido dry whole milk - can mix it with water for some extra calories and put on cereal, coffee, etc.

    35lbs is a heavy pack, but hopefully that will get lighter each day as you eat. Splitting gear up in the group could help reduce weight too.

    Sorry I can't answer your question about actual trail quality/conditions, sounds like a great trip though, have fun!
    I realize it's a big one for a first time doing overnight, but the opportunity to hike with an experienced person was too good to pass up. I have tons of experience doing long day hikes in the White Mountains and around southern NH. I hike in Pawtuckaway all the time since it's practically next door to my house, I figure it's a lot like Southern VA, terrain-wise, based on some youtube videos I've found.

    The group is quite mature ranging from 37 to 60 years old with no idiots or gung-ho types. Not at all worried about that aspect.

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  19. #19
    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    I scored 46 dehydrated "Backpacker's Pantry" brand meal packets on craiglist for 160 bucks. That's plenty of dinners for all of us. Each packet contains "two" meals, but we are planning one each for dinner and two spares and if that's too much, we'll leave the extras in a shelter for someone else to enjoy. I'm just doing oatmeal for breakfast since I have it every day. Lunches will be power bars-granola-jerky-type stuff.

    One really nice aspect of this hike is that second half is where most of the steep hills are (based on the elevation charts in my AT guide), thus our packs will be lightest when we are dealing with the steepest parts.

    I'm really glad I have been hiking with my backpack stuffed to 35 lbs. for the last three weeks, it has become much easier and I have learned how to adjust it for max comfort. I did 7 hilly miles last night with no breaks at an average of 3.0 MPH and felt fine. This was after a full day of work.

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    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Your packs will be over 45 pounds with 5+ days of food if you plan to tent. You can reduce that a bit by sticking to shelters, but that limits daily mileage options. Depending on your bodyweight, it becomes a death march if your pack goes over 50 lbs. Dehydrated food sucks for long distance. Might be ok for 7 days, but it doesn't really pack much energy and especially, no nutrition.

    Your gonna need an average of 4000 calories a day to keep your endurance up. Foods with a lot of fiber are not great for obvious reasons. bulk in the pack and bulk in the belly. Plan each meal and hourly snacks.

    Yummy breakfast... PB sandwich made between poptarts. You want fat, protein, and sugar to get you going and keep you going. build your own burritos for dinner. dehydrated rice and bean may be the ticket here, but add some fresh ingredients. Chili cookoffs are always fun. Mac n cheese with PD and chipotle makes fake thai. But I'm sure your buddy knows some trick too.

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  21. #21
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    You won't be able to average 3 mph. Count on 2, and anything better is gravy.

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    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_E_D View Post
    You won't be able to average 3 mph. Count on 2, and anything better is gravy.
    Never expected to average 3 MPH on the hike. Just glad I can do it easily while training.

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  23. #23
    Soul Rider Paul_E_D's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Quote Originally Posted by stoinkythepig View Post
    Never expected to average 3 MPH on the hike. Just glad I can do it easily while training.
    THat is moving right along with a pack in NH.

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  24. #24

    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Whenever I am walking on a trail ... I am thinking how much happier I would be on a dirt bike!

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  25. #25
    Dictionary quoting knob stoinkythepig's Avatar
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    Re: Appalacian Trail, Southern VA

    Do I need a bear canister? I hear that hanging the food is effective against bears, but rodents have a easy time getting into it. Apparently bear canisters are good at keeping both out of my food.

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