Once you summit the climb down leads you into the town of Cheshire. Mary of the Assumption church allows hikers to stay in two rooms at the rear of the building. AC is provided in the building as well as restrooms and water. The church accepts donations for the generous service they provide.
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Day Two: Although the elevation profile shows rolling hills and flat terrain, beware that the trail is full of rocks and roots to dodge as you plod along. The A. Tom has been allowing hikers to grab water and even camp at his house for years. Many hikers congregate at his house to relax and enjoy good conversation. But watch out you might not want to move for the rest of the day if you eat the whole thing! If you can muster the energy though, Kay Wood shelter is three miles up hill outside of town. There are small stealth camp sites by the streams seven and a half miles south of Dalton.
Day Three: This is a very relaxed day that ends at one of the best shelters along the A. The Cabin is half of a mile off the trail but well worth the trek. The caretakers at Upper Goose serve pancakes and coffee for breakfast every morning. Canoes are also provided at the cabin to explore Upper Goose Pond which has a cool little island out in the middle of the pond.
The cabin is a big attraction for hikers so if you choose to stay, the likelihood of you running into thru hikers is very high. The cabin provides another great place for conversation and a taste of thru hiking culture. Day Four: You climb over a few hills including Mt. Wilcox which has three shelter options. Views are sparse and the sounds of the woods will be your entertainment for the day. Restaurants such as the Neighborhood Diner, Siam Square, and the Gypsy Joint are great places to have a meal while celebrating the end of your section. In journals and books it is a place of community as much as it is a physical journey.
Now it is even portrayed as a place of great comic relief on the big screen. In my personal opinion, the Appalachian Trail is all of these things and more. How did you first hear about the Appalachian Trail? Were you raised with a great awareness of the outdoors and knowledge of its possibilities? Many were turned on to it by a book or happened to be channel surfing while National Geographic was playing a documentary on the trail.
Not one of these things can ever explain what the AT is or what it could be to you. The truth is, to sum up a 14 state trail that is about 90 years old takes much more than any one story, including my own. And who am I to know the AT so well? Because of the AT I have memories that live in my mind stronger than a lot of other moments in my life.
I can still replay many of these instances vividly in my head. On Mt. Success in New Hampshire, I would fall waist deep into a bog. Then, on Mt. Greylock, the wind would push us backwards over the icy mountain top. Later still, while in the Shenandoah, I would fight through the stinging pain on the top of my foot that sent a shock through me with every step.
The worst of the moments may have been at the Overmountain Shelter where the wind blew the snow and negative temperatures through the cracks in the shelter walls while I tried to shiver myself to sleep. Then, of course, there were the good times. We ended our day earlier than planned after the Mt.
Success catastrophe, which led to the most stunning of shelter views on the entire trail at Gentian Pond Shelter. Our departure from Greylock led us to Dalton, MA, and to one of the most gracious of trail angels. The next day after that night at Overmountain, my best friend and hiking partner would meet his future wife. What of the Shenandoah pain you ask? No good came of that. Sometimes the trail is just cruel.
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Today I spend more time with the AT than ever. If by chance this article is your first impression of the AT, what is it you should take away? Should I describe trail conditions or trail logistics? Or should I fill your head with the beautiful and magical encounters that I have experienced out there? If you could, would you brave entering into this fairy-tale-like world to see it for yourself?
Perhaps my generalizing is intentional. Perhaps this horrible ankle twisting trail is already overcrowded. To be honest, I enjoy the solitude of sitting atop a mountain peak alone, knowing that the soft breeze is all my own.
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My instincts suggest that I sway you from the trail. Find your own trail, your own family, and your own fairy tale. I know that generations will enjoy the exploration of setting out for a journey in the woods.
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Both the young and old will learn more about themselves in a few miles than in the past few years, and I also know that the trail will provide so many with the most imperfect, perfect experience. If so, maybe our paths will cross on that long line from Georgia to Maine, or perhaps before your trip we can sit and I can help prepare you for that next great adventure!
Published in the Tri-State guide to the Outdoors. Interested in getting a taste of the iconic Appalachian Trail without the time commitment required for a long section hike? Three hikes that will get you out on the AT for an overnight backpacking trip that you can do on a long weekend.
All three trails are less than an 8 hour drive from Cincinnati, are loop hikes that require only one car and no shuttles, and aim to highlight a beautiful portion of the AT. No excuses: Get out there and hike! South and North Marshall Loop. This You will follow the Mount Marshall Trail across three streams abundant with wildlife, from white-tail deer to black bear and up to the Bluff Trail which, as its name portends, leads along the bluffs below the summits of South and North Marshall. Along the way, take a side trail to Big Devil Stairs for an amazing vista of the rolling hills of Virginia.
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Camping is available around this junction ask a ranger for details! Stop by Gravel Springs Hut on your way to chat with any thru-hikers taking a break and fill up your water at the spring. From there, climb up to the summits of both South 3, ft. Rock outcroppings and distinct cliffs afford a view of the vast Shenandoah Valley below. Continue on the AT as it weaves up and down the ridge until it pops you right back out at Jenkins Gap and your waiting car.
Cammerer Loop. Talk about a hike with a little bit of everything! The Mt. Hiking southwest along the ridge will bring you to Mt.
Cammerer Trail, a 0. From here, take in degree views of the entire park, mountains as far as the eye can see. The next morning will take you down off the ridge onto the Low Gap Trail. Keep an eye out for wildlife. Fairwood Valley and Mt. Rogers Loop. The beauty of southern Virginia cannot be easily summarized in words and on this hike, you get not only that, but views into the ridges of North Carolina as well. The most strenuous of the three hikes, this hike begins with almost immediate elevation gain as you follow the Mt.
Rogers Trail up to the ridgeline where it meets up with the AT. Keep trucking! It will be worth it, believe me. As you crest the ridge, the world below opens up and the rest of the hike is stunning view after stunning view of the sparsely populated, rolling landscape. Summit Mt. Stay the night at the Thomas Knob Shelter about 8 miles in for an amazing sunset or keep hiking and camp at any of the great campsites off the trail further on.
As you hike, your view will be the legendary Grayson Highlands before dropping down from the ridge, down through the Fairwood Valley, and finally looping back to your car. Our first night out of Damascus brought us into Tennessee, the 12th state of the trail.
Our first impression of the trail in Tennessee was awesome, very smooth nice hiking. The following day was a nice 22 mile ridge walk with a lot of amazing views of snow capped ridges in the distance. The shelter was too wide to hang our tarp over the opening, so the wind kept blowing snow onto everything. We cleaned the snow off all our gear and hit the trail. It was a cold and snowy morning, but it cleared up as the day went on.
We could look down on Watauga Lake as we climbed down to the dam. It was a beautiful walk around the massive lake. On the way down to Laurel Fork Gorge, I slipped and busted my left knee.
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