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Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help!
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Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help! on 01/25/2010 21:03:47 MST Print View

I am planning a AT setion hike starting in Erwin, TN and ending in Damascus, VA. I will hopefully be doing this in late Feburary. I am going to give myself 9 or 10 days to do the 120 plus miles so I can see all there is to see and enjoy myself.

First off where is the best(safest) place to park a vehicle in Damascus? Or should I try a shuttle service? I have never done that before but if it makes it simpler I am all for it.

Next I am trying to keep my total pack weight under 20 lbs. and the only way I can see doing that is if I can resupply every other day. So I need a list of hostels that will be open that early in the season and have decent prices and a good selection of food. I will probably end up staying a few nights at hostels anyway.

I checked my ATC data book but it isn't very helpful. I found a few lists on the web but they are not to good either. So far alot of email addresses didn't work. If there are any you can recommend I would be grateful.

And finally what shelters should I stay at and which ones should I pass up?

BTW I am typing up my pack list with weight and I will post them in the Gear Lists Forum soon.

Thanks in advance!

Joseph

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help! on 01/25/2010 21:50:00 MST Print View

There is a public parking lot in Damascus across from the post office so that would be the place to park. There are several shuttle services in town so you shouldn't have a problem finding one. I have used "Lonewolf" from Whiteblze.net and was very pleased.

Your first easy resupply out of Erwin won't be until you reach 19E at mile 46.8. Mountain Harbor B&B and Hostel should be able to take you to Elk Park to resupply. (If you had to resupply sooner you could possibly hike to Greasy Creek Hostel near Greasy Creek Gap, but it is a ways off the trail and I don't know if she would be open that time of year) After 19E you should be able to resupply again in 23 miles when you reach Dennis Cove road and Kincora Hostel (Bob Peoples is a super nice guy) or 32.7 miles when the trail crosses US321 (you will have to walk or have a short hitch to the town of Hampton, TN). That would probably be your last easy resupply point and you only have 41.3 miles until Damascus but you might could hitch into Shady Valley from 91 which is 21.3 miles from Damascus.

There aren't many nice shelters in that section but there are a few exceptions.

Roan High Knob Shelter (highest shelter on the AT)
Overmountain Shelter -"the barn" (largest shelter on the AT)
Mountaineer Falls Shelter (new, 3 story shelter)

**Also note, I would try and keep from having to get water at Vandeventer Shelter, it is half a mile away way way downhill. You don't want to make that trek if you don't have to.

Phone numbers of note

Uncle Johnny's in Erwin (423) 735-0548
Greasy Creek Hostel (828) 688-9948
Mountain Harbor Hostel (423) 772-9494
Kincora Hostel (423) 725-3039

I particularly recommend Mountain Harbor Hostel and Kincora Hostel.

If you want to know anything more just shoot me a PM. I have done all of that section some parts more than once.

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help! on 01/26/2010 11:12:27 MST Print View

Another option to the public parking is the parking at MRO’s (Mount Rogers Outfitters) hostel. They charge a small fee ($2 a day I think).

I would highly recommend checking out Whiteblaze.net if you aren’t already doing so as there is a lot of good info there. You can also check out the ALDHA Companion. It has a bunch of detailed info on shuttles, hostels, shelters, etc., and detailed breakdowns of mileages between points. Last years version is available at the following link for free: http://www.aldha.org/comp_pdf.htm.

I am not clear on whether or not you actually need a shuttle. If you have 2 cars and are parking in Erwin and Damascus I would go with that. A shuttle of that distance is likely going to be somewhat pricey.

As for re-supply points (hostels and whatnot), you can check out the Companion. If you are going to drive to Damascus to drop a car before you start you may consider dropping boxes at places along the way with re-supply stuff. That will save you some time and money.

Not sure what your “criteria” is for whether or not to pass up shelters, but as the poster above mentioned most of them suck once you get into TN all the way to Damascus. I can’t comment on the 27 mile piece from Iron Mtn Gap to 19E (Roan Highlands) as I haven’t done that part yet. Whiteblaze has a forum for the shelters, so you can read up on them there. As mentioned above, Vandeventer has a particularly annoying hike to the water source.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help! on 01/26/2010 11:30:55 MST Print View

Joseph,

>Another option to the public parking is the parking at MRO’s (Mount Rogers Outfitters) hostel. They charge a small fee ($2 a day I think).

Matthew hit it on the head. I'm planning on the same hike in early June and will be using MRO's "secure parking" for our vehicle.

Bring on that gear list. My loaded wet pack weight is at 15.5 lbs. I'm stitching up a SUL tarp and leaving my beloved hammock at home. After doing this my pack weight will drop by @ 2 lbs. BTW the pack weight includes 3 days supply of food. We only plan to resupply every third or fourth day.

Party On ! 2010

Newton

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help! on 01/26/2010 11:56:08 MST Print View

"I can’t comment on the 27 mile piece from Iron Mtn Gap to 19E (Roan Highlands) as I haven’t done that part yet."

That's the best part. Roan Highlands is simply magnificent. In 700 miles of section hiking the AT it is my favorite area. Grayson Highlands is a close second.

Edited by Mocs123 on 01/26/2010 11:56:47 MST.

Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
"Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help!" on 01/26/2010 13:29:19 MST Print View

Bradford, I checked on the three shelters you mentioned they seam really nice. I will definitely stay at them.

I sent four emails out so far to different hostels. Some of the email addresses that I found didn't work. Mountain Harbor got back to me allready and said they would be open and have a small general store. I will try the numbers you gave me.

I think Matthews idea of dropping boxes at various places(hostels or where else?) would be my best and cheapest option. I might be able to resupply every other day after all. I wouldn't have to worry about running out of cigars either. Thats a big plus!

Matthew, I used to go on Whiteblaze.net all the time but recently I keep getting this message when I type in the web address:

"Not Acceptable
An appropriate representation of the requested resource / could not be found on this server.

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request."

I am thinking it must be my ISP. I will try viewing the site at my mothers house as she has a different ISP.

My original plan was to have my fiancee follow me to Damascus where we would leave my truck and then she would drop me off at Erwin at the outfitters. Her car gets 32 MPG and my truck gets 25 MPG. It will cost at least $50 in gas total to drive both our vehicles the round trip. I don't know how much a shuttle would cost me. Probably more, right?

If I can park somewhere safe for free that would be great. Perhaps I should call the two outfitters in Damascus and ask them if there has been alot of vehicle broken into or stolen from the parking lot Bradford suggested. Here is what the Damascus website says about hiker parking:

"Parking: If you plan to leave your vehicle parked for more than one day on Wilson Street or Imboden Street, please stop by the Town Hall on Laurel Avenue, or call the Town Police at (276) 475-3341 to register your vehicle with the town. Parking on Wilson Street, or on Imboden Street at the gravel lot next to the Damascus Old Mill, is at owner's risk, even though the Town Police Officers will keep the vehicle under surveillance."

John, I am trying to get it typed up on Excel right now. I still haven't weighed a few things. What is the best place to upload an Excel document to the internet so I can post a link here?

Thanks for all the help guys, keep it coming.

Joseph

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Roan on 01/26/2010 13:57:48 MST Print View

"That's the best part. Roan Highlands is simply magnificent. In 700 miles of section hiking the AT it is my favorite area. Grayson Highlands is a close second."

Yeah, I have heard it's awesome, and that's why I am saving it. I am working my way through sectioning the AT, and Roan is up on the docket as the next section to do when the weather is nice. I want to do it on a picture perfect weekend. I planned to do it last September, but when the weekend I had planned came around it was a wet one so I did a different section. Anyway, I'm hoping to do it this summer or fall.

Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
"Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help!" on 01/26/2010 14:34:33 MST Print View

Matthew, I downloaded the aldha guide. It should come in handy. Much more detailed than my ATC data book. Thanks alot.

Joseph

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: "Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help!" on 01/26/2010 16:06:33 MST Print View

Joseph,

>>John, I am trying to get it typed up on Excel right now. I still haven't weighed a few things. What is the best place to upload an Excel document to the internet so I can post a link here?<<

If you go to change your profile on this website it allows you to post a "pdf" gearlist. If you have access to a scanner scan a printed copy of your gearlist as a "jpg" (picture) and simply insert the image of your gearlist into your post like any other image/picture.

Someone else on this forum may be more computer savvy than I am on this question. I hope this helped.

Party On ! 2010

Newton

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: "Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help!" on 01/26/2010 16:23:26 MST Print View

Joseph,
More than you may want to know about posting a gear list into a forum thread here.

Joseph Morrison
(sjdm4211) - F

Locale: Smokies
Re: Re: "Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help!" on 01/26/2010 17:05:36 MST Print View

Thanks for the link Greg.

Joseph

Matthew Swierkowski
(Berserker) - F

Locale: Southeast
Dropping boxes a must on 01/27/2010 10:46:52 MST Print View

"I wouldn't have to worry about running out of cigars either."

Running out would be the single biggest travesty of the entire trip...no other reason needed for the decision to drop boxes along the way :-)

Edited by Berserker on 01/27/2010 10:49:19 MST.

John Donewar
(Newton) - MLife

Locale: Southeastern Louisiana
Re: Re: Re: "Erwin to Damascus AT section hike help!" on 02/06/2010 19:28:32 MST Print View

Joseph,

BUMP

Got that gearlist yet?

Party On ! 2010

Newton