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Recommend a 1-2 week hike in July in the southeast?
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Benjamin Jacobs
(bwjacobs) - M
Recommend a 1-2 week hike in July in the southeast? on 04/29/2013 10:28:03 MDT Print View

I currently live in the southeast and generally avoid hiking during the summer months due to the high temperatures and bugs. However, I'll likely find myself with a chunk of time off (2-3 weeks) this July and would like to use at least some of it on a hike.

Location: preferably within an 8-12 hour drive from the southeast (i.e. as far west as New Orleans and as far north as DC).
Difficulty: rehabbed a bum knee last year and I haven't done distance on it yet; shooting for 12-15 mile days; I enjoy varied environments but can't do multiple thousand foot ascents/descents for multiple days in a row comfortably yet.
Style: prefer end-to-end hikes over loops

I've considered the Foothills Trail (complete) or the Palmetto Trail (Charleston / Awendaw Passage up to Columbia / Capital City passage). The latter appears to be mostly marsh-side walking which while good for my knee, doesn't sound the most scenic, and I'm sure is the buggiest.

Any recommendations?

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Go High on 04/29/2013 10:51:34 MDT Print View

My firth thought would be Grayson Highlands. You could do the AT from Damascus to Grayson Highlands. If that isn't far enough you could loop back on the Iron Mountain Trail. That is probably as "cool" as you will get in the southeast in July.

Shining Rock Wilderness is high elevation and scenic but not big enough for a really long trip. You could do a shorter trip there then hit the Smokies or the Black Mtn. Trail.

Have you considered a canoeing or kayaking trip instead? That would be easier on the knee and you could cool off in the water. Its not a complete wilderness but the Suwanee River could be a really cool trip (there are others).

Edited by Cameron on 04/29/2013 10:52:49 MDT.

Ben Crocker
(alexdrewreed) - M

Locale: Kentucky
Recommend a 1-2 week hike in July in the southeast? on 04/29/2013 11:13:12 MDT Print View

Ben, in July the heat in the southeast can be brutal. My best advice would be to look for the high hikes in the area. The AT in and around the Smokies can be just fine in July. You could go from Fontana Dam to Hot Springs; its quite a bit of elevation for most of that distance. I would also recommend the Roan Highlands and Grayson Highlands. Neither of those is a weeks worth but you can link that with other higher elevation walks to make July bearable.

Edited by alexdrewreed on 04/29/2013 11:16:04 MDT.

Benjamin Jacobs
(bwjacobs) - M
Thanks! on 04/29/2013 15:40:19 MDT Print View

@Luke -- I hadn't considered doing a kayak / canoe tour, but mostly because I haven't done any to date. This might be a good opportunity to take on another habit :) looks like the Suwanee would be a good starter since it appears to be relatively built up with respect to camps along the trail.

@Ben -- yeah, I know it's going to be brutal... just feels like a shame to waste some time on my hands. I did the AT from Springer to Hot Springs two years ago -- picking up at Damascus seems like a pretty natural continuation of that if I ever want to start piecing together a section hiked thru.

Thanks for the ideas, folks.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Re Thanks on 04/29/2013 16:29:48 MDT Print View

Modern canoes are pretty idiot proof, you should be able to figure them out pretty easily. My guess is there would be rentals available on the river.

Another idea would be whitewater classes. Some whitewater outfits offer them. That has been on my to do list for a long time.

If you want more info on Grayson Highlands and that area let me know. I did the AT/Iron Mtn. Loop in June and it was okay. The forest and high elevation help. The only really big climb is Whitetop Mountain.