I was looking at the 2015 AT Guide and I see that camping is restricted between Catawba, VA and Troutville. How strict is that regulation? The reason I ask is I am trying not to plan my hikes from shelter to shelter, but also don't want to attempt to over achieve and get stuck somewhere with no place to sleep.

Based on what the AT Guide says you are able to camp until roughly mile 709 (NoBo), but most of that is near a roadway and that seems less than desirable. I guess my worst case scenario is I hike less miles those days and do the old body a favor and get some extra rest.

Thanks in advance.