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  1. #1
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    Question How far apart are things?

    I have several questions this time, oriented around distance.

    I live in the north west section of North Carolina, north of Mars Hill. It's close to the Tennessee state line, and within a few miles of the AT.

    Latitude:
    35.9
    Longitude: -82.5

    I'll be starting the AT from this area and be going north on the trail, I'm not sure how far I'm going for sure. My original goal was to walk across a state, but I've been looking at a map and the trail runs along state lines in this area, so I'm thinking now I'll just set a destination goal. I want to go at least to near charlottesville VA, if I do good I might go as far as where the trail runs close to Washington D.C.

    So that's the section of the trail I'll be traveling, since the trail is different everywhere, if anyone knows more about this section of the trail that would be great, otherwise just average general distances will do. All of these will be things I research myself like anyone, and I'll get maps, right now I'm needing basic estimates, so I can get ideas on the gear I'm bringing.

    Questions...

    Most important, how far apart is the water? I'm reading it's abundant, but how abundant? How far apart in miles on average? I know this depends some on the weather but will I ever go 10 miles without seeing water? From experiance has everyone here seen water on a daily basis on this trail?

    How far apart are water spigots, I've read not to rely on them. From experience how frequently do you run across these?

    How far apart are shelters or camping sights? I have a tent and if it's within the guidelines I would love to be able to pitch my tent elsewhere if I don't want company, if I see an area in between that looks reasonable.

    How far apart are the people in late spring and summer? (I know this will vary as well) but should I expect to see someone everyday? Every other day? I'm hoping to see other hikers, but also hope it's not too populated.

    How far apart are towns or resuply stations? I read there's a town every 3 to 5 days, but at what pace? Extra question.... Are their usually stores that cater to hikers near the trail in towns. Are some of them directly on the trail?

    How far apart are the post office boxes if I want to ship someting ahead of me, if they're only in towns, how far off the trail will I have to go to get to one?

    __________________________________________________ ________

    That's all for now, I may think of more later. I'd love to hear info from those who know this section of the trail well, but also from others if they know estimates. I'll get a AT book that was recomended and start looking at maps but id love to some information sooner.

  2. #2
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    Has this guide been suggested?

    http://www.theatguide.com

    Loads of info in it. Best.

  3. #3

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    Get the AT guide and data book so that you have an idea where things are at along the trail. Do some training hikes to determine how many miles you can do in a day at a moderate pace. That will tell you roughly how long you need to cover a given distance. The more you hike....even if it's only a day hike...the better prepared you'll be, and you'll know what you can expect from your body, your equipment, and the terrain you are traversing.
    Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt, and the forest and field in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul.--Fred Bear

    www.misadventuregear.com

  4. #4
    Registered User ChuckT's Avatar
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    If you are truly asking how far apart water spigots are on the AT you're in for a bit of a cultural shock and more.
    Water _sources_, post offices, shelters, campsites - they are all there but foot trails aren't laid out on a grid system like that.
    You'll need to adopt more of a go-with-the-flow approach to enjoy your hike I'm thinking😐.
    Miles to go before I sleep. R. Frost

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    On the WhiteBlaze home page are a lot of articles you might find interesting.

  6. #6

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    You will generally have water at least every 10 miles
    You will drink from streams, not spigots. The only spigots you find will be in towns.
    Shelters average about 7-10 miles apart or so . you can camp generally anywhere flat off trail though.
    You will see a lot of people every day in late spring and summer. If you hit the thru hiker bubble, it will be dozens.
    Towns are about 50 miles ish apart usually. For some thats 2 days, for some thats 6.
    You will either road walk into towns, or hitchhike. A few are close to trail, some are 5-10 miles.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 07-10-2015 at 06:36.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisJackson View Post
    Has this guide been suggested?

    http://www.theatguide.com

    Loads of info in it. Best.
    Hey, thanks for the link. There're several guides for sale here, I'm thinking the Northbound book and pdf will be the one I need, I just have to wait for payday again. I spent a lot on my tent this month, I'll get it as soon as I can, it looks very useful. Wish I could get it sooner.

  8. #8
    Registered User Walkintom's Avatar
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    AWOL's guide is very useful. You'll be able to plot mileage pretty easily for things like your water.

    Keep in mind that not every single water source is going to be in any book. If you look, there's water all through that part of the country. Without looking, there's still plenty just following the guide.

    And towns aren't so far apart, really. It's just that most hikers tend to plan for town trips only where necessary or convenient. Every road that you cross will take you to some sort of town, eventually.

    Being willing to hitch opens up a lot of mobility regarding which towns you visit.

  9. #9
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    No problem.

    This is the one I have (Northbound): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/098...ilpage_o07_s01

    It's excellent. I'm...<sigh>...impatient...about most things...which is why I do the Amazon Prime thing...get most everything in 2 days or less.

    Side note: David Miller's personal thru-hike account "AWOL on the Appalachian Trail" is also enjoyable. (Free on the Kindle if you're a Prime member)

    http://www.amazon.com/AWOL-Appalachi...alachian+trail

    Have a good'n! Enjoy the new tent! Gotta love new gear...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    You will generally have water at least every 10 miles
    You will drink from streams, not spigots. The only spigots you find will be in towns.
    Shelters average about 7-10 miles apart or so . you can camp generally anywhere flat off trail though.
    You will see a lot of people every day in late spring and summer. If you hit the thru hiker bubble, it will be dozens.
    Towns are about 50 miles ish apart usually. For some thats 2 days, for some thats 6.
    You will either road walk into towns, or hitchhike. A few are close to trail, some are 5-10 miles.
    That puts my mind at ease some. As of now I'm thinking of going perhaps 15 miles a day. 50 miles in two days is impressive, but enjoying myself at a comfortable pace is the most important thing to me. All that info helped, thanks.

    About the shelter areas...

    Can I ever expect to be staying at them by myself, or are they usually crowded, and have people staying at these areas on a daily basis? Is there enough flat area outside the shelter itself for pitching a tent?

    I'm glad there's people on a daily bases on the trail, it'll keep me more safe and I'll have people to chat with when I feel I want company, but I also have a thing about it being just me and nature some of the time. I'm thinking I'll look for flat areas to camp sometimes, since it's okay to do so. I'll go off the trail enough to be out of sight of it, but not too far.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _____________

    And thanks Walkingtom for the extra info.

  11. #11
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    And of course since we are talking books hit up your library for the guide books. They will either have them or will get them through interlibrary loan.
    igne et ferrum est potentas
    "In the beginning, all America was Virginia." -​William Byrd

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    Here's another big one....

    How far apart is the power? I'm assuming it's only in towns, I'm not expecting outlets on the trail of course :P

    But how does that work? If your in a town where would you go to charge a device like a smart phone? Im worried many towns wont have locations where you can say, I'm hiking and need to charge my smart phone. Might sound silly to some, but would it be like walking into a convieniant store and saying "hey I want to charge my phone, is that okay?"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisJackson View Post
    Has this guide been suggested?

    http://www.theatguide.com

    Loads of info in it. Best.
    You will find varying opinions in which guidebook is best, I have a preference to the guidebook put out by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. I like the print layout better and find that as a section hiker it has more info on road crossings, parking etc that make it easier to plan trips. Plus the proceeds of the sale go to support the non-profit organization that maintains the trail.

    https://www.atctrailstore.org/catalo...d=791&compid=1

    Just fair warning, on this site we like to argue about which of these two books are better. In reality they are both good guides, but people have their own preferences.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikenet7482 View Post
    Here's another big one....

    How far apart is the power? I'm assuming it's only in towns, I'm not expecting outlets on the trail of course :P

    But how does that work? If your in a town where would you go to charge a device like a smart phone? Im worried many towns wont have locations where you can say, I'm hiking and need to charge my smart phone. Might sound silly to some, but would it be like walking into a convieniant store and saying "hey I want to charge my phone, is that okay?"
    I bought a portable charger for about $20 that weighs less that 5oz and can recharge my phone twice before it needs to be plugged back in. Mine in made by Anker and can be found on amazon, here are a lot of different brands and sizes that hold various amounts of power depending on what you need.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikenet7482 View Post
    About the shelter areas...
    Can I ever expect to be staying at them by myself, or are they usually crowded, and have people staying at these areas on a daily basis? Is there enough flat area outside the shelter itself for pitching a tent?.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikenet7482 View Post
    Here's another big one....

    How far apart is the power? I'm assuming it's only in towns, I'm not expecting outlets on the trail of course :P

    But how does that work? If your in a town where would you go to charge a device like a smart phone? Im worried many towns wont have locations where you can say, I'm hiking and need to charge my smart phone. Might sound silly to some, but would it be like walking into a convieniant store and saying "hey I want to charge my phone, is that okay?"
    It's not unusual to find a shelter empty, but more often than not there will be a few others at the shelter besides yourself. Generally it's not an issue. Just be courteous, don't take up more space than you must, and be tolerant of others.

    If you want to pitch a tent nearby, there usually is space. But sometimes you might need to move on down the trail a bit to find a spot.

    When you go into a town to resupply, you might also be renting space in a motel or hostel. That's when you will recharge your phone. Sometimes you might be able to recharge at a restaurant. If all you're doing is stopping to pick up groceries, there's not much chance of recharging.

    Since you live close to the trail, why don't you get out this weekend with whatever gear you have or can borrow and see for yourself what the trail is like. It will answer a lot of your most basic questions.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    You will find varying opinions in which guidebook is best, I have a preference to the guidebook put out by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. I like the print layout better and find that as a section hiker it has more info on road crossings, parking etc that make it easier to plan trips. Plus the proceeds of the sale go to support the non-profit organization that maintains the trail.

    https://www.atctrailstore.org/catalo...d=791&compid=1

    Just fair warning, on this site we like to argue about which of these two books are better. In reality they are both good guides, but people have their own preferences.
    Ahh, okay. Thanks for the link. That'll give the OP another option. Priced better too. I went with AWOL's guide because I met it in the wild. Two hikers showed me their copy at Blue Mtn Shelter and I really liked it. If they would have had the ATC version...I probably would have gotten that one.

    I'll get the 2016 ATC version in January so I can join in the argument!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    It's not unusual to find a shelter empty, but more often than not there will be a few others at the shelter besides yourself. Generally it's not an issue. Just be courteous, don't take up more space than you must, and be tolerant of others.

    If you want to pitch a tent nearby, there usually is space. But sometimes you might need to move on down the trail a bit to find a spot.

    When you go into a town to resupply, you might also be renting space in a motel or hostel. That's when you will recharge your phone. Sometimes you might be able to recharge at a restaurant. If all you're doing is stopping to pick up groceries, there's not much chance of recharging.

    Since you live close to the trail, why don't you get out this weekend with whatever gear you have or can borrow and see for yourself what the trail is like. It will answer a lot of your most basic questions.
    I'm going to get on the AT soon I don't have a car as of now, but I could walk there. I have a tent and cheap backpack that'll be suitable for an overnight, and can bring other stuff I need from around the apartent. I cant wait to see it, as I get more appropriate stuff I'll be able to do longer practice hikes.

    The power situation worries me a bit, I wont be able to stay at motels much, I'll be on a budget and will still be paying bills through auto withdrawel for the rent at my apartment, and phone, ect. I'll bring my card with me of course and have a cushion of cash which is good, but still. Hrm

    The problem I'm going to end up having is that battery backups take hours or almost a day to charge if you have one with a high MAH rating, they last a long time but take forever to charge. Maybe I can get a device that uses regular batteies to charge devices, then get new batteries when I get to a town. Something like this I guess..

    http://www.amazon.com/Verbatim-Power.../dp/B007MLHS2S

    That's the best I can come up with without staying somewhere, unless anyone has a better idea.

  18. #18
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    I'll be back on here later on, thanks for the info so far, it's giving me ideas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikenet7482 View Post

    The power situation worries me a bit, I wont be able to stay at motels much, I'll be on a budget and will still be paying bills through auto withdrawel for the rent at my apartment, and phone, ect. I'll bring my card with me of course and have a cushion of cash which is good, but still. Hrm


    You can get power anywhere in towns, where there is a building there's electricity. I've charged in all sorts of places; gas stations from an outlet tucked behind the soda coolers, the exterior outlets of just about any building, etc. one time a guy let me charge from the USB port on his Harley! If you don't see one just ask, an employee probably knows where to find one. Phones charge fast too, seems like I can count on 1% per minute with an iphone. Unless you are carrying a lot of devices that require more charging like a video camera power is a non issue.

  20. #20
    Registered User ChuckT's Avatar
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    Check the Amp rating on your cell phone charger. I bought one (after market) charger that was rated at 1 amp. Then I found one that was rated at 3 amps. Way faster.
    Miles to go before I sleep. R. Frost

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