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  1. #1
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    Default Side Trail Alternates in SNP

    I've been making a point to explore trails other than the AT in Shenandoah National Park. Over the weekend, I hiked what could be an alternate to the AT from Gravel Springs Hut to Jenkins Gap. You can take the AT between these points or you can take the Bluff Trail to the Mt. Marshall Trail instead. As it happens, I did a loop hike with the first half on the AT and the second on the side trails. While the AT had some views from the Marshalls (south and north), the views would be less good in thru hiker season due to leaves. The Bluff and Mt. Marshall trails were terrific - well maintained, very attractive, and *empty* - hardly any hikers! Lots of water sources (unlike the AT through this section), and many great looking campsites!

    It is possible to divert from the AT in a number of places if doing a linear hike through the park, or to create loop hikes for people like me who live in the area. Other possibilities in the Central District could be the Rose River area, Whiteoak Canyon/Cedar Run, and in the South District Jones Run and Doyle River and Moormans River (which I haven't hiked yet). Point being, when people say that the AT is a green tunnel (in thru hiker season) or that there isn't good water or camping along the ridgelines, it is always possible to do the side trails and I think they are actually better in many ways than the AT.

    First pic is from North Marshall along the AT. Second pic is the Bluff Trail shortly after Gravel Springs Hut. Third picture is a tributary of the Jordan River while on the Mt. Marshall Trail. Fourth pic is the Mt. Marshall Trail ascending back toward the AT/Skyline Drive.

    DSC09416.jpgDSC09433.jpgDSC09434.jpgDSC09436.jpg
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  2. #2
    Registered User Studlintsean's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for the info. I will have to check this loop out next time I am looking for a local hike.

  3. #3
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    Coffee- do you have a recommended map online I can get for this loop? What is the total distance? I might try to check it out this weekend. Thanks in advance.

  4. #4

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    Here is a link to a book called "Circuit Hikes in Shenandoah National Park". I think you will find it useful. I bought a copy years ago at the Dickey Ridge Visitors Center.

    http://www.snpbooks.org/mm5/merchant...tegory_Code=BK
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  5. #5
    Registered User Studlintsean's Avatar
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    I believe this is a detailed description of this hike for anyone interested. Thanks for the info on the book TexasBob.

    http://www.midatlantichikes.com/id119.html

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Studlintsean View Post
    Coffee- do you have a recommended map online I can get for this loop? What is the total distance? I might try to check it out this weekend. Thanks in advance.
    I have the National Geographic map for SNP but I actually prefer the PATC maps of the park since they are more detailed. There are three PATC maps - one for each district of the park. They are usually available at the REI locations in northern Virginia. I believe the total distance was around 13.5 miles and it took around 5 hours plus a stop for lunch at Gravel Springs.

  7. #7
    Registered User Studlintsean's Avatar
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    Thanks. I am going to pick up the PATC maps myself (ill check Fairfax REI) to start working on the SNP 500 as an MBA program will unfortunately probably limit my overnights the next 2 years.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Studlintsean View Post
    Thanks. I am going to pick up the PATC maps myself (ill check Fairfax REI) to start working on the SNP 500 as an MBA program will unfortunately probably limit my overnights the next 2 years.
    Fairfax REI had it the last time I was there a few months ago. I've been meaning to get the PATC maps. My Nat Geo SNP map is pretty beat up.

  9. #9
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    Default knees

    Just back from doc (orthopedic ) and explained to him that I had been out backpacking over 80 miles with 45 - 50 lb pack, 18 days when the knee really started hurting. He just had xrays, no MRI, and he saw a little calcium in the right knee. (Which sometimes hurts worse than the left, but it was the left one that "got" me on the trail).
    I told him that I want to keep doing this activity. His advice was to get cortisone shots before going out on another long hike, and take plenty of ibuprofen.

    Now, I'm not looking for medical advice here , but wondering what experience others might have had....
    Thks!

  10. #10
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    Sorry. ..I'm doing this on my phone app. I thought if I put something in the title, it would start a new thread...but it didnt.

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