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  1. #1

    Default Atkins South to Damascus End of November Section Hike

    We are hoping to do this Section (if the weather permits). I would like some feedback from those who have done this section if it sounds doable. Here is my proposed schedule:

    Slackpacking the first 3 days:
    Atkins to VA. 16 (Sugar Grove, VA)= 11.5 miles
    VA. 16 to Dickey Gap = 14.6 miles
    Dickey Gap to Scales parking = 12.9 miles

    Backpacking:
    Scales to Thomas Knob Shelter = 8.3 miles
    Thomas Knob to Lost Mtn. Shelter = 12.2 miles
    Lost Mtn to Feathercamp = 10.3 miles
    Feathercamp to Damascus = 5.3

    What do you think besides the precarious weather that time of year? Water?

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
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    Absolutely doable.

    weather end of November up there in Grayson Highlands, well expect very cold and windy...pack for extreme cold, you can be checking weather forecast right up to your departure date.... maybe snow. I hiked that section in late October back in 2012 and it was really beautiful, had some Indian summer days and a couple days/nights of very very cold. Late November you could be mild or very very cold....Lot of rain up that way recently, but been a dry summer.

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    "Absolutely doable" is not good advice.

    It might be absolutely doable if you catch good weather or if you are a very experienced hiker that knows how to handle extreme cold, snow, rain, and/or wind and knows how to take care of himself/herself, self rescue, or abort.

    But inexperienced hikers can get caught in life-threating situations that time of year. Probably, if you are asking questions about weather, you do not have the experience level that would make this "absolutely doable" in any but the most benign conditions.

    For a cautionary tale of how things can go wrong, check out the trailjournals.com account of the hiker who got snowed in in the Smokies during Super Storm Sandy, late October 2012. (I don't recall his name, but his journal account is detailed, interesting, and can be found pretty quickly.)

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    Theres no way to say what kind of weather would be encountered in advance.

    I hiked that area mid nov last yr. It wasvery mild weather and packed with people, In grayson day temps were 30s, windy, overnight low was 17. Little bit of patchy ice.

    Mild weather usually dont last that late before cold wet arrives.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 10-23-2016 at 20:51.

  5. #5
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I just returned from Atkins a few days ago after hiking NOBO through your target area. I covered more miles most days than you listed. It was a great hike. It did rain two days, which made me miserable and cold, but the weather was generally warm throughout the hike.

    The variable here is weather. It's going to be much colder, I would think, than when I hiked. If you have cold weather gear and are familiar with cold weather hiking, you should not have a problem. I found water more easily in Virginia than Tennessee and North Carolina, and you'll probably have the shelters to yourself on most nights if you choose to stay in them; although a tent may be warmer.

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    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I failed to mention in my previous post that it is a good idea to talk to hikers hiking in the opposite direction. I found they were a wealth of knowledge about water availability down the trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    I failed to mention in my previous post that it is a good idea to talk to hikers hiking in the opposite direction. I found they were a wealth of knowledge about water availability down the trail.
    Speaking of water, how was it? Any problems or dry sources?
    Section hiker on the 20 year plan - 1,480 miles and counting!

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