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  1. #1
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    Default SNP thru-hike planning

    I'm in the early planning phase for a Shenandoah National Park thru hike later this year. OK, technically it is an AT Section Hike, but I think a SNP Thru Hike sounds cooler . I haven't settled on the actual date yet but I intend to do it some other time than May-July when the bulk of AT thru hikers are passing through knowing shelters will be full. Loosely following the Park Service's "AT through Shenandoah NP" guide I've crafted the following schedule:

    CAMPSITE
    HIKE DISTANCE
    CAMP NIGHT
    WAYSIDE RESUPPLY
    Starting at Rockfish Gap entrance mid-day
    Calf Mountain Shelter 7 miles Saturday
    Blackrock Hut 13 miles Sunday
    Pinefield Hut 13.2 miles Monday Loft Mountain
    Bearface Mountain Hut 20.6 miles Tuesday
    Rock Spring Hut 11.5 miles Wednesday Big Meadows
    Pass Mountain Hut 15.3 miles Thursday
    Gravel Springs Hut 13.1 miles Friday Elkwallow
    Jim & Molly Denton Shelter 18.6 miles Saturday
    Pickup at Tucker's Lane parking lot 3 miles
    TOTAL DISTANCE 115.3 miles

    My questions to those familiar with this section (or those who have accomplished a SNP thru hike):
    Is it reasonable to trek the ~21 miles between Pinefield Hut and Bearface Mountain Hut in one day? (Keeping in mind that while I'm not a couch potato, I'm also not as young as I once was.) If not, do you recall if there are areas prior to reaching Bearface Mountain Hut that is conducive to backwoods stealth camping? Any other words of wisdom?

  2. #2

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    I did Bearfence to Loft Mt campground in one day (27 miles!) but I had started the trip in Harpers Ferry, so had my trail legs by then. I didn't stop at Pinefield due to the unreliable spring and was out of fuel to cook with, so I had to get to Loft. (where I found the camp store closed for renovations, so had to walk a mile over to the wayside, which didn't have canister fuel, but they did have hot food so that worked out).

    The 20 miles between Pinefield and Bearfence is a little rough with Hightop being the worst of it. You might want to do your big mile day in the middle of the park were there is less up and down.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  3. #3
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    Planning same trip. Interested in other's observations.

  4. #4

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    Id say if its "reasonable" for you, you would know it.

    That dont mean its not possible

    Id gamble if you start 4 am, youll probably make it by dark. There will be breaks and off trail mile or so.

    Wont be easy most likely, but not impossible.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-24-2017 at 22:01.

  5. #5
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    Very reasonable. I did this hiking from Pinefield to Calf Mountain when I was 50 and in pretty good shape.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  6. #6
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    I did SNP 6 years ago at the age of 45 - before my weight loss, so I was considered obese. In my ignorance, I also carried food for 10 days... While I never did a 27 mile day, I did do several 15 mile days.

    Since then, I have hike much more challenging terrain - although I am no longer obese and do not carry an overloaded pack...

    Is it possible? yes... However, you should have an alternative plan. If you do not have hiking legs, it is improbable. As a section hiker, I have completed over 750 miles on the A.T. during 8 hikes in the last 8 years. I have only hiked over 20 miles in a day about 3 or 4 times out of those 8 hikes in 8 years... even though I average 100 miles in a 7 day hiking trip.

    Do what works best for you!

  7. #7

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    I recall doing it that way.
    Left 5 am, was at next shelter at 8, took hr break ate breakfast and got water.

    Took hr break for lunch at a rest area , got water, used restroom there

    Got to bearfence about 5 30 pm

  8. #8

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    On my thru hike I did Black Rock to Bearfence. Leaving at 7:15am and even adding 1/2 mile to wayside, breakfast, 1/2 back to trail. Hit shelter at 8:00pm
    Now that's thru hiker shape but I remember it being pretty pleasant and smooth, I believe that was the day I also saw 7 bears in one day, as well as a ton of deer! You will be able to handle that 20.5, no doubt. Just start early and enjoy. Shenandoah was one of my favorite parts of the AT, hope to "thru hike Shenandoah" again one day.


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