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Thread: BMT Blazes

  1. #1
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    Default BMT Blazes

    Question for BMT veterans.

    my first time hiking the BMT in a couple weeks. Is the BMT blazed as much as the AT? Are blazes not allowed in Wilderness areas? Are there setions of the BMT that require any bushwacking or is the trail fairly well marked?

    expecting to start the hike in a couple weeks NoBo from Springer.

    have the BMT thru hiker guide and getting the maps

  2. #2

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    Started sectioning it myself so far blazes are consistent and the trail is pretty nice. But I've only gotten to Ironbridge.

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    I've only hiked a few sections----some places had blazes...

    Others didn't...

    For instance---in the smokies---no blazes but at intersections with other trails there are signs on the Park's signs...

    And in the park---the trail is real easy to follow....

    Up between Kirkland creek and brookshire creek---the vegetation can get thick but trail can still be followed...

    And there was some blazes in some parts but nothing like the AT...

  4. #4

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    The worst place I saw was entering and traveling thru the Little Frog Wilderness and the area around Deep Gap. The white blazes on State Line Ridge trail between Sandy Gap and Sled Runner Gap are new and nice.

  5. #5

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    The first section was very well blazed... maybe 60 miles or so? After that, you start entering into spots that are very sporadic. Occasionally you'll have trail junctions that have no signage whatsoever (as I recall I ran into that maybe 20-30 miles north of Blue Ridge, GA). In some areas you just need to cross reference the local trail name or number with what's in Sgt Rocks guide and/or the National Geographic maps. There are occasional spots where a small compass can be extremely invaluable. Just a button compass will do. If you're standing at a trail intersection that's totally unmarked and you're socked in with fog, the compass will give you some reassurance of general navigation options.
    Edit - just for clarification, my comments are based on April of 2014. Things may have changed a bit since then. Still need to get back down to finish the northern half from Tellico Springs to Big Creek.
    Last edited by CalebJ; 04-13-2017 at 11:13.

  6. #6
    Registered User tagg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    The first section was very well blazed... maybe 60 miles or so? After that, you start entering into spots that are very sporadic.
    Agreed. I've hiked it recently, and it becomes more overgrown with sporadic blazing towards the middle third of the trail. I think I wandered off trail twice, but was able to figure out what I had done and get back on trail without a problem.

    I remember that the area around Brookshire Creek, close to the halfway point, had a long stretch (miles) that wasn't blazed with the BMT white diamond at all, and instead you follow the Brookshire Creek Trail blazes (which look like the AT blazes). That confused me for a while and I was nervous that I was off trail, mostly because I was losing elevation fast and didn't want to have to climb back up, but it turned out I was where I was supposed to be. All I brought with me for navigation was Sgt. Rock's guide, and I found that to be completely adequate for finding my way.
    -tagg

  7. #7

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    Here's a list of the navigational aids we used (though it was back in 2010):

    1. Sgt Rock's Guidebook (http://bmtguide.com/)
    2. National Geographic #781 Cherokee National Forest Map
    3. Great Smoky Mountains $1 Trail Map
    4. Compass

    We did refer to the NG #781 map a couple times at confusing junctions.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by tagg View Post
    Agreed. I've hiked it recently, and it becomes more overgrown with sporadic blazing towards the middle third of the trail. I think I wandered off trail twice, but was able to figure out what I had done and get back on trail without a problem.

    I remember that the area around Brookshire Creek, close to the halfway point, had a long stretch (miles) that wasn't blazed with the BMT white diamond at all, and instead you follow the Brookshire Creek Trail blazes (which look like the AT blazes). That confused me for a while and I was nervous that I was off trail, mostly because I was losing elevation fast and didn't want to have to climb back up, but it turned out I was where I was supposed to be. All I brought with me for navigation was Sgt. Rock's guide, and I found that to be completely adequate for finding my way.
    If you keep hiking these TN and NC wilderness trails you'll get used to seeing no blazes of any kind---except the occasional natural blaze---and will be able to easily follow the faintest of trails. There's a big difference between a faint wilderness trail and no trail whatsoever---Bushwacking in other words. You just have to get used to it. Having a white blaze every several feet like on the AT spoils people and makes them lazy.

  9. #9
    PCT, Sheltowee, Pinhoti, LT , BMT, AT, SHT, CDT 560 miles 10-K's Avatar
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    It has been a few years but I distinctly remember the blazing going from good to not-so-good right around the Pinhoti Trail. That's been a few years ago though.
    Last edited by 10-K; 04-14-2017 at 19:34.

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    thanks everyone!

    my order arrived yesterday for the 2 Nat Geo maps for GA, and NC/TN, and Sgt Rocks' 2014-15 BMT Trail guidebook

    started reviewing them last night

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Praha4 View Post
    thanks everyone!

    my order arrived yesterday for the 2 Nat Geo maps for GA, and NC/TN, and Sgt Rocks' 2014-15 BMT Trail guidebook

    started reviewing them last night
    Blazing is not allowed in wilderness areas (or the Smokies) and includes Rich Mountain area, Big Frog, Little Frog, Cohutta, Joyce Kilmer/Citico Creek

    SGT Rock is nearly finished with an updated version of the guide so hopefully it'll be out soon.

    I had to bushwhack (more like plow my way through, getting scratched all to heck) at the height of summer when vegetation was overgrown and taller than myself...see photos. Don't know if it's true, but my impression is that trail maintenance has increased in the past year so you may not have the same experience. The trail can also be difficult to follow after the leaves have fallen.

    Have a great trip.

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    Last edited by Traffic Jam; 04-21-2017 at 10:43.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    Blazing is not allowed in wilderness areas (or the Smokies) and includes Rich Mountain area, Big Frog, Little Frog, Cohutta, Joyce Kilmer/Citico Creek

    SGT Rock is nearly finished with an updated version of the guide so hopefully it'll be out soon.

    I had to bushwhack (more like plow my way through, getting scratched all to heck) at the height of summer when vegetation was overgrown and taller than myself...see photos. Don't know if it's true, but my impression is that trail maintenance has increased in the past year so you may not have the same experience. The trail can also be difficult to follow after the leaves have fallen.

    Have a great trip.

    FullSizeRender.jpg

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    Looks like tick city in those first 2 pics!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffic Jam View Post
    Blazing is not allowed in wilderness areas (or the Smokies) and includes Rich Mountain area, Big Frog, Little Frog, Cohutta, Joyce Kilmer/Citico Creek

    SGT Rock is nearly finished with an updated version of the guide so hopefully it'll be out soon.

    I had to bushwhack (more like plow my way through, getting scratched all to heck) at the height of summer when vegetation was overgrown and taller than myself...see photos. Don't know if it's true, but my impression is that trail maintenance has increased in the past year so you may not have the same experience. The trail can also be difficult to follow after the leaves have fallen.

    Have a great trip.

    FullSizeRender.jpg

    FullSizeRender.jpg

    FullSizeRender.jpg
    Some of that stuff in the second picture looks like nettle. I've plowed my way through some tall weeds, and through nettle that was knee-high. It ain't exactly fun.

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