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  1. #1

    Default Bear den hostel Va to Caledonia park Pa

    I'm doing the above section in a few weeks. It looks like water may be somewhat scarce except off trail. Can anyone concur.
    I'd like to go add light as possible cutting for back on food taking only 2 days between resupplys. Is this doable?
    Any other advice about this section is welcome.

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    Finding enough water and food along this section in these conditions will be a snap. It will be hot so you can go pretty light so you can carry extra water if needed.

  3. #3

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    I don't know if it will be a snap, but it's not too hard. There is no resupply to speak of in Harpers Ferry. The first convenient place to resupply is at Smithsburg, MD some 52 miles north of Bears Den. You can order pizza delivered to the Dahlgren Backpack campground (but you have to meet them at the gate at the road). Caledonia is only 28 miles away from Smithsburg.

    The trail between Bears Den and David Lesser shelter is a bit of a work out, especially in the afternoon heat. There's some good climbs on that end of the Roller Coaster. But once past David Lesser, it gets much easier. You might what to check to see if there is still a detour around the C+O cannel area which got damaged in the floods earlier this summer.

    Water sources tend to dry up in that area in mid summer, so you may not be able to rely on them. Water at the Ed Garvey shelter is nearly a mile round trip down the side of a steep ridge. If you go down there, make sure you can lug a lot of water back up the hill as you don't want to do it twice. (and pray there is water down there when you get there). That's the worst walk for water in that section, but some of the others are a good long ways off too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    There is no resupply to speak of in Harpers Ferry. The first convenient place to resupply is at Smithsburg, MD some 52 miles north of Bears Den. You can order pizza delivered to the Dahlgren Backpack campground (but you have to meet them at the gate at the road). Caledonia is only 28 miles away from Smithsburg.
    resupply in the strict sense of the word may not be conveniently feasible in harper's ferry, but that shouldnt matter.

    were i doing this hike i'd do bears den to HF (ive done in the opposite direction, its mostly easy) allowing me to have dinne rin HF.

    then dinner on day 2 at dahlgren

    dinner at day 3 i'd have at pen mar. making it there by the end of the 3rd day is easier if you push on past dahlgren on day 2 after dinner.

    4th day would end at caledonia.

    so while theres not really any full resupply going on, i'd also never be carrying dinner. plus simple snack items can be resupplied at HF for sure.

  5. #5

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    Well, Bears Den to HF is a 20+ mile day and unless he wants to spend another night at a hostel, he'd have to go another 6 miles to Ed Garvey. I imagine he'll be staying at the Den the night before in order to get an early-ish start in the morning. Doing the first 6-8 miles which are the most difficult in the morning when it's still reasonably cool out would be a good idea.

    Resupply at HF would at best be a meal at a restaurant and buying a Mountain House FDM from the outfitter. I've never been through Pen-Mar when anything there is open, so not sure what you can get there. I've started from HF for trips a number of times now and I've learned to show up with all the food I need for 3-4 days.

    Exactly how to split it up depends on how far he want to hike everyday. Push for 20+ mile days or take it easy?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Well, Bears Den to HF is a 20+ mile day and unless he wants to spend another night at a hostel, he'd have to go another 6 miles to Ed Garvey. I imagine he'll be staying at the Den the night before in order to get an early-ish start in the morning. Doing the first 6-8 miles which are the most difficult in the morning when it's still reasonably cool out would be a good idea.

    Resupply at HF would at best be a meal at a restaurant and buying a Mountain House FDM from the outfitter. I've never been through Pen-Mar when anything there is open, so not sure what you can get there. I've started from HF for trips a number of times now and I've learned to show up with all the food I need for 3-4 days.

    Exactly how to split it up depends on how far he want to hike everyday. Push for 20+ mile days or take it easy?
    going north from bear's den making it to HF in a day is easily done once you get a few miles from bears den. i remember most of my struggle with the roller coaster being south of bear's den and the 12-15 miles south of HF as being super easy.

    at pen mar i would just call and order food delivered to the park.

    you make a good point about if the OP wants to not stay indoors 2 nights in a row that being an issue. it wouldnt be for me. the other options just would make it more complicated than it needs to be for me.

    can one even cam a mile or two south of HF legally? i dont recall.

  7. #7

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    Yes, will stay at bdh night before as as I'll be driving 8 hrs from nc. 12-16 is my limit for first day. I have never been on an "easy" section as i have only been in ga nc, and roan mtn tenn. I have 6 days trail time scheduled. i would not mind going furthur than caledonia but my limiting factor will be a shuttle expense back to bdh.

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  8. #8

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    According to gut hook, no you cannot camp 2 miles south of hf from Loudoun heights thru the Potomac river. Then in Maryland only at designated campsites.

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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ramdino View Post
    Yes, will stay at bdh night before as as I'll be driving 8 hrs from nc. 12-16 is my limit for first day. I have never been on an "easy" section as i have only been in ga nc, and roan mtn tenn. I have 6 days trail time scheduled. i would not mind going furthur than caledonia but my limiting factor will be a shuttle expense back to bdh.

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    That's the sensible approach. tdoczi thinks everyone is ready to do 20 mile days in the heat right off the couch. Not many are. Although the climbs aren't real big or long and not a lot of PUDs, the trail through there is pretty rocky and can be slow going, especially when it's 90 and humid. It's nice to bang out your 12-15 miles before mid afternoon and just chill at the shelter the rest of the day.

    Your locked into staying at the shelters through there. There is some camping spots between BDH and Ed Garvey, but they won't do you much good. It will be hard to avoid spending a night at HF. I like the Teahorse hostel, but be sure to make reservations, their busy this time of year. Besides hikers, C+O bike path riders also stay there.

    Avoid the Ed Garvey shelter - getting to the water is too much of a PITA. It's also very popular with scout and church youth groups. But if you go to Campton Gap, you'll have to tank up on water at the war correspondents memorial and carry it 4/10ths of a mile. After that the shelter water situation should get better.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    That's the sensible approach. tdoczi thinks everyone is ready to do 20 mile days in the heat right off the couch. Not many are.
    OP was asking about doing that section without carrying a whole ton of food. not many place where you can do that without doing big-ish miles.

    the issue with 15 miles, and maybe im wrong, is it wont land you at places to get dinner at dinner time. that could probably be worked around. or carry food for the afternoon and eat it later. i've done that several times.

    i also think bears den to HF is not a 2 day hike no matter what. if the OP's range is 12-15 and he does 12 on day 1 and 15 on day 2 (day 1 being the harder day) that puts him past HF at the end of day 1.

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    Harper's Ferry: Perhaps not convenient, but about a mile past the ATC HQ just over the Bolivar town line, there's a 7-11 right on Washington St. You should be able to cobble together a couple days' worth of food and snacks there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by QHShowoman View Post
    Harper's Ferry: Perhaps not convenient, but about a mile past the ATC HQ just over the Bolivar town line, there's a 7-11 right on Washington St. You should be able to cobble together a couple days' worth of food and snacks there.
    see, thats where if it were me, 14 or 15 miles plus, what, about 1.5 miles (at least) off trail each way to get to 7-11? i'd rather just suck it up and hike 20 if thats the other option.

    though i suppose one could hitch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Although the climbs aren't real big or long and not a lot of PUDs, the trail through there is pretty rocky and can be slow going, especially when it's 90 and humid. It's nice to bang out your 12-15 miles before mid afternoon and just chill at the shelter the rest of the day.
    i just have to say more.

    the 18 miles or so north of HF is, bar none, the easiest hiking i have ever done. the 12 or 14 miles south might be the second easiest.

    "pretty rock" compared to what, exactly? the sidewalk in front of my house? sure.

    as for the heat, i started out of HF on a 100 degree day in june at 11am and made it to pine knob shelter before sundown.

    now i dont recommend anyone to attempt such a thing. i mostly mention it because that is a hike that anywhere else on the AT i could never do. i hadnt planned to do it that day either. i intended to stop at dahlgren and was worried if i could even make it that far in that heat. that stretch of trail is just THAT easy. easier than i would have ever imagined any part of the trail would be.

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    I did HF to bear den this weekend. Factor in 5.5 hour drive Saturday AM from northeast North Carolina, we camped at site on Raven rock to enjoy views. Could have easily made it to bear den that evening if needed. We were at raven rock by 6, with s stop just north to get water for rest of evening and morning. There are some steep climbs nobo or sobo there, but they are super short (i.e1200 to 1500 feet in quarter mile..those numbers aren't exact but that's close) , and none of those monster climbs that drain you.

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