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  1. #1
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    Default Wilbur Dam (433.0) to Damascus (470.4) or Laurel Creek (584.9) to Weary Feet (609.9)

    Planning a mini 2 night hike before grad school school starts...(wife gave me the go-ahead for an extra mini trip this year..yeh!! lol)....I am planning to do 1 of either of these 2 hikes; would like to get feedback from people who have done these...which would you recommend? how is the terrain? water? shelters? How crowded this time of year? Any other tidbits of info also, anything anyone has to share is much appreciated....

    *either hike going to drive early, park car, and shuttle to trail head

    Hike 1 Wilbur Dam 433.0 --> 470.4 Damascus (NOBO)

    Day 1 Wilbur Dam 433.0 -> 444.5 Iron Mtn Shelter
    Day 2 Iron Mtn Shelter 444.5 -> 460.5 Abington Gap Shelter
    Day 3 Abington Gap Shelter 460.5 -> 470.4 Damascus -> home

    OR...

    Hike 2 Laurel Creek 584.9 -> 609.9 Weary Feet Hostel

    Day 1 Laurel Creek 584.9 -> 594 Helvey's Mill Shelter
    Day 2 Helvey's Mill Shelter 594 -> 603.7 Jenny Knob Shelter
    Day 3 Jenny Knob Shelter 603.7 -> 609.9 Weary Feet Hostel -> home

    Thanks!!
    Michael

  2. #2

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    We did Wilbur Dam Road to Damascus in two section hikes last summer, our plans to do it in 3 days were disrupted by camping closures between Double Spring and Backbone Rock last year, not sure if that section is open to camping now or not. Your plan is what we were going to do. It's a nice section, some climb at the beginning either way you go but nothing crazy, and once you're at the top you're cruising, "Tenn. Turnpike".

  3. #3
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    Hike 1 is longer, more climbing. So Hike 2 would be easier and shorter. Helvey's Mill to Jenny Knob is 1/2 day for most folks. You might consider camping a mile or two before Helvey's right after you get off the road walk.

  4. #4
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    Have done 1st, and the 1st of the 2nd. If you do 2nd, you might check Brushy Mt Outpost hours.

  5. #5
    Registered User One Half's Avatar
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    Hike 1 is certainly doable if you are in decent hiking shape. I did it SOBO in three days in May. It's definitely "friendlier" IMO to go NOBO through that section. I did "encounter" a bear south of Abingdon Gap shelter about 2 miles early one morning (he saw me and went crashing through the trees off trail)
    Day 1 is Lots of uphill especially from the Dam road and the first 4.5 miles. My knee can attest as I did that section downhill and it took 3 hours due to the pain I was having (yes! 3 hours downhill for 4.5 miles!).
    Day 2 - Iron Mountain to Abingdon Gap is certainly doable. Many NOBOs were doing exactly that. And then Abingdon Gap to Damascus is basically downhill. But if you don't get to Abingdon Gap on Day 2 and end up at the prior shelter you should be able to finish in Damascus in the same time frame anyway.
    There is NO WATER at Iron Mountain but there is a good source about 1/2 mile south of there so camel up there.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  6. #6
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    Thanks all...I'm leaning towards probably doing the Damascus hike. Logistically I think it'll work better. Appreciate all the info.

  7. #7
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    You made a good call. The AT from Watauga to Damascus is memorable, with some nice mountain terrain and lovely farm fields. And there's the nice finish at Damascus, where you can get a big burger and ice tea. Who could ask for more?

    Laurel Creek to Weary Feet is mostly green tunnel, though there's Brushy Mountain Outpost for a good lunch (if you get there while it's open) and the possibility of Trent's Grocery near the end.

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