I mapped out a tentative trip. I actually mapped out two of them but the first was a bit too ambitious (5 days at 12 miles a day was a bit much lol). I also marked out all the water sources.
So here is what I have planned:
According to Cooldays suggestion we will park at Massie Gap and hike Big Pinnacle to Twin Pinnacles because they sound interesting. Then along the Stampers Branch Trail for a stop off in a campground for a water refill. Then up the Wilson Trail to the Orchard Seed Trail. Then we will hop onto the AT and head east and turn onto 4607. We will then take the Kabel Trail and camp near the Little Wilson Creek. Is this a reliable water source in early May? I have this to be about 7.5 miles.
Day 2: Fill up water and finish the Kabel Trail, turning north on the First Peak Trail. We will follow this trail to the intersection with the AT at Scales. If we really need water we will head down the Scales Trail to the spring otherwise we will follow the AT north and pick up water at the Old Orchard Shelter. We will camp somewhere between the Old Orchard Shelter and the intersection with Old Orchard Trail. I have this to be around 8.5 miles.
Day 3: We will continue along the AT north to Fairwood and get water at the restroom or at Fox Creek on the other side of the road. Does anyone know if Fox Creek is a reliable water source? Then we will jump on 301 and go west to Flat Top. There we will pick up 340, which looks like a road and follow 340 to SR603. Crossing SR603 we will take 166 to the Mount Rogers Tie Trail and get water at the campground restrooms. (And get some ice cream if there is any for sale). We will hike back out along the Tie trail to 166 (Mount Rogers Trail) and camp along it. If anyone knows of a nice spot along this trail we would love to try it. I have this at around 7.7 miles.
Day 4: We continue south along 166 to Deep Gap and get back on the AT heading east. We are going to follow the AT to the Mt. Rogers spur trail and summit then grab some water at the Thomas Knob Shelter (thanks for the tip not to stay there Cooldays). We will follow the AT to Rhododendron Gap and then grab the Crest Trail to Rhododentron Gap Trail because Cooldays said it was awesome. When this intersects with the AT again we will camp before we get to the VA Horse Trail to stay outside of Grayson. I have this at around 9 miles.
Day 5: Hike the rest of the AT into Grayson Highlands and the Appalachian Spur Trail. Time for the drive home while my hubby and the dog sleeps. I have this at around 2 miles.
I would love some info about the water sources along my route - if anyone has found them to be unreliable I'll have to carry and extra water bladder. We will be using an MSR filter and tablets (the 4 hour ones - I can't remember the active ingredient right now). We go through a lot of water because my dog drinks like a fish.