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  1. #1

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    Which AT guidebook to buy?

    My wife and I have just decided to dedicate a month to a section hike of the AT beginning mid May....probably the NC/TN section but that's not cast in stone. I am trying to decide which and/or how many guidebooks to buy. Initially I was looking at the AT Thru-Hiker's Companion by Sylvester and/or the AT Data Book by Chazin but after some poking around I'm leaning toward the AT Guide by David Miller.

    Could anyone give me some advice on buying any one or combination of these books.

    Also I'm a little confused as to where you can camp in the Smoky Mountain National Park. Some sources have said you must camp in a shelter while others have said there are different regs for thru hikers. I know all must have a permit. We will both be using hammocks of course.

    Also...Assuming we do that section, would a Northbound or Southbound trip be easier?

    Thanks, Miguel

  2. #2
    don't take me wrong, but http://www.whiteblaze.net/index.php might be a better place to ask this ?
    "Tenting is equivalent to a bum crawling into a cardboard box, hammocking is an art" KK

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    don't take me wrong, but http://www.whiteblaze.net/index.php might be a better place to ask this ?
    You may be correct but I have plenty off faith right here at home.

    Miguel

  4. #4
    when camping in the Smokies while hiking the AT you have to stay at the shelters. If the shelter is full then you can camp outside of it. If it isn't you have to be in the shelter. Also no tents are allowed in the shelters which also means no hammocks.
    'Classic.' A book which people praise and don't read. ― Mark Twain

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    I used AWOL's guide book the first year it was out. There were lots of errors, but no more than any of the others. I like the way the information is presented in his books. The profile maps are evil, but very handy.

    Shelter camping (not hammock specific) restrictions are imposed only along the AT portion. You can take blue blazes down and back up to the AT at pretty regular intervals. The backcountry sites that I visited were a pleasure to camp at compared to the shelters full of Boy Scouts.

    I met a Ridge Runner at the first (actually second from Fontana) shelter. Shelter was a very long ways from full, but he had no problems with me hanging my hammock about 20' from the shelter. I met another one at the last northbound shelter as I was hanging my hammock inside the shelter. He asked some questions about it, but didn't ask/tell me to take it down. FYI, that last shelter is some kind of vacation destination for the spider population in that area. I slept with my bug net shut tight!
    Trust nobody!

  6. #6
    Rain Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miguel View Post
    ... after some poking around I'm leaning toward the AT Guide by David Miller. Could anyone give me some advice on buying any one or combination of these books.
    Which book to use is personal preference, like whether to use a tent or a hammock, boots or shoes, etc. I take the pages from The A.T. Guide when I section hike. Sometimes I also take pages from the "Appalachian Trail Guide" by the ATC. I also carry the maps. Love maps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Miguel View Post
    Also I'm a little confused as to where you can camp in the Smoky Mountain National Park. Some sources have said you must camp in a shelter while others have said there are different regs for thru hikers. I know all must have a permit.
    "Thru-hikers" are allowed to overflow around a shelter, if the shelter is full. "Thru-hiker" is defined as beginning and ending more than 50 miles outside the Park boundaries.

    Have a great hike!

    Rain Man

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    "You can stand tall without standing on someone. You can be a victor without having victims." --Harriet Woods
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  7. #7
    Dutch's Avatar
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    I am biased towards AWOL's book because I thru'd with him, but it really is the best book showing all the important info and a profile map.
    Peace Dutch
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  8. #8

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    Thanks for the advice...I think I'll start with AWOL's book. I also think I'll pass on the Smokies for now as we want to hammock camp every night without any hassle. I think we may do something north of the Smokies. I'll have to check the maps. My wife also doesn't have a lot of experience so perhaps Virginia might be a better choice since it's easier to hike and to bail if she finds the whole thing too difficult.

    Again...thanks, Miguel

  9. #9
    Dutch's Avatar
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    Some of the best trail is just north of the Smokeys. I'm heading down there myself over Easter. Have a great hike.
    Peace Dutch
    GA>ME 2003

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  10. #10
    New Member sunstrike's Avatar
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    Just got back from the AT in the smokeys and only slept in one shelter and i was able to hang my hammock in there we had 23 people in a shelter designed for 12 it was really storming that night and i used the The AT guide book i like it better than the thruhikers companion

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