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  1. #11
    QiWiz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hang_time View Post
    I'm planting my feet firmly on the trail mid-March 2013 at Springer (I'll be hiking the approach trail, too), and I would really prefer to hang for the entire trip.

    I'm aware that there are going to be times that I won't be able to and have to go to ground, but I wanted to know from any AT thru'ers here that could shed some light on the pros/cons, and why they ultimately chose to hang over taking a tent.

    Thanks in advance.
    As long as you are comfortable with setting up and taking down your hang in bad weather, should have no problems. If you use a pad rather than an UQ, you could even go to ground in a shelter occasionally with reasonable comfort. In the Smokies, you are supposed to stay in the shelters unless they are "full". In theory, if you hang outside a non-full shelter, you could be fined by a ranger. In practice, I doubt this would actually happen.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hang_time View Post
    TShould I give the approach a miss?
    You know, if you have the time to spare and want to have the crud beat out of you for the first day, the approach trail is an option. There is NOTHING of value to see there. And, technically, in order to claim you've hiked the approach trail...you have to climb those gawd-awful stairs they have going up the waterfall at the Welcome Center.

    I met one of my best friends to this day on the approach trail, so I found some value. But, I was looking for the ledge where the coffee filters were thrown by Katz. Seriously, that section of the book made me laugh so hard that I wanted to see the spot, just to say I had been there. LIES! Didn't exist. Made me a little mad.

    Like Dos said, nobody cares if you hiked it after the first couple of weeks. Well, other than the ones that did hike it that are looking for someone to commiserate with about it.
    Trust nobody!

  3. #13
    Dos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QiWiz View Post
    In theory, if you hang outside a non-full shelter, you could be fined by a ranger. In practice, I doubt this would actually happen.
    This was never an issue for me.
    2 nights I had Ridgerunners stay at the shelters.
    They were cool both times.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    In some mysterious way woods have never
    seemed to me to be static things.
    In physical terms, I move through them;
    yet in metaphysical ones,
    they seem to move through me. -
    John Fowles


    GA --> ME '12

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cannibal View Post
    You know, if you have the time to spare and want to have the crud beat out of you for the first day, the approach trail is an option. There is NOTHING of value to see there. And, technically, in order to claim you've hiked the approach trail...you have to climb those gawd-awful stairs they have going up the waterfall at the Welcome Center.

    I met one of my best friends to this day on the approach trail, so I found some value. But, I was looking for the ledge where the coffee filters were thrown by Katz. Seriously, that section of the book made me laugh so hard that I wanted to see the spot, just to say I had been there. LIES! Didn't exist. Made me a little mad.

    Like Dos said, nobody cares if you hiked it after the first couple of weeks. Well, other than the ones that did hike it that are looking for someone to commiserate with about it.

    this whole quote made me laugh.
    Trust me, you WILL feel like Katz on a day or two!
    As Cannibal said though, much of it is made up.
    I laughed alot though!!
    As well, I read a couple of thru hikers journals on trail journals.
    If you are going to do that, GO FOR THE HUMOROUS ONES! you are going to need it!! ( search Certain like around 7-8 years ago)

    and my answer is still a resounding ,"no" for the approach trail.
    Bragging rights is about it.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~
    In some mysterious way woods have never
    seemed to me to be static things.
    In physical terms, I move through them;
    yet in metaphysical ones,
    they seem to move through me. -
    John Fowles


    GA --> ME '12

  5. #15
    Senior Member Cannibal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dos View Post
    This was never an issue for me.
    2 nights I had Ridgerunners stay at the shelters.
    They were cool both times.
    Ditto here.
    One told me to setup outside if I wanted and the other 'caught' me hanging inside the last NB shelter in SMNP. His only comment was, "Good way to keep the spiders out."

    Be cool with the Runners and be reasonable. They will almost always return the favor.
    Trust nobody!

  6. #16
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    love the info. bought my plane ticket got res for pick up by hiker hostel lots to do before i go but super excited. i,ll check the log books for you

  7. #17
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    oh as far as the approach trail goes i going to do it most likely my only thru hike and dont want to miss anything even if it is pain in the butt for little payoff

  8. #18
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    Looks like no approach trail for me, then. No point in spending ~3.5 hours on a trail that doesn't "matter".

    I very much appreciate the advice on hanging in the Whites/shelters and heads up on the runners, etc. I'm a pretty easygoing Brit with no ego, so I'm hoping I'll get cut some slack.

  9. #19

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    I started on April 1st this past year and had to get off north of Damascus. I've also hiked the Shenendoahs....both hikes with a hammock. Cannibal and Dos pretty much covered it and I agree with everything they said. I used an UQ (no pad) so I never stayed in a shelter. I did stay near them about half the time because there is always water nearby and sometimes I wanted company.

    I can only recall a couple of times that I would have considered sleeping in a shelter, during a couple of heavy downpours and a snowstorm in the Smokies. I am returning to where I left off in May and am considering switching of to a NeoAir Xlite just to open up the ground option. You also don't have to worry about it getting wet unlike your down products.

    I also used a Dream Hammocks Dangerbird which has a built in weathershield. That was probably the best gear choice I made as the weathershield proved to be priceless. What started as an unusually warm hike turned into a nightmare in the Smokies. It rained, sleeted, snowed and hailed. Many nights were in the twenties and a few hikers had to be rescued when it went down to zero one night. The weathershield increases the temp inside your hammock quite a bit but more importantly it blocks the wind which you will encounter plenty.

    I see you are in a Warbonett Blackbird. If you do nothing else, buy yourself a sock. When it warms up you can send it home. Odds are great that with your March start you will encounter some wicked bad weather. Be prepared for it. BTW...my weathershield allowed me to get away with carrying a 30 degree sleeping bag although I must admit it was a Western Mountaineering and the night it dropped to zero I was safely tucked away in a hotel in Gatlinburg.

    Have a great hike....with your start date I may actually see you on the trail. My trail name is Cat in the Hat but here I'm....

    Miguel

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miguel View Post
    I started on April 1st this past year and had to get off north of Damascus. I've also hiked the Shenendoahs....both hikes with a hammock. Cannibal and Dos pretty much covered it and I agree with everything they said. I used an UQ (no pad) so I never stayed in a shelter. I did stay near them about half the time because there is always water nearby and sometimes I wanted company.

    I can only recall a couple of times that I would have considered sleeping in a shelter, during a couple of heavy downpours and a snowstorm in the Smokies. I am returning to where I left off in May and am considering switching of to a NeoAir Xlite just to open up the ground option. You also don't have to worry about it getting wet unlike your down products.

    I also used a Dream Hammocks Dangerbird which has a built in weathershield. That was probably the best gear choice I made as the weathershield proved to be priceless. What started as an unusually warm hike turned into a nightmare in the Smokies. It rained, sleeted, snowed and hailed. Many nights were in the twenties and a few hikers had to be rescued when it went down to zero one night. The weathershield increases the temp inside your hammock quite a bit but more importantly it blocks the wind which you will encounter plenty.

    I see you are in a Warbonett Blackbird. If you do nothing else, buy yourself a sock. When it warms up you can send it home. Odds are great that with your March start you will encounter some wicked bad weather. Be prepared for it. BTW...my weathershield allowed me to get away with carrying a 30 degree sleeping bag although I must admit it was a Western Mountaineering and the night it dropped to zero I was safely tucked away in a hotel in Gatlinburg.

    Have a great hike....with your start date I may actually see you on the trail. My trail name is Cat in the Hat but here I'm....

    Miguel
    Thanks, Miguel. I will be taking my WBBB, and both the UQ and my new TQ/bag - both are rated at 30'. I am planning also to take a torso length closed cell foam pad (1/8"). I did try Warbonnet's sock and didn't like it - it was a pain in the arse to keep threading my suspension through the ends, and it flapped about a LOT in windy weather. Additionally - and this was the kicker for me - if I didn't get the hang just right (and I mean within an inch), the sock would compress up against the bottom of my UQ and I'd lose some insulation.

    So I recently picked up a UQ protector from 2QZQ, and it just works perfectly. It works the same, and I don't get much wind across my face when hanging given the depth of the WBBB when I'm in it - so this works perfectly for protecting the UQ and providing a little extra warmth.

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