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  1. #1
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    AT Section Hike Watauga Dam to Massie Gap

    Looking into planning my summer section hike and was wondering if anyone out there had hiked the section from Watauga Dam TN to Massie Gap in Grayson Highlands State Park VA.

    I haven't found any trip reports for that specific report but I am hoping to do it in 5 or 6 days. I am thinking of going North and the 3rd night in Damascus and then finishing up 2 days later at my car in Massie Gap. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
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    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Risk's Avatar
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    That should work. I walked from the Kincora hostel about 4 hours south of Watuga to the Vandevender Shelter in a day, then stopped at a shelter about 4 hours south of Damascus. I'm pretty sure that I have hiked from Damascus to Grayson Highlands in two days.

    I won't be stopping at Vandevender shelter all alone again. I had a disturbed night of sleep between trees on the back side of the shelter... It was not until after the trip that I read about the axe murder that happened there.

    Also, water is very hard to get to from the shelter.

    From where you are starting, you should b able to reach the next shelter by end of day.

    Rick
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  3. #3

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    It's been five or six years, but I think that's pushing it too hard for an enjoyable section hike. Hiking north out of Damascus is a nice stretch and two days doesn't leave much time to enjoy it. I think it's roughly 40 miles from Damascus to Wise Shelter.

    Edit: Never trust the memory of someone who has as much gray hair as me. It is 33.1 miles from Damascus to Wise Shelter. It is 73 miles from Watagua Dam to Wise Shelter.
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    Last edited by CJK; 02-05-2013 at 19:27.

  4. #4
    Doctari's Avatar
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    The only issue I see is that last climb before Vandeventer on your first day out. But the time lost there can mostly be made up after Vandeventer cause it is relatively flat, at least for a trail in the mountains, as it mostly follows a ridge.
    About 1 mile before Vandeventer is a spring, I strongly suggest getting water there because the hike to water at Vandy is about the worst I've seen so far (Iv'e done from Springer to Atkins VA on the AT.) I figure I did that section, not counting taking a zero in Damascus in 6 days, can't find journal, but sure it took 4 days to Damascus, then 2 to Thomas Knob, which is only about 4 miles or less from Massie. I had no deadline so was taking my time, could have done to Damascus in 3 had I pushed a little harder.

    I do love that stretch, lots of views & real good hiking!

    Warning: once you get to the Highlands, you may not want to quit, I sure hate to leave every time I'm there!
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  5. #5
    Rockdawg69's Avatar
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    I did that section over a couple different years. 5 days hiking is about right, if you don't spend an entire day in Damascus. 6 if you want to enjoy the town. A couple days were long for me, especially the first day out of Damascus. Check my journal for 2007 and 2009 at: www. Trailjournals.com/rockdawg69
    Look for journal entries starting around June 2/3 in 2007 and Mar 31/April 1 for 2009. My mileage from Damascus to Thomas Knob Shelter was about 27 miles, roughly. Another 2 or 3 miles to Massie Gap I think.
    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by Rockdawg69; 02-05-2013 at 22:05.
    Rockdawg69

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  6. #6
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    I'm planning this section for the summer also, will prob plan for 5 days on the trail. Any suggestions for the best time to do it? I have May, June, July to chose from.
    Something hidden. Go and find it. Go, and look behind the Ranges. Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you . . . Go! - Rudyard Kipling

  7. #7
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    Would it be an easier hike if I reversed and went south from Massie Gap to Watauga Dam?

    Also is it saft to leave a car at Watauga Dam for 5 days?
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

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