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  1. #1
    bayoubomber's Avatar
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    Questions about the first section of the AT

    Ive been preparing for our 5 days hike on the first section of the AT on March 23. My cousin in law calls me last night and asked me if he can bring his dog with us, so I said I'll ask my fellow Hangers from HF.

    1. Can you hike with a dog on the AT? (I've watched countless videos and I see no dogs.)
    2. When hiking how often are the watering holes?

    3. Is hanging allowed in the first section or lets say first 100 miles?

    4. Do you have to hike the "approach trail" or can we park anywhere near the top of Springer Mt? (We would rather just start on top of Springer) If parking is allowed how long can we park the truck? Is it safe to leave for a few days?

    5. Will need a bug net? Temps still getting down into the upper 30's at night so I doubt there will be crawlers around but don't know for sure.

    That's about it, I really appreciate the help from this site, you guys/gals are some of the greatest people I haven't had the honor to meet yet!!!

    Pics and videos will follow and thanks again for any info y'all can give up.


    your fellow hanger,


    bayoubomber
    Last edited by bayoubomber; 03-11-2013 at 10:01.
    "Life's short, if you don't stop and look around every once in a while you might miss it". FB

  2. #2
    dakotaross's Avatar
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    AT

    Quote Originally Posted by bayoubomber View Post
    Ive been preparing for our 5 days hike on the first section of the AT on March 23. My cousin in law calls me last night and asked me if he can bring his dog with us, so I said I'll ask my fellow Hangers from HF.
    1. Can you hike with a dog on the AT? (I've watched countless videos and I see no dogs.)
    yes, you can take your dog, should have no issues there

    2. When hiking how often are the watering holes?
    Do you have some sort of guide? In general, about 2-4 miles between water, but a lot of shorter stretches, a few longer. Obviously you need to know where the long ones are. Longest is the section between Hawk Mt shelter and Justis Creek or Gooch shelter - about 6-7m. I don't recall the approach trail having much water on it.

    3. Is hanging allowed in the first section or lets say first 100 miles?
    you can do whatever you want for just about all of the AT; exception is when you enter park areas like GSMNP.

    4. Do you have to hike the "approach trail" or can we park anywhere near the top of Springer Mt? (We would rather just start on top of Springer) If parking is allowed how long can we park the truck? Is it safe to leave for a few days?
    No reason to hike the approach if you don't care to. There is a decent size lot at Springer, which you have to hike AT sobo to get to the top of. I would consider it a very safe place for extended parking.

    5. Bug net? I don't believe so. Sometimes, though, the gnats come out right when it gets warm. They bother me more during the day while hiking that at night. I would say a headnet would be sufficient.

  3. #3
    bayoubomber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dakotaross View Post
    1. Can you hike with a dog on the AT? (I've watched countless videos and I see no dogs.)
    yes, you can take your dog, should have no issues there
    Thought so but he wanted me to ask.

    2. When hiking how often are the watering holes?
    Do you have some sort of guide? In general, about 2-4 miles between water, but a lot of shorter stretches, a few longer. Obviously you need to know where the long ones are. Longest is the section between Hawk Mt shelter and Justis Creek or Gooch shelter - about 6-7m. I don't recall the approach trail having much water on it.

    That's good to know because I carry enough for about 5-6 miles depending on weather and how difficult the hike will be.

    3. Is hanging allowed in the first section or lets say first 100 miles?
    you can do whatever you want for just about all of the AT; exception is when you enter park areas like GSMNP.

    4. Do you have to hike the "approach trail" or can we park anywhere near the top of Springer Mt? (We would rather just start on top of Springer) If parking is allowed how long can we park the truck? Is it safe to leave for a few days?
    No reason to hike the approach if you don't care to. There is a decent size lot at Springer, which you have to hike AT sobo to get to the top of. I would consider it a very safe place for extended parking.
    This is great news!

    5. Bug net? I don't believe so. Sometimes, though, the gnats come out right when it gets warm. They bother me more during the day while hiking that at night. I would say a headnet would be sufficient.
    I'm from south Louisiana so I always need a bug net for around here.

    Thanks so much the info, I don't have a guide just an app on my iPhone, seems like it's the best marked trail in the world, so all of my concerns are taken care of.
    "Life's short, if you don't stop and look around every once in a while you might miss it". FB

  4. #4
    Doctari's Avatar
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    The first place you can not take your dog is the Smokies, so about mile 163 or so to about 78 miles trail north.

    I second getting a guide, AWOL's is the current favorite.

    Should be ample water, I don't recall having a problem doing that section (14 years ago.) but a guide will show you where in advance!
    When you have a backpack on, no matter where you are, you’re home.
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    I would pack a copy of the dogs rabies vaccination certificate. Might also want to include any other shots just in case there are any issues.
    YMMV

    HYOH

    Free advice worth what you paid for it. ;-)

  6. #6
    Junebugdawn's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about the first section of the AT

    Just curious, what is the GSMNP's reasoning against dogs if restrained? I was pretty sure I had heard they weren't allowed. Is it just on the AT in the park? Obviously, tourists bring their 4 legged companions along.

  7. #7
    Senior Member perdidochas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Junebugdawn View Post
    Just curious, what is the GSMNP's reasoning against dogs if restrained? I was pretty sure I had heard they weren't allowed. Is it just on the AT in the park? Obviously, tourists bring their 4 legged companions along.
    They only allow dogs on two short trails, none on the backcountry trails.

    http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/pets.htm

    From the link the reasons are:
    • Dogs can carry disease into the park's wildlife populations.

    • Dogs can chase and threaten wildlife, scaring birds and other animals away from nesting, feeding, and resting sites. The scent left behind by a dog can signal the presence of a predator, disrupting or altering the behavior of park wildlife. Small animals may hide in their burrow the entire day after smelling a dog and may not venture out to feed.

    • Dogs bark and disturb the quiet of the wilderness. Unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells can disturb even the calmest, friendliest, and best-trained dog, causing them to behave unpredictably or bark excessively.

    • Pets may become prey for larger predators such as coyotes and bears. In addition, if your dog disturbs and enrages a bear, it may lead the angry bear directly to you. Dogs can also encounter insects that bite and transmit disease and plants that are poisonous or full of painful thorns and burrs.

    • Many people, especially children, are frightened by dogs, even small ones. Uncontrolled dogs can present a danger to other visitors.
    Time is but the stream I go afishing in. Henry David Thoreau

  8. #8
    Prefers life at 12 MPH. FLRider's Avatar
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    It might be worth picking up one of the antigravitygear Pocket Profile maps. Shows consistent water sources, trail amenities, and nearest towns, along with the elevation profile for the trail and a smallish map. Might be worth your time; I found it accurate for the ~6 miles I did over Christmas up there.
    "Just prepare what you can and enjoy the rest."
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  9. #9
    bayoubomber's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the info!
    "Life's short, if you don't stop and look around every once in a while you might miss it". FB

  10. #10
    the2nddeal's Avatar
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    I just did the first section to Neels Gap with my son this past Thursday & Friday. Water was flowing nicely in all the expected places, and in all of the unreliable places too. As mentioned above, there's a long stretch between Hawk Mt. Shelter and Justus Creek without water. This week, there was trail magic in one of the gaps in this section in the form of several gallon jugs of water. However, I wouldn't count on that. Just get water at Hawk and not worry about it.

    I also recommend AWOL's guide. You can buy it as a PDF and print out only the pages you need. I shrink it down to 4 pages per piece of paper (4 on front, 4 on back) and carry only the parts for the trip I'm on.

    Enjoy the trip. Ask away if you have any other questions.

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