Apr 2, 2011 at 10:33 am #1271584
I'm looking to do a solo trip in August and was wondering if you could give me some suggestions. Here are some key details:
– I like good vistas and trails that I can get moving pretty steadily on.
– I live at sea level, so anything above 9,000 feet or so is probably out of the question (unless you can convince me otherwise).
– The more awesome the better, but huge bonus points for staying local.
I was thinking of doing a section of the Long Trail in Vermont, but was told that it sounds like the opposite of what I'm looking for. I could tool around Shendoah, but I plan on doing a 4 day trip there in June and I don't see the need to go back. I've thought of tooling around the Adirondaks. The big bonus there is that I can drive to it, and that it's easy to put a bunch of loops together and end up back at my car. This also gives me a lot of outs if I need a shortcut to get back. However, I hear the PCT is an amazing trail as well as the john Muir trail.
Any thoughts or suggestions?
EDIT: I live in Philadelphia.
I'm planning on an aggressive pace, but I won't know how aggressive until I get a few hikes in under my belt this summer. I've just recently cut my load in half, but I'm not sure how much of a difference it will make.Apr 2, 2011 at 10:41 am #1718881
Barry, it might be helpful if we knew where you are located, or how far from there you are willing to travel to get to a trail. Then, when on the trail, how many miles are you looking for to cover in a week? A number of people have finished the John Muir Trail in a week or less. I won't claim that is the best way to see it. Also, there are issues about trail quotas and permits.
–B.G.–Apr 2, 2011 at 11:49 am #1718920
Thanks Bob, I just made the edits to my OP. Yes, I'm reading about the hassle of getting permits for J.M. Are there other good options on the PCT or around that area?Apr 2, 2011 at 12:10 pm #1718926
The PCT is over 2500 miles long, so that is a lot to choose from. The JMT is over 200 miles long, and that still has lots to choose from. Part of the problem is if you want to start at the standard place and finish at another standard place, and if you want to go during the key season. Some of us will get a permit to enter at some weird place, go for one week along parts of the JMT, and then exit from some other weird place. For me, the only challenge is getting there when the wildflowers are at peak. Some people like to pound out lots of trail miles with other hikers. Some people prefer to head to some chunk of wilderness where you don't see anybody else for a week. YMMV.
–B.G.–Apr 2, 2011 at 12:16 pm #1718929
Barry, it's hard to find western-style awsomeness within driving distance of Philly (I'm down the road in Harrisburg), but have you considered the White Mountains?Apr 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm #1718930
Where are the White Mountains? Are you talking about north up the AT? Like around NY or VT?Apr 2, 2011 at 12:19 pm #1718931
@babymattyLocale: Western/Central PA, Adirondacks
IMO, the Adirondacks is a great choice. Do you have any experience paddling? IMO, the Whitney Loop would be an amazing week-long paddle. You could do the Cranberry Lake 50 if you wanted to do a hike, and there are certainly enough side trails to extend your trip to a week. There aren't a lot of insane vistas, but Cat Mountain has beautiful 180 degree view. You could also possibly hike the CL50 in 3 days easy if you're in decent shape, then spend the rest of the time paddling.
Raquette River Outfitters is a useful resource in planning the logistics of such a trip. They could provide you with shuttle to/from your car, also drop off a canoe or kayak, or even just shuttle your car around so it's where you want to end up.
August is a great time to visit the 'Daks! Every pond and lake is warm and swimmable! (just watch out for the leeches).
If you're interested in such a trip, give Raquette River Outfitters a call. Anne has set my friends and I up on two awesome trips over the past two years.Apr 2, 2011 at 12:23 pm #1718934
Bob, I'm not opposed to starting and ending at weird locations, provided they are locations that I can get to. Like I said to my wife recently, "I've never had a smart phone before, so I'll probably be happy with anything on the market today." Likewise, I've never hiked out west, so it won't kill me to not do the most awesome sections of a trail during the most awesome blooming of flowers, or what have you.
What I would like, however, is to at least go off of a recommendation. I've found that doing just a bit of research gets you into better hikes than just randomly picking locations.
Yeah, if you can give me a decent alternative that would get me around quotas and not qualifying for permits, etc. I'm all ears.
Thanx again.Apr 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm #1718937
"Where are the White Mountains?"
The famous ones are around Mount Washington, New Hampshire. You run into tourists and hikers.
The not-so-famous ones are in eastern California, near Nevada. You run into bighorn sheep and marmots.
–B.G.–Apr 2, 2011 at 12:39 pm #1718943
"Yeah, if you can give me a decent alternative that would get me around quotas and not qualifying for permits, etc. I'm all ears."
In some areas, you still have permits and quotas, but they are different permits and quotas from what the hoards of JMT travelers are after. For instance, the national parks like Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon are very regimented about their wilderness rules. Note that the National Park Service is part of the Department of the Interior. If you step just outside the parks, you may be in a national forest. The national forests are run as part of the Department of Agriculture. But, the parks and the forests would have the same wilderness rules, right? Nope.
The Sierra National Forest and the Inyo National Forest administer parts of the John Muir Wilderness, which tends to be a good area surrounding Kings Canyon. A person can get a forest service permit which may or may not be on a quota, start from the trailhead, then reach the park boundary in a half-day. Then maybe another half-day and you are on the JMT. That's just one example. There are similar areas surrounding Yosemite. You just have to hit the maps, then hit the search engines. Once you have a good idea or two, come back here and ask about Plan A or Plan B.
FWIW, I just received confirmation of a wilderness permit I have reserved for a time in August. It is good to plan way ahead if you are after a primo area.
–B.G.–Apr 2, 2011 at 1:54 pm #1718970
The NH Whites have been a popular tourist destination for 100 years or so, are within a day's drive of a big chunk of the nation's population, and have some of the most spectacular scenery in the eastern US. Not surprisingly, parts of them are heavily overused. But they're a big place and you can find some pretty remote spots.Apr 2, 2011 at 3:30 pm #1719019
Well that picture certainly looks nice! I've hardly any experience backpacking on balds. Wait……make that no experience. All of my backpacking trips have been inside green tunnels with vistas here and there. I would love nothing more than to get out onto some balds. I take it the Whites can accommodate this?Apr 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm #1719160
There are a few peaks above treeline in the Whites; that photo is from one of them. It's the AT near Mt. Lafayette; we (my wife and I) were finishing up a 5-day loop hike last August. We started on a clear, sunny Saturday and this section was so crowded it reminded me of I-95. As soon as we got past the popular loop hike section we were alone. The Pemigawasset (sp?) Wilderness was empty except for Sunday hordes between a parking lot and popular swimming hole. The AT between Zealand and Lafayette had some hikers but it was hours between them. When we got back to Lafayette on a weekday, with weather as you see, we had the place to ourselves except for a couple of northbound thru-hikers. So as BG notes, you may get crowds – in popular spots in great weather on weekends. Other times you can be alone but can't count on true solitude unless you get off the AT.Apr 2, 2011 at 9:28 pm #1719186
"So as BG notes, you may get crowds – in popular spots in great weather on weekends. Other times you can be alone but can't count on true solitude unless you get off the AT."
I hiked up Mount Washington one time (Tuckerman up, Lion's Head down), and never saw a soul all day. Of course, there was about two feet of snow on the summit. I think it was the end of October.
–B.G.–Apr 3, 2011 at 11:32 am #1719323
I've pretty much come to the conclusion that in this day and age that anything cool is going to have tourists. I've also learned that tourists don't walk very far, so those crowded sections tend to be a small percentage of the total trip.Apr 3, 2011 at 12:20 pm #1719337
If you can afford the time and money, I'd say go west, young man. Others know a lot more than I do, but I'd say Rockies, Sierras or Cascades.
If you need to stay more local, for a week I'd say Adirondacks or White Mts (NH).
Adirondacks (~6 hours from Philly): for isolation, there's lots of places. For views, the High Peaks Region, but expect lots of people. Favorites: Haystack, Basin, Gothics, Giant of the valley.
White Mountains (~8 hours from Phil.) for isolation, the Cohos Trail. For spectacular views, Presidential Range(Mt. Wash., etc) and lots of lesser known peaks. Again expect lots of people.
Mt. Katahdin, Maine is a long ride, but is supposed to be spectacular.
Catskills (~4 hours from Philly). If you have a week, go to the Adirondacks, but when you have 2 or 3 days consider the Catskills. Cornell, Wittenberg, Black Dome, Blackhead are pretty nice.
If you joined the forums at http://adkhighpeaks.com/ and asked you might find people in your area to carpool who go north for weekend peak bagging or hiking.Apr 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm #1720435
@codycolor2Locale: Los Padres NF
You can do from Lake Piru to San Luis Obispo (part of the Condor Trail's proposed route) tons of trails in that area. Check out http://www.bryanconant.com he has the best maps I have used yet IMO. to see a digital version check out http://www.santabarbarahikes.com/community/sanrafmap/ this is just the San Rafael portion but you get the idea. On the actual maps he has mileage and trail conditions at the time of making the map.Apr 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm #1721688
@vintagegentLocale: Galveston TX
If your time and finances permit, how about the Hadrian'a Wall Path in Northern England? The elevation only reaches a touch above 1,000 ft.; despite that, the vistas in the middle section are really quite stunning. And where else can you find a trail with pubs located throughout?
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