Feb 9, 2008 at 4:54 am #1227202
@darwin310Locale: Great Lakes Area
I found out recently that it's not going to work out for me to do the Ozark Highlands Trail this March because the first part of it isn't accessible yet due to construction:( Actually, I could still do it, but I wouldn't get to do the first 10 miles of it. Call me crazy, but I'd prefer not to do it until I can do the whole thing. Do you have any other suggestions for a 140-160 mile hike, either a loop or a shuttled one, in a non-snow area at that time?
email@example.comFeb 9, 2008 at 7:07 am #1419812
Consider the Bartram Trail in the North Carolina Mountains. It is 110 miles long, plus the five mile backtrack to Winding Stair Gap OR the preferable 10 miles south on the Appalachian Trail to Nantahala Outdoor Center.
About mile 55, you hit the 14-mile road walk through Franklin. The good part is that Franklin is accustomed to AT thru-hikers and is very hiker friendly. Ron Haven and his staff at the Budget Inn could easily set you up with shuttles so you could stage your vehicles at NOC then get shuttled to the southern terminus on the Georgia/South Carolina border. Then you could resupply in Franklin.
It's not quite 140 miles, but the mountains are pretty steep and would still make for a solid hike. You'd get to see the best of the southern Appalachians without the crush of Spring AT thru-hikers. You'll still see them in Franklin and when the AT and BT join for a couple of miles neat Wayah Bald (incredible views), and at the trail's end where the BT and AT meet on top of Cheoah Bald (more great views). If you hike south to NOC from there, you'll be stunned by their sheer numbers.
Johnny Molloy's Long Trails of the Southeast (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0897325303?tag=n2backpacking-20&camp=14573&creative=327641&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=0897325303&adid=1VSNF9V5BAW9D544GRW7&) gives a great overview and there are detailed guidebooks for the Georgia and NC sections with topo maps and mileage indicators for various point from the U. S. Forest Service. (http://www.geocities.com/j3hnr3y/purchase.html)
Hope this will give some food for thought. If you go this route, I may see you out there.Feb 11, 2008 at 6:35 am #1420096
@foundLocale: Sacramento, CA
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