Epic hike - TN area suggestions?

11:30 a.m. on June 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Okay, here's the deal. I've been gone awhile. Some of you may remember me. Probably some new people aboard I've never talked to before.

I've had a helluva year. My life spiraled downward because my wife lost her job and couldn't (wouldn't cough cough) find work. Last year, we agreed to a divorce and we filed last week. Basically, my life just turned upside down. I gained 100 pounds and just couldn't get myself to get into the woods like I should.

So, I need help. I've got to get back to losing weight and get back on the trail and doing what I love to do.

This is where you all come in. The best way for me to focus and to get myself back on track I've found is to have goals. For example, two years ago I lost a bunch of weight and the big motivator for me was a two day hike around Charlies Bunyon in the Great Smokies Mountain National Park. I'm looking for an epic hike to train for within the TN, NC, North Georgia or West Virginia area. Something that would get me pumped and to train for. I'd like any suggestions you all may have.

One trek I've been playing with is the Slick Rock Trail up to the Hangover in Joyce Kilmer/Citico Creek. I've heard it's a tough trail, but a good one. Any other ideas?

2:22 p.m. on June 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Yeah, I just did a trip on the Upper Slickrock "nutbuster" and used some tools to do trailwork.  Even with 7 days of work the trail is still a challenge and one I would recommend, especially going up as it seems safer as far as footing goes.  Then again, all the trails in the Citico/Slickrock can give you a workout if that's what you want.

And they're twice as hard in this summer heat.  You'll be dong a combination sweatlodge/marathon and pumping iron.  What fun.  See you there.

It really depends on how far you feel like driving and whether you want to be by water to cool off or up on the high ground between 5,000 and 6,000 feet.  If it's not too far I'd recommend Mt Rogers and Wilburn Ridge.

4:07 p.m. on June 19, 2013 (EDT)
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Welcome back Rocklion!

Epic in Slickrock will certainly be trail 42 (Slickrock Creek) up to Four Mile Ridge and eventually the Hangover. I highly recommend it. By going up 42 you get the best of all flavors in the Southern Apps; beautiful creek side gazing, lush cool coves, wind -blown ridge tops with Epic views, and challenging trails. Make a detour on that route to Bobs Bald and you can throw a high elevation grassy bald in the mix. You really can’t go wrong with that trip.

In the Smokies any of the high routes are wonderful IMO; consider a loop up Forney Creek to Andrews Bald and then back down to the BMT. Probably my favorite high section is the AT between the Bunion and Pecks Corner. You could really make it a workout by starting at Kephart Prong and going up Grassy Branch to Dry Slucie (that route would avoid the touristy section of AT near Newfound Gap). Another great trip is Gregory Bald from Cades Cove.

A fine trip is one I just got back from: the Roan Highlands.

And I second Tipis suggestion of Mt Rogers although I don’t recall any major climbs, but it is epic and beautiful.

Another great trip is Max Patch in NC. It does require some time on the AT but it can be approached from two different directions and as a  really nice section from I40 (butt kicker up Snowbird mountain) or from Hot Springs. I would recommend starting at I 40 and hiking to Hot Springs, and then taking the time to stop by Hot Springs resort where you can rent time in a private hot spring. Well worth it.

9:57 a.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
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Good suggestions. I've been wanting to do Roan for quite awhile. I'm also going to look more into Mt. Rogers.


I'm planning this trip for later in the summer/fall. Probably end of September or sometimes in October.

Right now, I need to start planning up some small trips. I'll probably head out to Jack's River soon. Maybe this weekend. Hiking out to a hole to dive into a mountain river is pretty appealing to me right now as hot as it is.

10:43 a.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
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Jacks is nice.  Will you come in on Beech Bottom trail?

12:17 p.m. on June 20, 2013 (EDT)
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Yep, that's the way I go in.

9:31 a.m. on June 27, 2013 (EDT)
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Welcome back, Rocklion! 

I am very sorry to hear how difficult things have been of late. Sending thoughts and prayers your way. 

I think Tipi and Pat have given plenty of good ideas. Though not epic in mileage, the Roan highlands are unbeatable in epic beauty. It's almost overwhelming really. 

To get ready for it, I know you're already familiar with a lot of our trails here in the Chatt area. Have you hiked or backpacked the North Chick Pocket Wilderness? Laurel Snow Pocket (Dayton Pocket) is also gorgeous, and offers more mileage of trails. If and when you hit either one of those, Feel free to leave your itinerary with me if you're going solo and don't have someone else to leave it with. I'm sure you saw, it but some poor girl fell and broke her leg just this week on Middle Creek near my house. 

1:58 a.m. on July 4, 2013 (EDT)
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I would take a look at the Bartram Trail, the Chunky Gal trail, or (for a nice warm-up) the Fires Creek rim trail. All mostly within the Nantahala NF, a good driving distance from the Chatt-area. Also, a fella I've been working with lately from South Carolina has been talking up the foothills trail something epic. All these aforementioned should give some definite motivation.  I find motivation through vistas and rewarding scenery.. all these trails harbor these results. Enjoy, and good luck buddy.

Oh, and an excellent one just under 300 miles is the good ole Benton McKaye. I plan to hit that one up soon as I return to the south. Some of the most epic and gorgeous scenery in the southern Appalachians, I am convinced.

10:24 p.m. on July 17, 2013 (EDT)
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Well damn. If things couldn't have gotten worse.

Well. They got worse.

I was fired from my job two weeks ago and now I'm looking for work. So, this weekend I'm heading to Lake Conosauga over in Georgia. Just going to swim, do some day hikes around there and reflect on life a bit.

When it rains, it pours.

7:52 a.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Good grief man!

Well, I don’t know the various aspects of your situation of course, but I offer this partly as humor (but it’s true): my job has been in jeopardy several times over the last 8 months during which I transitioned to a different career and it looks like now I’ll be involuntarily going back to my old career in a few weeks. I was told that I was actually fired but then brought back over the course of one evening a few weeks ago (what do you say to that??).

I’ve told my wife that if I do lose my job I’m going to most likely take the opportunity to do a long hike. Like several months of long hike. If done frugally a person can hike for months on relatively little money. Personally, I’ve saved up what I think it will cost me and have it at the ready as well researched some private medical insurance policies (basically catastrophic coverage type policies) so that my wife could stay insured while I indulged myself.

Perhaps you could take advantage of this rainy season in your life and do something you otherwise wouldn’t have opportunity to do?

9:23 a.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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Rocklion, sorry to hear that. Hopefully things can turn around for you soon

9:29 a.m. on July 18, 2013 (EDT)
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What I need to do is get my butt in the woods. I haven't been in months. Reason I'm going up to this mountain lake this weekend. Heck, thinking about just throwing everything in the car and heading out this morning.

I can't really do any long epic hikes right now. I've got two kids and need to pay child support. So, I'm not going out on anything like that. I just need to get out in the woods and get centered.

I just sold my mountain bike to buy some new boots. I won't be able to do any backpacking until I find what I want and break them in. So, the next best thing is to just go do some car camping. Place I'm going to is 30 miles from anywhere. So I won't get flooded with people.

11:50 a.m. on July 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Man, I'm sorry to hear about the troubles piling on, Rocklion. Keep your head up and your shoulder into it, man, and know there are people cheering you on. 

12:28 p.m. on July 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Well said Gonz!

We've missed you around here rocklion, take some time to get your head together. I my wife and I just had our first child six weeks ago and I'm just learning the stresses, and joys, that children can add to your life. It certainly is less time to get out just to detox.

1:36 p.m. on July 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Sorry to hear Rocklion, I hope things get better.I know they do with time...

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