Need Advice - Backpacking trip with Daughter

9:49 a.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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Hello All,

I am looking for some advice on possible trips for this year.  I have been taking my daughter (9yo) backpacking for the last couple of years, mostly 1-2 night trips, locally around the Pittsburgh area.  This year I'd like to take her on a 4-6 night trip somewhere new & exciting, during her summer break (June-Aug).  5-10 miles/day is do-able.  Prefer to keep it to the eastern side of the US.  I was originally thinking GSMNP or White Mtns, but I'd prefer to not stay at a group shelter.  Mt Rogers sounds interesting & might be a potential trip.  Can anyone recommend a specific trip?  Thanks in advance for the help!

Doug  

10:17 a.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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Pittsburg is a nice location because your 5-6 hours from quite a few really nice areas. Some area you can look at for ideas are the Catskills, Harriman State Park, NY, Virginia Highlands(mt rogers is here), The ADKS are a littler further as are the green and white mtns.

If your looking to avoid shelters I would not go to the smokies as you are required to camp at the shelters.

The catskills and ADKs allow you to camp anywhere 200ft from the trail, water source, road, or dwelling.

The virginia highlands/grayson highlands would be a nice trip i think. I bet she would be overly excited to see the wild ponies running, they even come up and beg for snacks lol(not saying to feed them but because they are used to hikers alot of times they come up close to say 'hi').

2:18 p.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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Hey Doug, 

I wouldn't write off the middle and southern Appalachians, there vast stretches of the mountains that are not part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and do not require staying in shelters. You can camp just about anywhere in the Cherokee and Nantahala National Forests, as long as you are 100ft from roads, water, etc. The GSMNP only covers about 1/4 of the mountains along the TN border, essentially the other 3/4 are part of the Cherokee NF, and extend all the way to the northern and southern borders of the state. Much of the NC side of the mountains are in corresponding national forests.

I second the recommendation of the ranges north of the GSMNP in TN and VA. 

5:04 p.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks for the advice.  Highly considering the Mt Rogers (virginia highlands) area as my daughter would love the ponies up close.  (She knows that feeding wild animals is bad, but I guess not everyone does)   

A few extra questions - from the few pics I've seen the area appears pretty open, we're use to camping in a forest.  Is that really the case?  In June any concerns with temperature, bugs, exposure, etc?  And can anyone recommend a good website, &/or guide books?

Thanks again for the help.  

5:36 p.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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Doug left this so you can see what the park has for Tree or cover. June thru August you need to pay attention to ticks. For a website try this www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/gra.sthtml

 

8:04 p.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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There are spots with lots of tree cover, and other parts that are wide open.

10:38 p.m. on January 14, 2012 (EST)
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Thanks all, I showed my daughter some pics I found on the net of the ponies.  She was already excited.  Just need to start researching potential trails.  

12:09 a.m. on January 15, 2012 (EST)
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Here's a trip I took on the AT last year.  Just start further South than we did for a longer hike.

http://www.trailspace.com/forums/trip-reports/topics/103958.html

If you want to hike on the AT This is an excellent map showing mileage and shelters. 

BTW have any of you guys hiked on the AT Headed North from the Nolichucky River crossing? 

10:04 a.m. on January 15, 2012 (EST)
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That looks like a great trip.   Do you have to camp at the shelters on the AT?  I've been avoiding trails like the AT because of the potential for crowds.  I kinda prefer to go it alone.  There seems to be no shortage of good trips reasonably close to home to choose from.  

11:18 a.m. on January 15, 2012 (EST)
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Doug the Grayson Highlands is a 4000 acre park. The video I put up from youtube was to show they have cover.Large cluster's in different parts of the park. I mentioned ticks because this year were haveing a mild winter.Park's number for more information (276) 579-7092.

11:58 a.m. on January 15, 2012 (EST)
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Doug, as far as memory serves me there are only two areas where one is required to stay at the shelters on the AT. And those are the shelters in the GSMNP(smokies), and above treeline in the Whites you are not allowed to camp, however in the whites there are several AMC huts you can pay to stay at.

12:24 p.m. on January 15, 2012 (EST)
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If you are in the GSMNP you have to camp at designated areas.  On the AT that is the shelters.  If the shelters are full you can set your tent up near them.  In the National Forest sections you don't.  Just sensible rules like 100 feet from water, roads, etc.

We went during the middle of the week and it was not crowded at all.  We ran into a few hikers but were mostly by ourselves.  I understand from Patman that the weekends can be a bit crowded.  The hostel/bnb that we left our cars at said that most of through hikers had already gone through and the busy season was over for them.

I don't know how fast you hike. Remember there are some very steep hills in the southern section of the AT.  

This website has an excellent map of the AT (along with a bunch of other trails) http://postholer.com/gmap/.  The advantage of this map over several others is that it has topo maps.

8:11 p.m. on January 15, 2012 (EST)
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Mt Rodgers is a wonderful area!  You are not required to sleep at shelters, but in many cases you would want to.  Essentially, there is a lot of beautiful open places, great to walk across, but not the best camping (wind, exposure, etc..).  Camping in lower places up there, sheltered by a few trees is nice, and those areas are close to where shelters are located.  Just north of Mt. Rogers the Iron Mountain Trail intersects the AT.  This approximately 40 mile trail has shelters as an option, but few of the crowds of the AT.  You could park north of Mt. Rogers, walk over the mountain, camping on the south side, then walk a few days on the Iron Mountain Trail, and finish up in Damascus, VA, a very cool little AT Trail Town.  In warm weather, you could wrap up your hike with a down-hill bike ride of the Virginia Creeper trail.

9:23 a.m. on January 16, 2012 (EST)
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Wherever you go bring a lot of food you know she will eat.  My kids turn into ravenous monsters when we hike/climb.  They eat as much as me. 

4:42 p.m. on January 16, 2012 (EST)
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unfortunately,  my daughter is a picky eater, 

fortunately for backpacking, she likes the basics-plain noodles/rice, cause I'm not much of a backpack chef.  I tend to keep it simple-granola bars, noodles...

11:57 p.m. on April 3, 2012 (EDT)
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if your daughter genuinely enjoys backpacking consider yourself one of the luckiest people on the face of the earth.when my daughter was nine she didn't want to carry her own body weight to the bathroom adjacent to her bedroom.new kids on the block were the most important,period.god bless you,you must have done something right.what's the secret?i hope she's not doing it for the same reason my twenty-four year-old daughter did it(because she thought that's what daddy wanted).sometimes it's hard to interpret what the actual intentions are.i know i climbed a lot of mountains because i thought it make my father happy(and it did)but i loved it.if it's genuine consider yourself one of the lucky hikers that can share your passion of the outdoors with your offspring!

1:00 a.m. on April 4, 2012 (EDT)
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pittsburgh isnt really promoted as backpacking country but i will check it out because i can take amtrak straight there for cheap from boston,i'll pack my gear and go.if anybody has any tips on please let me know because i need to get away.any links for trail maps?other than small section of at no other trail maps.

July 25, 2014
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