Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park

Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park

Postby jdhikes » Wed May 28, 2008 11:28 am

Saturday I hiked 33.7-miles of this trail starting at 7-AM and finishing 8-PM. It was brutal since unlike the Pacific Crest Trail, the trail is so twisty, one can't get a rhythm and is constantly adjusting pacing, speed etc to adapt to the trail. The elevation gain was less than 4000-ft and with all due respect to Virginians, not much variety and/or views compared to Western trails.

Sunday morning I had hoped to go farther but the hips on the 62-year old body were complaining so I stuck out a thumb on the Blue Ridge Parkway which criss-crosses the trail the entire 105-stretch of the park, and got a ride in a minute back to my car.

On to the Triple-Rim.
JD
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Appalachian Trail in Shenandoah National Park

Postby Day Hiker » Thu May 29, 2008 4:31 pm

JD, thanks for the post on that long day hike on the AT. I agree: the Eastern trails are a grind. I'll take the Sierra's and Rockies anytime ... and that big hole you are doing next. Good luck on the 3 R's (Grand Canyon rim-rim-rim).

Please post the results. I'm 64 and it's motivating to hear of a close-aged person doing these things.

Craig (DayHiker)
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Postby blvd81 » Wed Jun 11, 2008 9:41 am

I'm a Marylander so I'm not offended ;) But I hike 15-30 miles on Mid-Atlantic trails just about every weekend so I can offer a little advice.

There is no way to get the kind of scenery available out west because we just don't have the elevation differentials. However there are some very scenic sections of trail. They just aren't dramatic like out west.

The AT tends to stick to ridge tops, which are mostly viewless in summer. The most scenic trails are often climbing in and out of hollows, along streams, etc. The streams in the Mid-Atlantic are quite beautiful in their dense forest setting. Look for places where you can loop with side trails off of the AT - Shenandoah NP is a great place for this. You also usually get more elevation change by using side trails.

Another way to get great scenery is to come in autumn. That dense forest that was blocking all of your views is quite gorgeous when all the leaves are changing colors.

As for it being a grind, I think that's another difference people find when they hike out here. It can be just as hard, but in a different way. We have plenty of twisty, narrow, rocky, rooty, muddy trails with pointless ups and downs that can be very tiring despite the lack of 5-digit highpoints.

If anyone is heading east and needs ideas for great hikes in the Mid-Atlantic region, let me know. As for me, I'm headed west to that big hole in less than a week. Can't wait!

Also wanted to say that this site has great info for the cross-canyon trip and was very useful when planning. Also an inspiration for me. I thought I was just crazy for wanting to do really long dayhikes, but I stumbled on this site and found other crazy people like me and great ideas for hiking trips - I've got quite a list I want to accomplish now!
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