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Astro on the BMT 2023

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    • Astro on the BMT 2023

      Trip with my wife (and college students) to Europe canceled, so I going for the Benton MacKaye Trail in May. :)

      Considered going SoBo so I could knock the GSMNP reservation hassle out at the beginning. But after reviewing the elevation and resupply options, back to traditional NoBo. Tacking on the extra 8 miles for the Approach Trail to Springer.

      Planning on dropping off resupply boxes at Iron Bridge, Reliance, and Fontana Dam.

      Any advice from those who have done the BMT is appreciated. :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
      1. Be sure to pick up a copy of sgt rock's guidebook. It hasn't been updated in a few years, but it was still accurate when I did it again last year.
      bmta.org/product/benton-mackaye-trail-guide-thru-hiker/

      Also the BMT is now on FarOut, and worth the investment. But the guide has better info for resupply, shuttles,etc.

      There is also a lot of useful information at bmta.org/thru-hikers-guide/

      The people at Reliance Fly and Tackle are top notch.
      Thunder Rock Campground is a regular public campground with gravel tent pads. Avoid it.
      Ducktown is another possible resupply point, but you'll need a shuttle.
      I stayed at Tapoco Lodge, they will hold packages for you, and I booked my Smokies reservation there. It's expensive though.
      Try to make your last night at Mt Sterling. There is a fire tower there and the views are amazing.
      I broke up my Smokies trips with a zero in Cherokee.
      There is also a facebook group for Benton Mackaye Trail Thru-Hike 2023.
      Let me know if you need any specific information.
      It's a beautiful trail that's gained a little popularity in the past few years, and the Far Out app has made it a little less intimidating.
      But last year, I only met 11 people on the trail itself for th eentire rip, and half of them I knew!
      its all good

      The post was edited 2 times, last by hikerboy ().

    • Thanks Hikerboy! :thumbup:

      Already have Sgt Rock Guide, FarOut, and the online Resupply document.

      Bought the National Geographic maps when I first looked into the BMT a few years ago. Not really a fan of maps that don't focus on the actual trail I am hiking, so I will leave them with my sister just in case need to bail for some reason. With Anti Gravity Gear pocket profiles and FarOut I believe I shou be OK.

      Great advice about Mt Sterling campsite. Will have to check into the fb page I will think about Cherokee. How easy was getting hitches each way?
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • I'll also be in that neighborhood in My. We driving down to Raleigh to see the new grandson for Mothers day. We'll then go to visit "almost" daughter and grandson in Charlotte, and come home via Ashville and Cincinnati. The drive from Ashville to Cincinnati will take us over the Smokeys. I was looking for a short easy hike. It has to be very easy. Mrs OMO fell and broke her wrist. She has very little foot-eye coordination. I'm thinking the trail to Indian Creek Falls from the Deep Creek Campground. That's only a few miles from the BMT.
    • Astro wrote:

      Thanks Hikerboy! :thumbup:

      Already have Sgt Rock Guide, FarOut, and the online Resupply document.

      Bought the National Geographic maps when I first looked into the BMT a few years ago. Not really a fan of maps that don't focus on the actual trail I am hiking, so I will leave them with my sister just in case need to bail for some reason. With Anti Gravity Gear pocket profiles and FarOut I believe I shou be OK.

      Great advice about Mt Sterling campsite. Will have to check into the fb page I will think about Cherokee. How easy was getting hitches each way?
      Without the FarOut app, the maps are absolutely necessary. With the app, not so much. I carried them anyway, because I always carry maps, app or no.
      its all good
    • odd man out wrote:

      I'll also be in that neighborhood in My. We driving down to Raleigh to see the new grandson for Mothers day. We'll then go to visit "almost" daughter and grandson in Charlotte, and come home via Ashville and Cincinnati.
      Stopping in Cincy or just passing through?
      Trudgin' along the AT since 2003. Completed Sections: Springer Mountain to Clingmans Dome and Max Patch NC to Gorham NH

      "The days I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations...those are pretty good days." Ray Wylie Hubbard
    • Astro wrote:

      How bad is poison ivy in May?
      With the warmer weather planning to just wear shorts.
      poison ivy or oak can get you anytime of the year. The worst case I ever got was from sleigh riding in the winter. Got it on my face and my lips swelled up as big as a Kardashian's butt. I had to a steroid shot.
      "Dazed and Confused"
      Recycle, re-use, re-purpose
      Plant a tree
      Take a kid hiking
      Make a difference
    • Dropped resuppl box off at Reliance Fly and Tackle yesterday on my way to NC. Dropped one off at Fontana Village Resort today. Will drop final (first) at Iron Bridge in the morning on my way to Amicalola Falls.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Those stairs are no joke. With temps in the 80s and real feel in 90s, the benches are useful. I justify it by eating and drinking makes my pack lighter. ;)
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      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Day 1 (May 9)
      9 miles to Springer Mountain Shelter
      8.8 miles on the AT Approach Trail to Springer Mountain and then 0.2 on the AT to the shelter (and actually another 0.2 to the actual shelter and campsite where I set up my tent). Love the AT with picnic table, easy water, and 2 bear boxes.
      After setting up my tent and getting water I cooked my supper and talked with hikers starting their AT thru hikes. Was a little surprised none of them knew what the BMT was.

      Did not realize my previous post when I was sitting on a bench was when I was already at the top of the falls. First picture is looking down and last out.
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      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Day 1 (cont.)
      While seeing Amicola Falls was nice, I would recommend doing it as a day hike. Ther rest of the AT Approach Trail is just pointless ups and downs (PUDs), and much more up (over 3,100 feet elevation gain) with no real views or anything interesting until Springer Mountain. If I ever go to Springer Mountain again I will definitely pay for a shuttle to FS 42 Big Stamp. When I started the AT I used my vehicle and had my Dad drive back. But did not want to make my sister do that with her vehicle this time.
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      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Day 2
      12.3 miles to Bryson Gap
      Despite the name I doubt Bill ever hiked here either. Crossed AT multiple times today and even walked with the AT some. Walked a few miles with The Old Guy (TOG) who was on a day hike and had some interesting stories. Also ran into a pair of SoBo women on an overnight hike. These would be the only people I would see on the BMT other than a few random trail runners.
      There was a nice view early in the day. Also crossed multiple creeks.
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      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Day 2 (cont.)
      Here are the signs and Memorial for the BMT. Also see how the tree is blazed for both the AT and BMT (diamond).
      Unfortunately I was in such a hurry to wrap up the semester and get to NC, I forgot to cut my toenails. Not too far into the morning I started feeling a pain in my right foot and had to put a bandaid on to reduce the pain.
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      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Day 3
      10.4 miles to Wallah Mountain
      Actually 9.4 miles to half up Licklog Mountain and then another mile back down and up Wallah Mountain to camp.
      I stopped to take a break and my sister had texted me to let me know she was at Birmingham, AL to spend the night after leaving one of my other sister's in LA.
      Unfortunately I had been having some problems with my knee this past year and was not as prepared conditioning wise I needed to be. I could already tell it was going take more like 4 weeks instead of 3 which I didn't really have (assuming my knee held up). Thus I would not be able to finish the entire BMT in the time I had and she would still need to still pick me up 2 hours out somewhere (4 hours round-trip). I saw Morganton on the map was only about 5 miles from where she would be diving on US76 the next day, so I called her and made arrangements for her to meet me there the next morning. So thus I turned around and headed down Licklog and back up Wallalah Mountain where I knew there was a small tent site and have one less mile to walk in the morning.
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      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Day 3 (cont.)
      Highlights of the day included the Toccoa River Suspension Bridge and a view going up Wallalah Mountain.
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      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Day 4
      1.9 back to GA Hwy 60
      After making it back down to GA 60 I started walking to Morganton. After walking a few miles I caught a ride with a local guy Todd who also hiked along with riding dirt bikes (off-road motorcycles). This was a really good thing since I had Google maps on my phone to show me a realative map, not reception enough for exact detailed miles. So what looked like 6 miles was really 12 to 14. I was able to sit at a gas station diner and eat breakfast while I was waiting fot my sister.

      I also had enough time this morning to recognize wildlife. And interesting buildings, including one about to collapse.
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      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Last year, I camped at Bryson Gap the first night( I skipped the approach trail) with a guy , Bulldog, I had actually hiked with in 2013 on the AT. One of the reasons I went back to the BMT again was the lack of cell service,but this trip i had service nearly everywhere. There was a tornado watch on,and we both watched the radar screen as a huge red blob made it's way toward us. I posted something about it on FB, and some replied to it telling me to stay safe. With nowhere to hide, that was a difficult proposition. All we could do was watch. Fortunately, we never got any wind, but it poured most of the night. I also camped at Wallallah mtn and watched a beautiful sunrise the next day.
      its all good
    • Astro,
      I know what you mean about the toenail thing. I will never forget to do that again.
      I always trim them 2-3 days before the hike. That way there is a little time to heal. If cut too close to hike day then you run the risk of a cuticle infection. Trust me, I know.

      My most recent hike my feet came through like champs. It is my digestive system that causes all my problems now.

      S
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • I can relate to the knee comment.

      I think the hike N off of Springer is superior on the BMT than the AT. The view from Owen Vista is superior to anything you'll see on the AT. The BMT intersects the AT just a short distance N of the Springer parking area on FS42 which makes a nice dayhike loop using the 2 trails.
      2,000 miler
    • With the knee problems I had this past year I knew I was not in the shape I wanted to be. And originally we were supposed to go to Europe. But when that fell through I figured would give it a shot. But since back home I been getting miles in at local trails, Ozark Highland Trail, and up and down around the neighborhood. 2 months still before I go to Colorado. And I can always come home and ice my knee, and let up if I need to as I build things back up. :)
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • After my sister picked me up we went to Iron Bridge to pick up my resupply box and had lunch. Along with great food, they had a lot of interesting signs. The first was outside and the rest were in the restroom.
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      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • On my way back home Sunday morning I stopped at Fontana Village Rest to pick up my resupply box and saw a lot of Camaros in the parking lot. Then to get to Reliance to get my other box I drove thru the Tail of the Dragon. As soon as I started it several of the Camaros were behind me, so I pulled to the side as quick as I could so thy could pass.
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      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Astro wrote:

      On my way back home Sunday morning I stopped at Fontana Village Rest to pick up my resupply box and saw a lot of Camaros in the parking lot. Then to get to Reliance to get my other box I drove thru the Tail of the Dragon. As soon as I started it several of the Camaros were behind me, so I pulled to the side as quick as I could so thy could pass.
      on our drive home from NC via Smokeys and KY we saw several gatherings of car enthusiasts. We passed parades of Chevy SSR, Corvette, Mazda Miada, maybe some others. I guess it a "thing" down there. This was all in one day.