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  1. #1
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    Trip Report: AT SOBO i-77 to Partnership Shelter

    First trip of the year is in the books. Trip was from a Thursday at 11:45 to Sunday at 11:00. Covered 58.3 miles southbound from the 52/I-77 Junction in VA to Partnership Shelter/HWY 16 at the Mount Rogers NRA Headquarters.

    I grabbed a shuttle from a guy who used to work for me but is out of work now and he gave me a lift for $100 which saved me $40 compared to the shuttle price and the drive was only 40 minutes. I hit the trail at 11:45 and hiked south passing through hikers all the way. The bubble was not as big as expected though as this was also trail days weekend and they helped to clear the trail.

    My plan was to start early and hike to jenkins shelter but I covered more ground than I thought. I got to Jenkins before 5:00 and that was 11 miles in. So i pressed on to Davis farm campsite. Got there and started following the blue blaze and it kept descending sharply so I stopped and turned my phone on. Reviews weren't great on white blaze and mentioned having to contend with cows so I turned around and walked back up the mountain and continued south. It was only another mile to the next road and made it there and there were places to camp. There was one tent set up and an SUV parked. I thought they might be car campers and they were a couple so I felt bad crashing but turned out they were through hikers. I broke out my hammock and started setting up. I dont love road side campsites but I didnt have any more miles in me. Did just shy of 15 to get there with a late start so I was camping there no question. It was about 730 when I arrived and I quickly remembered why I sometimes wish I had cinch buckles instead of whoopies. The trees I chose were too close and would not work. So i switched up and got resettled but I was a bit perturbed. I cooked some dinner and then immediately crashed after hanging my bear bag.

    Weather was in the 50's and 60's during the day and 30's at night. I brought more clothes to keep warm and carried my z-lite pad with my actual 30* marmot bag instead of my quilt. I stayed warm and had a few too many clothes but slept great. My underquilt is a 3/4 length 40 degree quilt so the pad is some nice extra warmth.

    Pack weight fully loaded was 25.9 pounds with food and water.

    I slept great that first night. Got up around 630 and was on trail the next day at 8:00. It was cold but much better than sweltering summer heat. I was slow that morning and got to Chestnut knob at 11:45, 6 miles in. Cool shelter but no places to hang a hammock. It was on a bald with great views and a nice privy as well. Ate lunch inside and then hiked on. Great views and weather was chilly but dry. Hiked to knot maul branch shelter so another 11.1 miles for a total of 17.1 miles for day 2. At the shelter I met a few more through hikers but they pressed on and had one guy come in late. He had a nice blackbird hammock and super shelter but was not talkative at all. I did meet one girl down at the water before ascending that was super friendly and she was the exception not the rule on this hike. I crashed at 830 and got to the shelter at 7 so hiked much faster after lunch. Slept great again and this shelter has plenty of hammock spots.

    Next day I was up at 6 and hiking by 730. Another beautiful day and saw some lady slippers, some amazing views and some turkeys. This trail also crossed some farms with plenty of cows too. One farm had a bull in the field who was standing on the trail so I waited a while for him to wander over to inspect some of the cows and then hustled past. Lots of views and open field hiking today. I crossed I-81 at 3:30 and got some water from the gas station. Did have some confusion going south to find the trail but did get it. Turn right after the gas station and there are no blazes but the trail is 300 yards down on the left. There were some nice folks doing trail maintenance with weed eaters and they were not looking for sobo hikers so it took me a bit to catch their attention so I didnt sneak up behind them.

    Hiked on and passed the settlers museum at 515. Id like to go back there someday and go in and see all they have. Got to Chatfield shelter at 7 for another 18 mile day. There was a sobo flip flopper from Orlando there. She spent most of her time on the phone but I was pretty proud I did more miles than her that day. I went to bed at 9 and didn't sleep that great. The next morning it was spitting rain but not bad. I was on trail at 745 to finish my last 7 miles. The lady that was there did beat me out of camp and said I probably wouldnt catch her. I kind of wanted to take that as a challenge but let it pass. Hiked on and got to my car just before 11. It rained off an on that morning but not bad at all and all in all the weather was near perfect despite the cold nights.

    Have to say this is the best shape ive been in to start the hiking season. I turn 38 in two weeks and crushing 15+ mile days in May is nice. I credit cycling with that as well as my home workouts with dumbells and my continued yoga.

    Cant wait to get back out again soon. 60 miles is this time frame is great for me and I look forward to hopefully building on it all summer.

    One note is that there was one bridge out so the river had to be forded at knee deep water and no surprise it was cold, they did have a pair of water shoes on a pully so you could use them if you didn't carry crocs. This section had fire damage and clearly had some high winds this winter. Trees were snapped and its no surprise as this winter was pretty brutal. I live in Boone at 3500 feet so I am sure the trail took a beating as well.

    Thanks for reading along, I try and archive all my reports here and this is another nice section for me. I am done from Springer up to I-77 now and look forward to a few more miles this summer. Hoping to get past Macaffee Knob this summer so another 120 miles if I can find the time. Maybe end up at Harpers Ferry in 2023. Pics will be coming shortly.
    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

  2. #2
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

  3. #3
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

  4. #4
    Senior Member Yosef's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
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    Boone, North Carolina
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    "The mountains are calling and I must go."
    John Muir

    I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
    John Muir

  5. #5

    Join Date
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    Great pics! Even upside down You did better than I would do - I’ve about decided that much more than 12 miles a day starts to suck the fun out of it for me, so I have to give myself a little longer for 100-200 miles than most people would need. Also makes for a little heavier pack from the extra food. One day I’ll learn a little self discipline.

    I’ve often wondered how parts of the AT compare to some of the trails around here - might have to find out one day. Thanks for sharing!

  6. #6
    rmcrow2's Avatar
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    Beautiful.

    Thank you.


    I use whoopie slings as well. A way I deal with a little bit to short of a hang is slide my foot end a little lower and Beckett hitch to my continuis loop on that end.

    Happy hanging

    Sent from my SM-G991U using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    New Member
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    Mar 2020
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    Nice trip report and thank you for sharing.
    At 48, I envy those miles you are churning out. They would be too heavy for me these days.
    I also appreciate you reporting back on the appropriateness of the shelters for hammocking. I find this helpful for planning.

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