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Thru-hiking the Smokies?

leftcoast
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Thru-hiking the Smokies?

I've been re-reading the book A Walk in the Woods this summer, and I got to thinking....There are a lot of people each year who thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, covering the entire 2000+ miles in one fell swoop. But has anyone ever "thru-hiked the Smokies". According to the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, there are currently 241 members of the "900 Mile Club", people who have hiked every trail in the Park. Certainly there are more people who have done the hike but aren't members of this club. But I got to wondering if any of them tried to do the entire 900 miles straight through (actually more, since it takes more like 1100 miles with backtracking) at one time?

I wonder what that would be like. My guess is that it would take 2-3 months depending on your pace. Sounds like it would be fun.

Charlotte NC
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1. Re: Thru-hiking the Smokies?

Does "sraight through" mean hiking in the Park every day and sleeping only in the Park? I would love to meet any person who has done this! I am currently hiking all of the trails in GSMNP in one year and the logistics/shuttles are much harder than the hiking. The campgrounds help a lot, as do the backcountry campsites and shelters, but you would have to have a support person(s) to get you from one trailhead to another, etc. Sounds like a challenge to me...

leftcoast
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2. Re: Thru-hiking the Smokies?

yes...thru-hikers on the AT hike the entire 2000 miles in one straight shot - it takes six months or so. Thus, a thru-hike of the Smokies would mean hiking at the trails all on more or less consecutive days. Many people on the AT take a break here and there and stay at a hotel. One could easily do that with the Smokies too...staying in Townsend, Cosby, Bryson City etc.

I'd think that using some of the campgrounds like Elkmont as a base and hiking out from there would be feasible too, as opposed to backpacking the entire 1100 miles.

I think that to hike all 900 miles of the GSMNP in one fell swoop would take about three months, assuming an average daily mileage of about 12 miles with no off days.

If I had three months to spare...I think I'd try it...

ohio
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3. Re: Thru-hiking the Smokies?

I've never heard of anyone who has done it that way.

If I lived closer I would certainly try for the 900 Mile Club.(The normal way, not in one swoop)

BTW my brother thru-hiked the AT this year and is planning to summit Katahdin on Wed of this week. A Walk in the Woods was a good book but I was disappointed that he only hiked a little bit of the trail. There is an excellent DVD out about the trail called Appalachian Impressions. I got it through my local library but I would like to buy it. It is really good.

amazon.com/Appalachian-Impressions/dp/B000AN…

leftcoast
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4. Re: Thru-hiking the Smokies?

SmokyScout,

I just realized that I visited you blog site the other day. Good luck with your hike. Doing the entire park in one year sounds like a good goal too.

florida
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5. Re: Thru-hiking the Smokies?

There is a much betetr book about walking the Appalachain Trail. It is called Walking Across America by Peter Jenkins. He hikes it with his dog. Excellent book.

Boston...
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6. Re: Thru-hiking the Smokies?

I'll have to try that book; A Walk in the Woods was great, and if that one's better... I got some great laughs from Bill Bryson (at least in part one).

I dunno if I'd try to hike ALL the trails in one go, but I'd be interested in hiking all around the park and seeing pretty much everything without concerning myself to walk on every little bit of the trail system.

Kristian

Cullowhee, North...
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7. Re: Thru-hiking the Smokies?

This would be a logistical head ache, ok nightmare! The park's back country permit and reservation system while nice, would be a challange to plan the routes. I have had to retool routes on 4-6 night trips because some places were full or what ever. I think you could do it, but it would be a royal pain in the butt though to plan such a long trip in the park.

Wish I was in...
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8. Re: Thru-hiking the Smokies?

I bought a book called "A Day Hiker's Guide to All the Trails in the Smoky Mountains" earlier this year. If you follow this book, you can hike all of the trails in the park (including spurs) in just 75 day hikes. The hikes range from a few miles to 20 miles in length. Some are loop hikes, some are car shuttles. It is a great book, very nicely done, and the maps are very easy to follow. It is my goal to one day be a "900 Miler," and this book will definitely be a huge help.

Here's a link:

http://tinyurl.com/6eggek

Charlotte NC
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9. Re: Thru-hiking the Smokies?

I agree that this is a terrific book. I had hiked maybe 100 miles on weekend visits over the years and in the back of my mind had thought that I'd like to complete all of the trails "someday". Then last year I found "The Day Hiker's Guide" and it was the springboard for my decision to start from scratch and hike all the trails - in one year. While I have had to modify hikes a couple of times because of extenuating circumstances, Etnier's book is so well organized that I've been able to quickly make changes with minimal work. I use "The Day Hiker's Guide" in conjunction with the "little brown book" for trail descriptions and am doing great! (Hint: I have a blog at www.smokyscout.blogspot.com if you want to see how it's going.)

I also rely upon the online forums like GoSmokies to get current trail information and trip reports to help me out. My thanks to everyone who contributes to this site!

10. Re: Thru-hiking the Smokies?

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