Ben says blogging about backpacking beforehand is bad mojo, but I’ve blogged at least an itinerary every time and we’ve only had one mishap so far. So, here’s the tentative itinerary for this weekend.
Leave in the afternoon to drop cars off. Ending car will be at Deep Gap, NC. Drive starting car back to the forestry service road that crosses the AT at the base of Tray Mountain. Notes for ending car:
Deep Gap — Reached via highway US64 and Forest Service 71. From Franklin, NC, go West on US64 13.6 miles (from overpass where US23 turns South toward Atlanta) to FS71. Turn is just past top of hill with ‘Clay County’ sign. From West, follow US64 East past Hayesville, NC, make long climb up mountain, and near top of second climb, watch for sign for FS71 on right. FS71 is a 6-mile single-lane gravel road, normally quite passable for autos. Note that this road is closed during the Winter — usually between Jan. 1st and March 15th. Follow FS71 to parking area at end; the AT crosses through this parking area. To go South on AT, head West out of parking area — to go North, head East.
Starting point is at mile 54.9. We’ll need to hike until nightfall (assuming we get an early enough start) or at least to Tray Mountain Shelter even if it’s dark while we’re on the trail. Possible camping spots include:
- Tray Mountain Shelter (56.0)
- Clearing across ridgeline at gap (57.6)
Early start. Target for the day is at least Plumorchard Gap Shelter at 70.8. If we camp Friday night at Tray Mountain, that makes this a 14.8 mile day. If we tent at the gap, it’s a 13.2 mile day. Plumorchard Gap is really the only good camping area within our target mileage for the day.
Sunday On Sunday we should have only 11 miles to the ending vehicle at Deep Gap (NC). We’ll cross the GA/NC border after 4.1 miles, then have another 6.9 miles to get to the car.