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Annual Grayson Highlands to Damascus & Trail Days

This has turned into one of our favorite spring hikes.  I'll put in more details later.

14 May - Drive to Damascus, shuttle to Trail Head, camp on AT at Old Orchard Shelter. (~2mi)
15 May - Hike AT/Crest Trail to meadow next to Thomas Knob Shelter (either ~10mi via A.T. or ~5mi via crest trail)
16 May - Hike AT to Lost Mountain Shelter (~11mi)
17 May - AT to Va Creeper Trail to spot on Laurel Cr (5 miles from Damascus) (~8mi)
18 May - Hike to Damascus,(~5mi) visit trail days, drive home

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  • Mike G.

    Even though I was driven to my knees by the cold, pelting rain on Thursday, lulled into complacency by a nice campfire for a couple of hours Friday evening, followed by endless rain once again, suffered extreme knee pain, and felt like a drowned rat much of the time, I still enjoyed it immensely. When's the next trip!?

    2 · May 19, 2014

  • Jim

    Phil, Thanks for organizing a great adventure! Had not been to the area for 40 years and despite the weather it was a great reintroduction. Already have a bike/fly fishing trip in mind along the Creeper Trail and love the area in general. As a four/five day, 40 mi+ trip at the highest elevations in VA this was an advanced trip going in. From a training perspective for my Maine trip I got everything I wanted and more. The ability to not only operate but thrive in adverse conditions is key to any hard core adventure. I was able to shake out my thoughts on tent, sleeping bag, cooking and clothing. I especially enjoyed interacting with the 2014 crop of AT Through hikers and looking forward to seeing them again in September. Only regret is the WX did not facilitate more campfire time getting to know one another. Jim

    1 · May 19, 2014

  • Phil

    "Let me explain, no there is too much, let me sum up". I feel like I've been hit buy a truck. 48hrs of pelting rain, non-stop gusting winds, highs in the 50's(?); Ice on the tents, 3 people crammed in a shelter with 17 others for 18 hrs, 3 others in their tents for...18+hrs, I mean IN THE TENT, not getting out and walking around! Will blog in detail later this week (philreedshikes.com). Welcome to Grayson Highlands! Other adventure in the books!

    2 · May 18, 2014

    • Paula G.

      I loved almost every second of it ... Now that I'm home in warm dry clothes

      1 · May 18, 2014

  • Phil

    I posted all of my photos on facebook

    May 18, 2014

    • Jenifer M.

      This doesn't help me.. I'm not FB friends w you... Is it under your name?

      May 18, 2014

  • Jenifer M.

    Beautiful hike, great people. Would have preferred less rain, but such is life!! Thanks Phil for another memorable weekend.

    1 · May 18, 2014

  • julie

    Hate i won't be able to make it but I have to finish a project at work that can't be postponed. :-[ Hope you guys have an awesome time!!!

    May 13, 2014

  • Mike G.

    Thursday could be dicey. Mountain-forecast.com is calling for 2+ inches of rain with heavy thunderstorms.

    May 13, 2014

    • Phil

      I wish gunny was going; misery loves company!

      1 · May 13, 2014

    • Paula G.

      I love an adventure and we will have some good stories to share with Gunny the next time we backpack together!

      1 · May 13, 2014

  • James S.

    Hey, if anyone needs a ride, let me know. This train leaves the station at 6:00 am. Can take 2 more. I'll use my deodorant this time.

    May 12, 2014

  • Jeff B.

    unfortunately for me I have to report for jury selection on Wednesday, so I must drop from the this trip, sorry for such a late notification but I was hoping I would not get picked

    May 12, 2014

    • Phil

      sucks, catch you next time!

      May 12, 2014

  • Phil

    Hey everyone, Pyro just reminded me to put out that when we're on the creeper trail, we pass thru Taylor's Valley and a very nice local restaurant (burger joint) where we can eat lunch. Outdoor and indoor eating.

    1 · May 12, 2014

  • Phil

    cold and rainy, will understand those dropping out

    May 10, 2014

  • julie

    Thanks! I'll Google it. I thought y'all were talking about going there for fishing supplies. Lol

    May 9, 2014

    • Mike G.

      Yeah, we are parking in their lot and catching a shuttle, then hiking back. Probably our easiest to find trailhead ever!

      May 9, 2014

    • Phil

      not hard to find, basically only 1 main street

      May 9, 2014

  • julie

    Phil, please reply to my last two questions before Wednesday.

    May 9, 2014

    • Phil

      Julie, as I posted earlier (thanks for reminding me) we all need to meet at Mount Rogers Outfitters at 2pm, in Damascus. Also, I think most people will take I64 up to Staunton to take I81 west to Marion then to Damascus. Some may try to take roads head directly west and catch I81 near Roanoke, but I don't think anyone from hampton roads will be going near Greensboro.

      May 9, 2014

    • Mike G.

      I believe Phil was originally offering us to meet you where I-77 and I-81 intersect in Virginia, but looks just as easy just to meet in Damascus.

      May 9, 2014

  • James S.

    I am driving. Can have 2 additional. You can leave your cars at my house. Let me know.

    May 7, 2014

    • Jim

      James, where do you live?

      May 8, 2014

    • Jim

      I'm on the Southside in Chesapeake but think I'm set now.

      May 8, 2014

  • James S.

    There is a small shop in Damascus and one at the intersection of 58 and 81. Also, the head waters of the Wilson are about 1 mile from the intersection of AT spur and AT at Greyson's parking area. All down. There is a good creek in Rodadendrum gap. Both creeks "you will" catch native trout. Small but tasty.

    May 7, 2014

    • Jim

      Looks like fishing on Fox Creek at the trail head. I may fish some and catch up with the group. Also looks good for the last night. Will call the fly shop later.

      May 8, 2014

    • Jim

      Talked to Tom from the VC Flyshop snd he mentioned Wilson and Cabin Creeks as additional possibilities. Said that Adams and May flies should work as well as nymphs. Said that "the natives eat anything that floats" so we may have fresh trout one or more nights (I'm a rookie so no promises!)

      May 8, 2014

  • julie

    I'm driving from Greensboro (k-ville) and need to know your ETA and exact location of where we are meeting. I would rather meet and drive if y'all are driving through greensboro.

    May 8, 2014

  • Michael Schindler, 3.

    Have fun at Trail Days, y'all! I expect to have only made it to around Franklin, NC by the 18th, so maybe next year. :)

    May 8, 2014

  • julie

    I live in Kernersville, NC. Are you guys taking I40 - hwy 421- I77 - hwy 21?

    May 7, 2014

    • Phil

      If I drive, and if I have room, maybe pick you up where 77 crosses 81? I think at least 3 cars will pass that way.

      May 8, 2014

  • Jim

    Phil,
    Besides Laurel Creek, do you know handily any other streams we'll be near? Looks to me from the Nat Geo Mount Rogers High Country map that's it, but I may be missing something.

    I can see if there's a fly fishing shop in Damascus and check with them as well for G2.
    Jim

    1 · May 7, 2014

    • Phil

      not really, I think checking with the shop is our best bet

      May 7, 2014

  • Mike G.

    Never trust the forecast out there. Last year there was very little chance of rain, and we had hurricane winds and sleet. So the converse could also be true...they call for rain, and it's perfect. Plus it's still a week away, and we all know how accurate weather forecasts turn out to be.

    May 7, 2014

  • Phil

    so far I'm only seeing rain on Wednesday, still too early to get nervous

    May 7, 2014

    • Mike G.

      If someone loans me rain pants, it will guarantee no rain...if not, I won't have any, and it will guarantee that it does rain! :)

      May 7, 2014

  • James S.

    Is the trip still on?

    May 6, 2014

    • Phil

      yes, it's on, until it's not on ;-)

      1 · May 7, 2014

  • Jenifer M.

    Yup... Rain.

    May 7, 2014

  • Jim

    I'm in despite the threat. "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger".

    1 · May 7, 2014

  • Mike G.

    4 out of 5 days, the forecast is calling for rain. Great

    May 6, 2014

    • Phil

      I'm seeing 10% cop on friday, will do 'sun dance'

      May 6, 2014

    • Mike G.

      When I look at the detail, Saturday looks like the one day we won't have a great chance of rain. But you just never know out there.

      May 6, 2014

  • Phil

    Anyone wishing a different hike, feel free to drop out now and/or become a trip organizer and post a separate event, thx

    2 · April 30, 2014

    • Kelly R.

      Okay, sorry. I'm new to this. I didn't know I had to make a new event.

      May 5, 2014

  • Jim

    If anyone on the south-side needs a lift let me know. I'm planning on taking the US-58 West route through Roanoke, pretty much a wash with I-64/I-81 but more scenic. I live in the Greenbrier section of Chesapeake and also know of a secure location off 664 in Suffolk.

    May 1, 2014

  • Kelly R.

    I can leave for Damascus on Wednesday but I'd like to get to Trail Days on Friday. Is there anyone up for some different mileage?

    April 30, 2014

  • Mark L

    What are the mileage splits? -thx

    1 · April 29, 2014

    • Phil

      approximate mileages posted above.

      April 29, 2014

  • Phil

    I've reserved our shuttle from Mt Rogers Outfitters in Damascus. $85 split between those that show up. Parking may not be available in the usual lot next to the shower house due to trail days, but they said lots of other places to park. I told them we'd be ready to go between 2-3 pm. 45 min drive, 2 miles or so to the shelter, we should be making camp around 5pm!

    April 29, 2014

  • Phil

    >Irene; welcome to your first backpack! Paula and Julie are experts and can assist you. This shoulder season hike can be warm/cold/rainy/windy, that said, try to keep your pack at 30lbs or lower, if that's not possible try to keep it under 35. A camera would be nice. Also, look at photos of this past trip, great source of information. Again, I'm glad you've signed up!

    April 28, 2014

  • Paul H.

    I just sold my house and have to move before the 20th, therefore, I will not be able to make this trip.

    April 26, 2014

  • Marie

    uuuugh so wish I could go....

    March 11, 2014

  • Jeff B.

    I'm up for this hike

    March 11, 2014

  • Phil

    There is trout fishing on Laurel Creek where we'll camp our last night.

    1 · March 11, 2014

7 went

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