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[at-l] Help me plan my 4th

Ok, guys.  (and, gals)

A call for comments .....

I've started looking at the maps last night. (a little) I'm planning a
week off on the 4th.

One Suggestion I got is a loop near springer.  my maps (book)  calls it
"the appalachian trail loop".  Makes use of the AT, BMT, and the Duncan
Ridge Trail.  my book rates the AT as moderate and the rest as
strenuous.  Has any one used this trail??   where would you recommend
parking?  (a nice vehicle)  

I also read gary's report from yesterday.  that sounded like a great
hike.  Makes me want to attempt it!  

I looked at my old at maps from Springer to Fontana.  I have two for the
NoGa part.  a  '95 version and a '98 version.  the 95 has a bigger scale
for the elevation guide;  1500-5000 vs 2500-4500. (what a difference
that makes!) It makes this section look smooth and rolling.  but then
the 98 version makes it look like a roller coaster of hills.  granted
most of them in the 500' elevation gain, but, lots of them (except for
the couple like blood mtn.) .  I remember from the earlier list days
(when we actively discussed current thrus a lot) that this section use
to kick hikers' butt.  Is this true?? 

In the NC section ... Is Gary's speed reasonable for a hike?  No offense
Gary; You did monster distances. I don't know about those 16 mile days,
but, is 10-12 mpd possible?

What is a *realistic* pace for both of those sections? I'm in fairly
good shape for a 40 y/o non-athlete type.  I just drink too much beer,
and, eat too much pizza.  :)  I run regularly and try to make it to the
gym a couple time a week.  i've found that weight training really helps
the hike.  anyway, I usually plan 8-10 miles per day in the smokies, but
these are the longest days of the yr.  and the southern appalachians are
not the smokies.  what do you think?  if I planned a 5 night trip?