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Dogs on AT

> >also,  are dogs allowed on the trail? heard there may be some
> >restrictions for dogs on parts of the AT .....thanks !!!!  (hi Ron)
> I believe there are only a few trails in the Shenandoah are restricted from
> dogs (or cats!). I don't think the AT is among the list, but I can check.
> In other words, Fido should be cool.

Dogs and the AT...

Dogs are allowed on the AT in The Shenandoah Nat'l Park but they must be on a
leash at all times.  Dogs are NOT ALLOWED in the Great Smoky Mountains National
Park backcountry.  This includes anywhere on the Appalachian Trail in the Park.
The rest of the AT is open to dogs without restrictions.  Oops, I thing Bear
Mountain Zoo ( and I do mean zoo) near Bear Mountain Bridge in NY may require a 
dog to be leashed.                          

First-time overnighter in the Smokies...

For the person and his son who are going to hike (1st overnight) in the
Smokies.  Ask Backcountry Reservations about whether Boulevard Trail to LeConte
is closed or not.  It WAS CLOSED as of July 20th when I hiked the AT north of
Newfound Gap.  There was a caretaker at Ice Water Springs Shelter and at that
time it was open only to 'thru-hikers'.

Don't even think about camping at other than designated campsites (of which
there are many) in the Smokies.  Stay at the shelters, almost all of which
require a reservation, or at the designated campsites, many of which require a
reservation.  The environment on the high ridges is too fragile to just pitch a
tent anywhere you want.  I think someone mentioned checking out the area near
the trail junction of The Jumpoff and Boulevard Trail.  I hope the person was
not suggesting that you camp there.  The Jumpoff trail is a very short one an
leads to a great overlooking view of Charlies Bunion, Greenbrier pinnacle, Mt
Guot, Old Black and the Sawteeth.  As well as English Mountain and part of the
Great Tennessee Valley.  I hope the person was suggesting that you take The
Jumpoff and enjoy the view.  

I also recommend the book and map others have suggested.  Above all, I
recommend that you not be too ambitious on your first overnight.  Don't try
to do big miles until you have well-founded confidence that you can.  8-10
miles a day is generally enough for inexperienced backpacker/hikers.
I wish for you a great hike.  Good luck.

John Newman  aka Oliver Twist, GA-ME 83-89