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Backpack Joyce Kilmer - Stratton Bald

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness   Backpacking: Backpack Joyce Kilmer - Stratton Bald  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, May 28 2016  8:30 am >> Mon, May 30 2016 4:00 pm  (Carpool Departure: 8:30 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Mon, May 23 2016 8:00 pm
Registration Cut Off: Fri, May 27 2016 3:00 pm
Event Duration:2 Days 7 Hours 30 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Distance:13 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:10
Minimum Group Size:4
Number Registered So Far: 6 / 0 (To see who's signed up, log in to the Member Area)
Are Dogs Permitted: Yes


Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock is a backpackers paradise and Stratton Bald is one of the highest points in the Wilderness at 5240 ft.  Its a large bald with acres of open area presenting many fine campsites.  If there is an "easy way" in to enjoy the high ridgeline of this Wilderness this is it.

We will hike 3.5 miles to Stratton Bald (one way) with backpacks on Saturday morning from the Beech Gap Trailhead off the Cherohala Skyway.  Elevation gain with packs will be less than 1000 feet over the 3.5 miles.  Beech Gap is right at the Tennessee/North Carolina border.  We'll set up camp on Stratton Bald, our home for two nights.  We can relax and bask in the mountain scenery.  We'll gather wood for the fire for later on when we can enjoy some fine backcountry cuisine, beverages and stargazing from the bald.

On Sunday we will plan to embark on our 6 mile dayhike (round trip) from our campsite to the amazing 270 degree views into the GSMNP offered by The Hangover.

Monday morning we'll pack up for the 3.5 mile return hike to the Beech Gap trailhead.  If we get out early enough, we should head over to the Joyce Kilmer Memorial and hike the approx 1.5 mile loop to view "The Big Trees."  

There is a small spring for water on Stratton Bald.  You might want to have a light weight bucket to gather the water and filter from that, to decrease the amount of sediment that you might get from fitering directing from the ground.

We will practice bear and other critter avoidance tactics - e.g., eating/kitchen/food prep to be done in one area away from your tent; hanging food away from the camp area; no scented items in your tent, etc.

Plan is to be back to the Park and Ride by 4 or 5 PM Monday. 

Up to two well-behaved dogs allowed.  Hiking in to Stratton Bald, there is one small water source where the dog can drink up.  Day-hiking to Hangover there is another spring at Naked Ground (roughly 1/3 - 1/2 way there).  Be prepared to help your dog stay hydrated.   Also, be prepared to drive your own car if you're bringing a dog.

Thanks to Scott K for most of this trip description, which I went on a few years back, and which I saw a bear in a tree eating berries!

Required Items to Bring:

Tent, Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Pad, Appropriate clothing, rain gear, headlamp, cooking utensils, food (3 lunches, 2 dinners, 2 breakfasts), water
String/rope and bag to hang your food and garbage.  Best to keep odiferous foods in lots of packing
Water filtration or purification

Recommended Items to Bring:
Use our Event Checklists to make sure you have everything you need.

camera, hat, daypack/fanny pack, campfire beverages, fire starter, first aid kit, yellow jacket medication (if needed)

Bug repellent

Long pants - sometimes the trails are over grown and can scratch your legs

To avoid ticks, best to wear shoes, socks and long pants

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

To the trail head from the Park-n-Ride, via Tellico Plains, TN:

 From the trail head to the Big Trees, JK Memorial Forest

 From JK Memorial Forest back to Kennesaw, via Robbinsville, NC


Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):320Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 8:30 am
Carpool Location:   Log in for location
Carpool Directions:   Log in for directions
Carpool Cost: Estimated cost per vehicle for this event is $128.00 using a reimbursement rate guideline of $0.400 per mile. The total amount should be divided by the number of people in the vehicle, including the driver. This is a guideline, not a rule, for drivers but the cost should not be higher unless there are extenuating circumstances.

* We encourage all members to follow our Etiquette Guidelines while participating in AOC events.

Cancellation/Partial Attendance:   Please review the AOC cancellation policy.