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Backpack to Stratton Bald NC to catch views from The Hangover

The Basics:
Event Type:Backpacking
Event Location: Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness   Backpacking: Backpack to Stratton Bald NC to catch views from The Hangover  National Weather Service Forecast
Date(s) & Time:Sat, Oct 19 2013  10:45 am >> Sun, Oct 20 2013 6:06 pm  (Carpool Departure: 7:30 am   *log in for location*)
Registration Opens: Mon, Sep 30 2013 9:30 pm
Registration Cut Off: Thu, Oct 17 2013 10:00 pm
Event Duration:1 Days 7 Hours 21 Minutes
Difficulty Rating:D4: Moderate to Difficult
Distance:13 Miles
Trip Leader(s):
Mike Pawloski
Michael Johnson
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Member Cost:None

Participant Info:
Who's Invited: Members Only, 21 And Older Only
Maximum Group Size:12
Minimum Group Size:3
Number Registered So Far: 10 / 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.  Yes, there are bears out there eating berries in the trees; coyotes that run through the campsite (didn't have the camera ready for that one), and owls hooting at bedtime.

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.  After setting up camp on Stratton we will embark on our optional but recommended 6 mile dayhike (round trip) from our campsite with only day hiking gear to the amazing 270 degree views into the GSMNP offered by The Hangover.

There is a spring on Stratton Bald for our water source.  It is helpful to bring a backpacker's bucket and we only need 2 or 3.

Upon returning to Stratton we'll gather wood for the fire, enjoy some fine backcountry cuisine, beverages and stargazing from the bald.

Sunday morning we'll pack up for the 3.5 mile return hike to the Beech Gap trailhead.

An added bonus will be the drive on the Cherohala Skyway which provides fantastic long range views across the Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock Wilderness.  If time and conditions permit we will include the short hike to Joyce Kilmer Old Growth Forest, and drive along forest service road 81 for awesome autumn colors and photography ops; the hike in the old growth forest is about a 1.5 mile loop.  Another option is to hike to Huckleyberry Knob from the Cherohala Parkway.  The p
lan is to be back to the Park and Ride around 5 or 6 PM Sunday.  

Optionally attendees may drive up on Friday.  Please note in your sign up if you are interested in doing so.  Trip leader(s) may do this, in order to extend the wilderness experience.

Number of dogs limit to 2, and there will already be one dog, Cedar, attending the event.

Credit goes to friend Scott Kozlowski for much of this write-up and for this nice route into this great wilderness... most of the other trails are overgrown and hard as heck!

(Making campfire at Stratton Bald)

(View at Stratton Bald)

Required Items to Bring:

Tent, Sleeping Bag, Sleeping Pad, Appropriate clothing, rain gear, headlamp, cooking utensils, food (2 lunch, 1 dinner, 1 breakfast), water

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

camera, hat, daypack/fanny pack, water filter (I will have one but would be helpful to have more than one, and $5 donations to use it are welcomed to cover maintenance costs), campfire beverages, fire starter, first aid kit

How to Get There:
Event Directions:

Directions TO the event:

Directions FROM the Joyce Kilmer Big Tree area: back to the Park-n-Ride, as mapped from Google.

Carpool to Event Distance (round trip):320Mile(s)
Carpool Departure Time: 7:30 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.