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022 Travel and Date Decisions, Worthy Podcasts, Bug Spray, Create Packing List, Phone Calls, 2 Night Weekend

Posted by on July 31, 2014
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Bob Ward

Fiction author with a zest for adventure travel. Blogs, tweets, videos, and pins for research and fun. He also hosts Ward's Adventure Travel Research & Trip Journal, a weekly podcast available on EFN, iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and more.

Really coming down to the wire on the Appalachian Trail adventure. In this podcast, we make final decisions about several logistical questions, including where to stay, when to depart, how to get to Luray, VA, and more. I discuss my phone call with the desk clerk at Shenandoah National Park headquarters. We also create a packing list from memory, which turned out to be a blast. Memory is an iffy thing, but we now have a list that’s pretty close to final. We decide to take a two night backpacking trip to Yellow River State Forest for a final shakedown cruise of our gear.

Hotel: Best Western, Luray, VA

Parking: Per SNP Headquarters, park at Panorama Lot. Pay parking fee $15 either when parking or when leaving, depending on if a ranger is there. There is no sticker.

See Panorama Parking Area


Planning: Official SNP Planning Videos (definitely watch video 2)

Posted Backcountry Regulations:

  • Pets must be on a leash at all times
  • Permit required for overnight camping
  • Campfires prohibited
  • Trash must be packed out
  • Bicycles and vehicles prohibited
  • Hunting prohibited; all wildlife is protected

Screen Shots From Video 2:

Backcountry Camping Application: Print in advance or fill out at one of the registration kiosks (eg. Rockfish Gap). Here’s the info page.

Bear Issues:

Store all food and scented items (like toothpaste and gum) for hanging. Bring 50 feet of rope and a bag to hold all items that might temp wildlife.

Bear Safety Information Page

I called SNP Headquarters 540-999-3500 (press 0 for live person), and here’s what I learned about black bears and pepper spray…

  • Majority of backpackers DO NOT carry pepper spray. She said if you do carry pepper spray, SNP has a limitation on canister size and spray velocity, but when she looked she couldn’t find exact specs (she said make it a small canister, if anything)
  • Clap hands and make noise
  • If within 100′ of bear back away slowly
  • Black bears aren’t typically aggressive
  • Most recent incident was a bear attacking a cooking pot and stove that was left out by a careless camper (bear viciously licked pot clean)
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