Category Archives: benton mackaye trail

Episode 28: The Benton MacKaye Trail


In Episode 28, Sprinkles and NoKey tell us about their ultimate thru-hiking summer – walking 1400 miles on four major trails on the East Coast – including the Benton MacKaye, Finger Lakes, Northville-Placid and Long Trails.

Forewarning, we spend the majority of the podcast discussing their 20 day, ~290 mile hike on the Benton MacKaye Trail – a great alternative to the Appalachian Trail in the South – but there's lots of great tips on backpacking and thru-hiking in general.

So listen in – and when the mobs of thru-hikers hit the Trail next year after the movies Wild and Walk In The Woods motivate the masses… you now have some great alternatives to the A.T. and P.C.T.!

Subject: The Benton MacKaye Trail

Interviewees:  Jen (Sprinkles)  and Patrick (NoKey)
Interview Date: 
July 21, 2015
Download Now:
The Benton MacKaye Trail  (WMA format 53.5 Meg);
The Benton MacKaye Trail (MP3 format 66.0 Meg)

Follow Sprinkles and NoKey here.  Or click this link to learn more about the Benton MacKaye Trail.

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Benton MacKaye Trail Trip Video – March 8, 2015

We had nearly perfect Spring weather for this hike last weekend in North Georgia.  My dog slept for most of the next 24 hours after our 9.7 mile loop hike on and around the Benton MacKaye Trail in the Cohutta Wilderness.  Spring has finally sprung!

Spring Has Sprung, Time For A Hike On The Benton MacKaye …

After a unseasonably cool winter, the weather finally broke and we decided to take the kids out for an overnight hike.    We did this one on a Friday night to avoid conflicts with spring sports and with spring break.  Here we are at the parking area at Three Forks on the Appalachian Trail.

The dog is more excited than anyone and is hauling his own food, water, sleeping bag and sleeping pad.  All in – the dog’s pack weighs about 8 lbs – nearly the same weight as my empty (and aging) Dana Design backpack!

Here we are climbing to Long Creek Falls along the A.T. and headed northbound.  The trail is nice and wide in this area and it is a pleasant walk to the waterfall and junction with the Benton MacKaye Trail.

There is a father and son from Orlando camped here when we arrive, and three guys camped nearby at the junction of the A.T. and Benton MacKaye Trail.  For a Friday, there’s a lot of action on both trails today.  We see a number of thru-hikers, and a number of larger groups that are day hiking.

But once we break off on the B.M.T., the crowds diminish and we walk to our campsite without seeing a soul.  It’s nearly 5:30pm when we arrive and there’s a group of four that are searching for lost items from the Army Rangers that train in this area.  They spot a water cache down the hill and are convinced the Rangers are training later tonight.

With the sun dropping in the sky, Ira and I walk back down the mountain to get water while Rob and Ken collect firewood with the kids.   It’s been in the 60’s today, but it’s due to drop in to the 30’s after dark.  So a campfire is a must – and after we pitch our tents we start cooking a late dinner around 8pm.

The kids are showing no interest in sacking out after dinner, but a brief rain shower has them heading for the tents at 10pm.  By now, it’s getting cold – especially away from the campfire.  Time to “mummy” up.

And the dog is tired too, but not cold enough to zip up in his sleeping bag – at least yet.  He’s content to sack out on top of mine!

But after a couple of rain bursts, it passes and the adults return to the campfire at a lower decibel level.  We hang out while the kids sack out … and we pay for it in the morning.  They are up early!

So after a quick breakfast, we are packed up and on the trail by 10:30am.  Many of the kids have soccer and baseball games today – or we would have hung out longer.

And as we hit the trail – we find out that Friday night was the right night to be on the B.M.T.  There is a 68 mile trail run right through our campsite this morning and many athletes and their supporters are in the area as we hike out.  There are also a lot of day hikers and backpackers on the A.T. and it’s the busiest that I’ve ever seen it in this area.  I feel fortunate that we had the last 14 hours with a campsite and the B.M.T. to ourselves.