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Hammocking the Katy


So far in the last 6 months we've done the Creeper Trail, the New River Trail, The Great Alleghany Passage, the Greenbriar, the Silver Comet, and the Chief Ladiga---on all these trails we have hammocked along the way.
So for those who've actually ridden the Katy what is the potential for hammocking?
Hammocking does not necessarily imply 'stealth' camping-I've even hung between telephone pole and its guy wire in an established campground before.
Our group size is growing daily and we will either do this ride in late April or first of June and we have a potential group size of 12-15 riders, ALL who use hammocks!
What I normally do is use Google maps and scour the intended riding zone for national forests or any area with lots of trees.
So in a general way do previous riders remember large areas of trees along the way--yes even private land owners often will let us 'hang' for money!
Any clues muchly appreciated!
posted Oct 16 2011 1:01AM - MedicineMan, Roan Mountain,TN

what's the weight and do you have rain protection?
posted Oct 16 2011 6:02AM - howardhughesblues

Good timing! When we returned from a ride yesterday we saw someone in a hammock at the JC trailhead. He was suspended between two of the braces on the trailhead shelter.
posted Oct 16 2011 9:12AM - Jim, St Thomas

Don't want to highjack your question or the discussion, but VERY curious as to your experiences and any information/opinions you would like to share about the other trails that you mention. I have the chance to ride 50-100 mile rides on the KATY several times a year and am looking for other adventures. C&O/Allegheny is on my list for 2012, but again, always interested in feedback/experiences of others. Thanks.
posted Oct 16 2011 10:30AM - Anonymous

Hammocked our way through in June. Between two trees in city park Green Ridge, with at Round House campground. The supports in the park shelter in Marthasville are perfect width. But too many people in your group for the places we went - even the Campground didn't have that many places ! Doubt that you will want to venture out to non-established spot because most of the land adjacent to the trail is low and/or swamp. Remember you are following the river!
posted Oct 16 2011 9:04PM - DkB, Colorado

howardhughesblues----
the weight of my hammock? Its a Warbonnet Blackbird so around 17 ounces
the weight of my bike? Fargo in Ti, 23 pounds 8 ounces
the weight of me? !! HA! well 3 months ago I was 204, now I'm 189---thanks to biking a lot and eating veggies veggies veggies
Rain protection? For the hammock...Yes I carry a separate fly. It is in cuben fiber, made by hammockgear dot com. It weights 5.6 ounces.
Rain protection for me? Yes, I actually use a Packa made also in cuben fiber and about the same weight as my tarp...it has a long tail making it suitable for biking.

Anonymous-- questions about the other trails...just ask and I'll spill the beans!
I will say my favorite overall so far was the Greenbriar; you really feel remote--NO cell service for 80 miles! The Gov. shuts down all radio in the area--a huge monitoring tower is there, some kind of listening post. The campsites on the Greenbriar were abs. perfect-always by the water, set up with a shelter (kinda like the ones on the Appalachian Trail), water pumps and the river close by. When we did the Greenbriar we saw only 6 other cyclists during the 3 day ride.
For lots of info you can go to youtube and search for MedicineMan4040. I make vids of my trips and you can gleen some info there....and/or ask here :)
Dbk-- perfect response! So it is possible. I've hung my hammock over water (Everglades NP) before so swampy is a non issue. Our current committed size is 5 riders but that is growing almost weekly. Hammockers are used to dispering and being creative....but did anyone notice any large or I should say LARGE tracks of treed land?
On trips like this I've learned to carry a tent too. Just picked up a cuben tent, double wall that weighs 17 ounces; it however uses hiking poles so a work around on that will be needed.
Thanks again everybody for all the responses.

posted Oct 16 2011 10:01PM - MedicineMan, Roan Mountain,TN

MedicineMan, Click on the trip planner link abouve and select camping. That will show you a couple of Conservation Areas near Rocheport and Hartsburg that allow camping. The camping area in Klondike Park near Augusta is pretty wooded also.
posted Oct 17 2011 12:14PM - MidSouth, Rogersville, MO

MedicineMan, Its not legal to camp along the trail but with some planning you should'nt have much of a problem finding a campground. It may spread your group out a little finding adequate trees/poles to hang from.

I've riden all the trails you listed except the Greenbriar and also would like more info on that trail. Enjoy the Katy ! Its best rail in the US because of many reasons. Its well maintained, frequent food & lodging, nice scenery, the use of Amtrak, and most of all the people of MO are super friendly and helpful.

Paulie
posted Oct 17 2011 8:54PM - Paulie, Knoxville

More awesome responses!
OK considering what has been suggested that leaves the area of Rhineland/Herman/Bluffton for 'hanging' sites and also on the other end Sedalia and Greenbridge!
Speaking of Sedalia, if right in my thinking Amtrak runs there....now how would one get to the actual trail terminus in Clinton?

OK, the Greenbriar. Since you've done the Alleghany Passage you know that if leaving Maryland (which we did) you'll have a 21 mile climb to the highest point. Like most RTTs (rails to trails) it's gradual but still uphill and with camping kit on the bike for us--needless to say slept well that night making it to a stealth hanging spot about 2 miles shy of the top (we didn't get started until 5ish.....There are NO such climbs on the Greenbriar. Comparing and contrasting; on the GAP you'll find many many little towns for food/lodging/repair...on the Greenbriar I only recall one town in the middle (nice bike/coffee shop run by a former distance cyclist/racer) ~she even had a 29 inch tube~. As mentioned in the previous post to ME the Greenbriar was just simply beautiful in scenary and in tread=what my ties actually ride on. Oh, I did say that the Greenbriar has shelters as well as campsites/fire rings/horse tethers (for lack of the real term) BUT that was only in one county (the trail is contained in two counties)...the other county I suppose voted no shelters.
Our challenge on the Greenbriar was keeping our nerve with the shuttle driver--kinda good ol boy types in a huge crew cab pickup. They actually work for the ski slopes in the area and shuttle for extra sheckles...no racks just toss the bikes in the back and pray (silently)...a long shuttle too.
We also had shuttle problems in not being able to find one for the Silver Comet/Chief Ladiga---so just drove two cars down and self shuttled.
LUCK-so far we've ridden 480ish miles since May and not a drop of rain. I bet we won't be so lucky in 5 days of riding the Katy!
posted Oct 18 2011 1:45AM - MedicineMan, Roan Mountain,TN

Off Topic...I loved the C&O and GAP (including a side trip to Falling Water, a dream come true!).
posted Oct 19 2011 10:11AM - kc, nj

Hey Medicaneman, I really enjoyed your utube channel. Makes me want to join your group when you ride the Katy. I'm WAY overdue for a Katy fix. I've been to many of the same places in your videos, brought back some good memories. Also I liked you hammock/tarp system. Good way to stay dry on a raining night. Thanks for sharing and happy trails,

Paulie
posted Oct 19 2011 11:15AM - Paulie, Knoxville

Just fyi, a ranger at Klondike told me that hammocks are not permitted there.
posted Oct 19 2011 7:53PM - flkatyrider, Cocoa Beach, FL

Thanks for the positives on my feeble youtube attempts!
OK, mental note-no hammocking at Klondike.
Yes Fallingwater is a dream-but NO photography allowed inside.
This past weekend we lived out of kayaks on Lake Marion--a great experience BUT while down there studied the Palmetto Trail for a near future ride when its nothing but snow and ice here. Thinking first of December and wetting our Palmetto appetites by doing the 47 miles 'passage' in the Francis Marion Nat.Forest.
Since I last posted my Fargo has lost some more weight and is down to 22.78 pounds-not bad for a 29er...if I could just divorced myself from the Brooks saddle I could save more :(
If/when we do the Palmetto let me know if you want feedback since this is a Katy Trail forum.
posted Oct 26 2011 10:29PM - MedicineMan, Roan Mountain,TN

It may be too cold to wet your appetite in December.
posted Oct 27 2011 10:45AM - Now I'm Just Say'n....

read your article so you have also riddent the creeper trail. i got the chance to ride it once. absolutely loved it. had 3 flats from whitetop to damascus. had to walk the last 3 miles. well worth it though. had a blast. good luck on your ride. sounds like fun.
posted Oct 30 2011 10:04PM - festus

Festus- at least those last 3 miles are flat! The Creeper Trail is visually the most stunning of all the rail-trails I've done; alas it is very close to me and we take it for granted.
For those interested know that this can be a free roll ride in that there are many bicycle shuttlers in Damascus who will take you to White Top (second highest peak in Virginia) and you literally roll down crossing many high trestles (worthy in their own right for inspection). Outside of Damascus you will also be rolling/riding on the Appalachian Trail for a short period-both these trails share common footpath/bike path for a while. If interested in the Appalachian Trail (I've completed 1716 miles of it), Damascus is home to the annual Trail Days so many venues could be had in one trip.
Sorry about your flats!
posted Nov 11 2011 3:07AM - MedicineMan, Roan Mountain,TN

no problem on the flats. stuff happens. had some cheap tubes in the tires. put thicker tubes in there. no problems since. we stayed in damascus when i rode the trail. beautiful town. actually walked part of the appalachian trail southbound for a mile or so out of town, and again when it met the creeper trail. hope to hike the entire appalachian trail before i die. do the entire katy also.
posted Nov 14 2011 9:45PM - festus

The Katy is getting closer and closer. I've been active lately but mostly backpacking in Great Smoky Mtn NP and in the Big South Fork but I'm getting in my 2-3 bike rides each week...that will change quickly once real winter gets here and I hate trainers!
One of the women going with us is now up to 18miles/day on a typical road bike so by late spring she should have no problem.
On the camping/hammocking plans we've decided to carry hammocks for when we can and carry VISA for the times we cannot!
I've been to Pompey's Pillar out west and jumped on the Katy opportunity because of Lewis and Clarke....if any here are fans of the Expedition and know of spots along the Katy that a huge admirer of the Lewis and Clarke team should not miss please let me know.
posted Nov 26 2011 12:31AM - MedicineMan, Roan Mountain,TN

You didn't mention with your list of trails the Cowboy Trail in Nebraska. (www.bikecowboytrail.com) Not used much but a good trail. Doesn't have the amenities that the Katy does. You have to ride the middle of the trail and try to avoid the "Texas goathead sandbur." I got one in my Burley trailer tire. You could probably hammock there several places.
posted Nov 26 2011 2:15AM - gene, Indiana

MedicineMan, be sure to see the statues and tribute to Lewis & Clarke at the NE corner of the capitol in Jeff City. There are also several/many comemorative plaques along the trail with info on their expedition.
posted Nov 26 2011 3:50PM - Anonymous

Attn: Medicine Man. Missouri has alot of Lewis and Clark spots. In 2004 my wife conducted a L & c festival in Hartsburg and had many reenactors here. Fort Osage near KC is a replica of a fort Clark helped build after the expedition returned home. In St Charles there is a Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery that created the three boats of L & C expedition and they followed the trip the entire way to the Pacific. Hartsburg has a large rock that Clark mentioned in his journels and York gathered watercress near here. Jefferson City has the best statues we have seen, just east of the Missouri capital. Welcome to L & C country.
posted Nov 26 2011 5:37PM - Michael rodemeyer, Hartsburg

Fantastic replies! Thanks! All serve to fuel the anticipation between now and the beginning of the ride.
My last L/C experience was making it to Fort Klatsop for the 200th aniversay....I think biking in their footsteps will be even better :)
posted Nov 29 2011 5:07AM - MedicineMan, Roan Mountain,TN

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