2018 Pinhoti Trail Thru-Hike (NOBO)

Hiked By: Darwin

Total Miles: 335 (complete thru-hike)

Day 1- 12 miles

Snuggles dropped Toasted Toad and me off at what we thought was the southern terminus of the Pinhoti Trail. From our research, we thought the trailhead was at the top of Flagg Mountain in Alabama. However, this was not the case. We found the terminus thanks to the caretaker at Flagg Mountain Cabins, Nimble Will. About two miles into the trail we came to our first shelter finding some gear and supplies. The first six miles of trail are in the woods. Almost exactly at the six-mile mark, we started six miles of road walking. Due to a delayed start, our twelve-mile day put us literally at a road intersection. If it wasn’t for trail magic offered by a local, Toasted and I would have needed to walk about six to seven more miles to camp back in the woods.

pinhoti again

Day 2 – 18 miles?

Started the day back with about six miles of road walking even walking through neighborhoods. Finally leaving the paved road to return to the woods on a dirt forest service road. It seems that part of this day’s section of trail is newer. From the information/guide we used, we were expecting more road walking around eleven miles prior to Bull Gap, however, we were rerouted and stayed in the woods.

Day 3 – 8 miles

Due to a water filter malfunction, Toasted Toad and I started hiking late into the afternoon. We got picked up at Bull Gap by a trail angel and drove into town to dry out from rain the night before and to get a replacement filter. Most of the trail today was in the woods with mild terrain.

Day 4 – 20 miles

A few water crossings today, waterfalls and overlooks. Overall mild terrain all in the woods.


Day 5 – 17.5 miles

Steep climbs! We had lots of ups and downs today reminding both Toad and me of the Appalachian Trail. We entered into the Cheaha Wilderness, which proved to be some pretty challenging terrain. The day ended at Cheaha State Park. There Toad and I got a burger at the park resturant and resupplied at the park’s general store.

Day 6 – 17 miles 


We had a very wet and foggy start to the day causing slippery trail. The roots and rocks along the trail were somewhat treacherous. Encountered our third stream ford today. Finished the day out at a “Trail Magic Camp” that was set up for Toad and I. We enjoyed brats, beer, and dry place to set up our tents for the night under tarps.


Day 7 – 9 miles

Made our first one hundred miles today! Hiked a smaller day to head into Heflin, AL for a shower and resupply. Our day was hiked completely in the woods. My hiking partner Toasted Toad has decided to leave trail due to lack of daylight and knee issues.

Day 8 – 21 miles

Joined by another hiker Leonidas who is hiking about a hundred-mile section of trail since Toasted Toad left. Hit a large section of trail that was flooded out due to the seasonal rainfall. Hiked passed a historic Alabama landmark the Shoal Creek Baptist Church. We found a campground still closed for the season to camp at for the night. Overall trail terrain was wooded and again very mild to flat.

Day 9 – 24 miles

We hiked in a lush Pine Forest today and entered into the Dugger Wilderness. We started moving noticeably up in elevation. This section of trail marks where the terrain becomes a little more difficult. Until now the terrain has been very mild. Climbed Dugger Mountain and Oakey Mountain which were both very steep and difficult climbs. We camped at Oakey Mt. Shelter for the night. So far most of the shelters on the Pinhoti have been newer and well maintained.

Day 10 – 21 miles

We started the day hiking on the Chief Ladiga Trail an old railroad bed and another piece of Alabama history. We hiked alongside a “swampy” area along with a section of trail called “The Pits” that looked like sinkholes. Stopped into Hawkins Hollow Shelter for lunch, which proved to be another really nice shelter stocked with snacks and community gear. We crossed a footbridge today and descended a small ladder adding a little variety to the dirt trail. The highlight of the day was crossing into Georgia! We camped at Spring Creek Shelter, the first shelter for us in Georgia.



Day 11 – 9 miles

The trail took us into Cave Springs, GA via an old service road that then turns into a paved road leading us down the town’s sidewalk. We hiked a smaller day in order to resupply and refuel on town food. We ended up staying in a camper in the Town Square provided by a trail angel. We also enjoyed some of the best Catfish I’ve ever eaten at the Southern Flavor Resturant. A must stop for any hiker!!!

Day 12 – 32 miles

Today was full of mostly paved road walking (around twenty miles) with only a small portion of about twelve miles on an actual dirt trail. The benefit of road walking is stopping at a few gas stations and stores for snacks and lunch. After several miles of paved road walking the trail turned back towards the woods and into the Simms Mt. Rail Trail another old railroad bed. The rail trail is very smooth and proved to be easy hiking. We hiked to the end of the rail trail hitting the two hundred mile marker of the Pinhoti and headed into Rome, GA where Leonidas left the trail.


Day 13 – 21.6 miles

Started the day out solo and hiking into the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. My legs are really starting to talk back to me after so much road walking and big days. Today provided some softer trail and smoother terrain with old service roads, which is a nice change from the paved. I ended the day at the West Armuchee Trailhead before heading into Summerville, GA thanks to a trail angel to rest and soak my legs.

trail head

Day 14 – 23 miles

Started the day off with more miles on forest service roads along with a few small water crossings. Had some great views on top of John’s Mountain after some steep climbing to the summit. One of the best views I’ve had in Georgia. Attempted to camp at Snake Gap, however, I hiked on three more miles in order to find some kind of campsite.

Day 15 – 13.5 miles

Hiked into Dalton, GA to resupply and rest up. I stayed at the Super 8 Motel, resupplied at a Kroger Supermarket, and ate ALOT of Pizza. My legs are still feeling very sore due to the trail returning to the road tomorrow, I wanted to rest up as much as possible.

Day 16 – 34 miles

Started a very large section of road walking out of Dalton, GA today; around twenty-four miles before hitting ten more trail miles. Made camp next to a creek.


Day 17 – 23 miles
Hiked primarily dirt trail, which has been great the weather has however been humid and sticky. I had a very big stream crossing today and continued hiking in bog-like terrain/conditions. I decided to go ahead and push it to the end of the trail. I however took a wrong turn and hiked three miles on another trail. Ended up walking a road for a while until I realized what I had done. Backtracked about 0.5 miles and made camp for the night.

Day 18 – 6 miles?

Due to a wrong turn on Mountaintown Creek Trail, I was unable to finish the Pinhoti as planned on Day 17. The terrain was for the most part smooth today with multiple knee deep water crossings. Made it to the Northern Terminus of the Pinhoti which meets up with the Benton Mckaye Trail. The Pinhoti’s Northern Terminus ends in the middle of the woods forcing me to hike another two to three miles up a mountain in order to find a major road crossing to head back into the closest town.


Helpful Links When Planning A Pinhoti Hike: 

Pinhoti Trail Alliance


At the time of my hike there was not a lot of current information on the Pinhoti. There are currently several companies now interested in having hikers document notes and GPS coordinates which would be a great opportunity for someone planning a thru-hike to look into. Please do LOTS of your own research before heading out! 



CDT Section Hike: Lordsburg, NM to Doc Campbell’s Trading Post

Hiked By: Darwin

Day 1 – 15.2 miles

Camped out in the van with Snuggles and Bowie in Lordsburg, NM. We discovered a free RV and Van Friendly Parking Lot right outside a restaurant. In the morning we simply walked across the parking for breakfast at Kranberry’s Family Restaurant. The CDT actually runs down the sidewalk in part of Lordsburg so Snuggles drove me a couple of miles outside the city where the trail hits open desert. I left Bowie and Snuggles on the road and began my hike by crawling under a barbwire fence.

Most of the terrain after leaving Lordsburg is open desert with minimal coverage. The trail itself was never really apparent and using the GPS was a must. I pushed a little further out from Lordsburg then planned due to a bad water source at mile ten and twelve. At exactly 15.2 miles I found a section of tree coverage along with a solar-powered windmill with water spigot. Later on in the evening I met two other hikers who made camp in the same area.

Day 2 – 17 miles – Today was a hard with lot more climbing in open desert. I had to wear pants due to my extreme sunburn from yesterday’s miles. Wear Sunscreen! Found an old mind shaft along the trail, which was really interesting. The trail popped up out into a clearing where I discovered amazing trail magic with beer! Right after my trail magic stop (about 11 miles in) the trail went straight up, climbing significantly in elevation (possibly 1,500 to 2,00 feet).

I stopped 2 miles shy of my original goal, which was mud spring. I didn’t feel like pushing further after a day full of non-stop climbs so I camped on top of Jack’s Peak. I camped next to concrete foundation of an old building with the chimney still standing. The chimney was excellent to use for making my fire for a hot Ramen dinner. Yum! I located a water cistern to filter from tonight not to far from camp.

Day 3 – 23 miles – Started the day in a High Altitude Pine Forest before descending back down to the desert floor. Passed by multiple streams of fresh water that were the first I have seen on trail so far. I was able to keep well hydrated today thanks to these natural sources. I didn’t see a single person all day, which is a lot different then being on the AT. I hiked in a very sandy canyon towards the end of the day and finally stopped at 23 miles. I camped in a beautiful canyon beside a small stream and waterfall. I was a little worried about wildlife visits in the night and the possibility of flash flood but I took the risk.

Day 4 – 19 miles – Started off the day hiking down a loose sand and or soil canyon road. I had 5 miles of sand, tall canyon walls and tons of cows. I arrived at NM180 for a 13-mile highway hike into Silver City. Hiked about half of this section and decided I had enough of the heat so I thumbed it. The CDT has a lot of open road hiking which is tough to do in the direct sun and heat. Got a hitch into Silver City, NM and immediately found a beer and sandwich at a local brewery. Found a $40 room at an old funky hotel called “The Palace” and met a bunch of Hiker Trash: Fat Albert, Knotts, Nobody and Toasted Toad. I had a killer time with these hikers and shared good food, drink and good conversation with them.

Day 5- 19 miles- Leaving the hotel I found that Fat Albert was getting off trail due to misplacing his tent poles and Nobody had decided to stay behind as well. Toasted Toad and I were the only ones who actually hiked out-of-town. The day started with a harsh and already hot 7-mile road walk. After figuring up miles, I discovered I would be getting to Doc Campbell’s a day ahead of schedule and because of this, I have decided to slow down and hike with Toasted. This will force me to slow down and really enjoy everything on the trail (well besides the road walking).

Throughout the day the trail changed numerous times. Going from Pine Forest to desert, ridge walking, to “Arizonaish” monolithic rock gardens and dirt road to single track. We had tons of stream crossings, came across an old mining ruin and an old log cabin. GutHook gave me a few issues today at times not being about to give me the exact mileage and my location. This caused us to hike further then planned.

At the end of the day we were taking a breather at a spring and out popped a man named Doug. Doug we found out is a hermit that has been living in the Gila Wilderness in solitude for 18 years. He only goes into town once a year for food and other supplies, living totally off grid. He loves conversation with hikers when he meets them and offered to give us a tour of his hermitage and a place to pitch our tents. The three of us stayed up way past hiker’s midnight talking about anything and everything. I’m really starting to fall in love with the CDT…

Day 6 – 10 miles? – Our new friend Doug the Hermit (aka: Doug the Awesome) made Toad and I coffee and homemade wood stove bread. After breakfast he showed us his amazing Indian Artifact Collection. Doug also taught us how to make Agave Needle and Thread. He hiked with us a while, then we said our goodbyes. What an amazing experience!

We were surrounded by beautiful trail “most” of the day after leaving Doug’s. Today was full of big Pine Forests and huge mountain ascents and descents. I hiked alone most of the day leaving Toad always a few miles behind. When I reached the Gila River I waited for Toad in order start our many river crossings together. We have around 52 river crossings before coming to Doc Campbell’s. We crossed about 5 times today just to get a bit down the river before finding a flat camp spot in a field. We made a fire and talked until hiker midnight. The last couple of days I’ve felt more alive than I have for quite some time.

Day 7 – 10 miles – Woke up Freezing! Camping next to a river in a canyon equals a cold night. We put on cold/wet socks and shoes from yesterday and started more river crossings. Super cold and waist high rushing water will totally wake you up first thing in the morning! I hiked with Toad for a couple of miles while bushwhacking through brush and fallen trees. We continued crossing the river about every half-mile. We found out that Doc’s closed at 4pm and I was currently out of food. I parted ways with Toad and boogied to make sure I could grab a few things at Doc’s before closing time. I finally reached Doc’s at 2:50pm wet and exhausted. I ate a few crappy frozen burritos, bought something for dinner and snatched Toad’s resupply box for him. After eating I walked down to Wildwood Retreat a hot spring resort of sorts, to wait for Toad. When he arrived we talked our way into a killer price on a cabin for the night, scored a free beer and a homemade pizza. We finished the night around the campfire sharing stories with a family staying at Wildwood as well. An amazing way to end an amazing journey.


(Lots of Amazing Views On The CDT)


Hiker Trash (“Knotts” and “Nobody”) Getting Down on Town Food

***The Hiker In Green is “Knotts” and Is Currently Attempting An UnSupported Speed Hike of the AT- check him out! KNOTTS***


(Homemade Trail Marker)