Episode 31 – Appalachian Trail Documentaries, Hiker Food, and Shuckstack Fire Tower

In Episode 31, we discuss the three best Appalachian Trail documentaries, Hiker Food do’s and do not’s, and climbing Shuckstack Fire Tower from Fontana Dam.



1)  Appalachian Impressions – This is the best and most complete documentary of the AT out there.  Mark Flagler takes you through every state and major landmarks and makes you feel like you are hiking right along with him.  There are landmarks, history, ecosystem information, and so much more that you can’t miss with this film.

2) 2000 Miles to Maine – Follow Chad as he tries to fulfill his dream to hike the entire AT.  The characters you meet along the way are what really makes this one great.  The locations skip around a lot, and give a real human and emotional look at what hiking is all about regardless of your age, race, gender, or social standing.

3)  Trek – The Four Horseman, a group of friends, decide to try to tackle the AT together.  The group of very different personalities and abilities give you insights from a variety of perspectives as they hike northward.  They face many of the same trials and tribulations as in the other films, but the landmarks and characters are so different that this is a much watch show.  You will end up rooting for them in the end.



If there is one thing that a hiker needs (besides water), it is food.  Having enough food and the right type of food is essential for a successful trip.  Here are my recommendations:

1) Day Hiking:  Trail mix including nuts, dried fruits, and perhaps chocolate, granola bars (any type is fine), and candy bars

2) Stove Hiking (overnight):  Coffee, Oatmeal, and various types of pasta.

Remember:  Stay away from dairy!  Make sure your food does not need refrigeration and don’t take food that crushes easily in your pack.


Spotlight Hike of the Week (Shuckstack Fire Tower)

This hike is a 6.9 mile round-trip strenuous hike that begins near Fontana Dam in North Carolina.  From Bryson City, take Hwy. 28 directly to Fontana Dam.  The trailhead is on the right side of the road, .5 mile from the dam.

This hike follows the AT all the way to the top.  The Fontana Hilton (hiker shelter) is right there at the base of the mountain.  Great shelter.  Check it out!

This hike is steep almost the entire way, so take your time.  You will be able to see your goal, the fire tower, almost the entire way up.  There are no trail intersections until 3.3 miles in where you will leave the AT and take a right.  You will see the fire tower on your right.  You can’t miss it.

The fire tower gives great views of the AT, Fontana Lake and Dam and mountains as far as the eye can see.




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Intro/Outro Music: ”KM 19″ by “The Breakmen” www.thebreakmen.com

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