I want to do a solo weekend backpack to get the feel of it by myself and try out all the equipment I’d be potentially taking on the AT, some of it new to me. To that end, I’ve been thinking of hiking all of the Batona Trail over New Years weekend since I’ll already have Monday off. The trail is just about 50 miles long and the campgrounds aren’t exactly spaced evenly throughout, but I’ve figured that with a few high mileage days, I can do it. They seem high mileage because I don’t hike nearly enough but since it’s actually very flat, it should be easily done in daylight. I can start from the Southern end and do 15 miles the first day, stay at Buttonwood Hill Camp, 15 miles the second day, stay at Batona camp, then 20 miles the third day to where my car will be parked. Buttonwood Hill Camp appears to be about a mile or two off the Batona trail so really I’ll be doing 16-17 miles each of the first two days. It also doesn’t have any water so I’ll need to find out more about that. There is water at Batso, just a few miles up the trail the next morning, so I may have to carry enough to get me through then. Batona camp looks to be right on the trail and does have water and a pit toilet so that will be a more comfortable night. There is no camping allowed except at the designated sites.
I called Wharton State Forest to see if there were more detailed maps than the one I’ve seen on their website, which is more of a brochure really, and the woman I talked to will be mailing them to me free of charge. I can check out the water sources and make my final plans then, and pay for my camping permits – $2/night in the primitive sites. Then I just need to find someone to pick me up where I’m dropping my car at the North end and then drop me at the South end, which is out of the way for any one I know. Maybe I can entice someone to hike a few miles of the first day with me to make it worth the driving.