Dave, John, Jim, Chris - Here is what I propose we hike. You can click on the pictures to view a larger version.
We start in Damascus, Virginia and hike about 10 miles to Abingdon Gap Shelter. This will be a bit of a climb as we go from 2000 feet to around 3700 feet. See the map below.
On day two, we pass a couple of roads where we could meet Dad for re-supplies or whatever. This is about an eight mile day and we end at Double Springs Shelter. Most of this day shouldn't be too bad except that last climb to the shelter up Holston Mountain.
On day three, we hike down for a while which is good. There's another road through here in case we need to meet up with Dad. Then we climb up to Iron Mountain Shelter. It's about 7 1/2 miles for this day.
Day four is an up and down day, which could be tough, but the good news is we are ultimately going down. We end this day at Vandeventer Shelter, after hiking about 7 miles.
Day five is mostly hiking down.There's another place to meet up with Dad. We end another 7 or so mile day at Watuga Lake Shelter. Both day 4 and day 5 are on the map below.
Our final day, day six, is a tough climb. There's no getting around it. But from all accounts, it it worth it as Laurel Falls are supposed to be beautiful. This is a ten mile day, however, to get all the way to the access road, which is mile 175 on the map below.
So what do you think?