View Full Version : section hiking...sort of
I am planning to hike on the AT starting in June of '03, but as I am a teacher, I have only the 8 summer weeks between school years to do it. I would like to start at the beginning in GA, but am wondering what a good ending point might be. I do plan to continue each summer and hike more of the trail until I finish it. In addition, I am wondering if I am going to miss out on a lot by starting later than most. Any advice? Thanks!
If you averaged about 10 miles a day - a pretty safe (low end) average - that would put you in the Damascus-Bland/Bastia area. That's a very good first step, and puts you a quarter of the way done. Breaking in Damascus - the best trail town I've found - would be a good place, although getting past Mt Rogers (about 20 miles past Damascus) is sort of an emotional high, since it's the last mile-high mountain until New England.
Long section hikes like you propose is great. I did my hike over 2 years, doing Harpers Ferry to Katahdin one year, and Springer to Harpers Ferry the next. I didn't feel the tremedous burn out that many do after being on the Trail for 4 to 5 months.
The only thing that you will miss by a late start is the crowds in the South, and everything that goes with that. It's not a bad thing to miss.
One thing you will miss out on is cold, winter weather. A plus in most people's books. How far you get depends on how far you can walk comfortably each day. By comfortable, I just mean how far you can walk and still enjoy yourself. You are the only one who can determine this amount. Damascus is good to shoot for. I did this hike last May and loved it. One of the highlights on the southern AT is the Roan range, which is a few days walk south of Damascus. If you feel like you can push yourself a lot harder and still enjoy the walk, try for Harpers Ferry.
If you haven't hiked in the mountains in the past, I would not choose this as a goal, though.