View Full Version : Flip - Flopping
Discuss the advantages and dis-advantages of doing a flip-flop.
While a flip flop means you wont get shut out from the northern terminus due to weather (theoreticaly, that random mid july blizzard could always ruin your plans.) you dont get the goal of katahdin however if you flip flop. you also skip over many thru hikers when you flip, although depending on how you do it you will probably run into them again. or you may not. it depends on what your hike is all about. the miles, the sights, the people, or all of the above.
Has anyone heard or thought how it would be to start in Harpers Ferry SOBO in late APR, arriving at Springer in late JUL, then going to Katadin and hiking SOBO to Harpers Ferry.
Pros: Avoiding overcrowded trail with thousands starting in GA in APR; Hiking the Rogers high country, the balds and Smokies in May and JUN avoids snow and sub-zero temps; By the time you encounter thru-hiker wave of NOBO's they will have thinned out some; You would start and finish at ATC HQ; You would be with more SOBO's but those numbers are fewer leaving the KAT in JUL than Springer in APR; Your NC & GA trail legs would be primmed for ME and NH; Avoids some black flies by hitting New England in JUL and AUG.
Cons: (This is where YOU fill in the blanks)
Certainly starting at Harpers Ferry has its advantages. First and foremost, easier hiking that at either end.
But, when I started there in late April, I hiked north, and made friends with the earliest thru-hikers of the season. Got through the Whites before the crush of last summer, and swam in streams and ponds through Maine almost every day.
So, I had all the advantages of a north bound, including the kick a$$ goal of Katahdin.
After summiting Katahdin, I could have gone to either Springer or Harpers Ferry to do the rest. In my case, I waited until the following spring.
During my 2001 thru I flip-flopped.. If I had it to do all over I wouldn't have.
I hiked NOBO to Duncannon, PA, took a week off home and started SOBO from Maine. I finished in Duncannon on Oct.13th.
Hiking SOBO In July I didn't meet many folks until I started to see NOBO hikers. All the friends that I had hiked with were greatly missed. I did see most of them again but by the time I got to Vermont they had all passed by. The rest of the trip SOBO was void of hikers. I spent quite a few nights alone in shelters. The main reason that I flipped was I thought that I wouldn't have adaquate time to finish as a NOBO hiker. I soon discovered that during the second half of my hike I could do more miles per day and I would have had adaquate time to finish.
Good point. If you were to hike again, might I suggest a leap frog. That way, you could be sure of finishing with others before the cold weather sets in, and then have only a small section to do later.