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  1. #1
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    Cool EZ parts of trail

    The 1st week of May will be doing my first week long hike. Any recommendations for the easiest parts of the AT in the Northern Va, W. Va, Md., Pa. area? Did an overnighter last weekend & started off at Walkersville Rd (?) in Md. to Annapolis Rocks. With 35lbs in my pack & pouring rain it started with a 400 foot steep climb. About half way up I almost said forget this. Yes, I've learned my lesson about pack weight, but still for my 1st time would like something a little smoother then steep hills & rocks. Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Start at the north end of the Cumberland Valley in PA and hike south. Your first day is very easy as you reach Boiling Springs. Camp at the campsite just outside (south) of Boiling Springs. Continue your hike the next day. Hike as far as you can get for your week - aim for Harpers Ferry.

    After Cumberland Valley, it's not pancake-flat but manageable at a reasonable (for you) pace.

  3. #3

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    Shenandoahs. There is still up and down, but the trail is generally smooth and very well marked. You can either create a loop hike (though going off the ridge on side trails will mean more elevation change) or hitch back to your car pretty easily on the park road.

  4. #4
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    Do the 105 miles thru SNP. It is cake compared to everywhere else on the AT. Do a little research and see which of the Waysides (food, drinks, grill) will be open along the way. Not all of them will be open that early in the season. I left my car at the Northern VA 4-H center with no problems - you just need to tell them first.
    Pain is a by-product of a good time.

  5. #5
    juma's Avatar
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    The EZ part of the trail is what you hiked yesterday. At some point, you make your peace with climbs and just ignore it. I'll never forget the descent into carter gap and ascent out of it. Fredmugs and I slung poles and let ourselves down by hanging onto tree and saplings. it was more an upper body workout. The next morning, about 20*, 15 minutes into a 1000' climb, we both shucked off longjohns and jackets climbing hand over hand out of there. By late afternoon it was 70* or so. We ate huge pasta dinners and drank fishbowls of beer in Gorham that nite. It was great. It got tougher after that....

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by juma View Post
    At some point, you make your peace with climbs and just ignore it. ....
    I agree with this! Last summer I went through SNP with a friend who has never backpacked before. It was apparent she was the mother of young kids when she said the only way she could do the climbs was to take "baby smurf" steps! By the end of our hike, she was up to "mama smurf" steps...lol

  7. #7
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    When I'm not in the mood for a long, tough climb I switch to what I call "low, slow gear". Kind of like "baby smurf steps", but I just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and try to take in the woods around me. Several times I've been amazed at how quickly the climb passes.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  8. #8
    Nalgene Ninja flemdawg1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by juma View Post
    The EZ part of the trail is what you hiked yesterday.
    Yep the entire MD AT is one of the easiest sections of the trail. There's a reason that this section is used for the 4 state challenge (that and it is the only feasible distance for it, all the other states are 50+ miles).

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by flemdawg1 View Post
    Yep the entire MD AT is one of the easiest sections of the trail. There's a reason that this section is used for the 4 state challenge (that and it is the only feasible distance for it, all the other states are 50+ miles).
    Agree, which is why I recommended starting with the Cumberland Valley and hiking south into MD - easier IMO than Shenandoah.

  10. #10
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    Suggest Harpers Ferry to the Susquehanna River, either north or south bound. There are some very rocky areas, but the slopes are tolerable or not at all.

  11. #11
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    I agree that there's probably less climing involved in the Cumberland area, but I really hated that area, because I didn't feel like I was in the mountains and I remember walking through a lot of open areas, including corn fields (one of which I got caught pissing on a tree by three old ladies -- and then they pretended not to have caught me and made me answer a bunch of stupid questions, just so they could watch me blush).

    Shenandoah Nat. Park, though is a little more climbing, but not bad at all, plus you do get a better views. And there's no old local ladies that will catch you pissing on a tree
    "The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way; the aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way. The two are incompatible."
    -- Paul Dirac

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