Thru Express or 2 Year Section
It is not possible for me to free up 5-6 months for a thru hike, however as a teacher I do have summers off, a week in October, a week in April and a couple weeks off around Christmas. In contemplating possibilities I could:
1. Section hike half one summer and half the next with a few weeklong sections in spring, fall and winter.
2. Devise some type of express thru-hike, 20-mile-a-day deal.
3. Section over an extended period of years.
Ideally of course I'd like to plug along for 5 months. That won't happen for me for 10 years or more and I am concerned that my joints may not be able to make the trip at that point.
Given the choice of a 2-summer section hike or an express thru hike, which would you pick?
I guess its a trade off between the satisfaction of going all the way in one continuous attempt or the enjoyment of slowing down and taking it all in.
Regarding an express trip I probably could take off a week or two prior to the end of a school year which would bring me up to 3 months off.
Thanks for any input.
I vote for two summers too. That way you can actually enjoy the trip....
LT '79; AT from Springer-Rangeley in sections; Donating Member
Definitely two summers over an express. If you're concerned about your joints in 10 years then I'd be surprised if your joints would hold up to daily 20's with few breaks. In 10 years, go back and hike your favorite sections during different seasons.
In order to reach the point where you would be able to thru hike in 3 months, you would likely need several thousand miles of experience under your belt. A good way to get some of that experience would be to section hike the trail in 2 years.
Taking two years isn't a bad thing at all. It gives you a chance to fix all the things you did wrong the first year.
I'm in the same situation and plan to go the section hike route. I'm actually thinking three summers...leaving in late May and returning around the first of August. I want to give myself a couple weeks of down time before the Fall semester starts up.
I think trying to force through in three months would take away from the experience more so than breaking things up would. Look at the upside...If you split it into two summers, you get the anticipation of the trip twice instead of once. Plus, think of how much better prepared you'll be starting the second summer.
For sure, 2 sections. Why be in a hurry and miss actually enjoying the trip. If I make it next year for a thru, I'm gonna drag it out for as long as possible. 6-7 months
Sure can tell we are talking about the AT. As you have to do 20+ per day to complete the PCT and CDT in a single season.
Actually 20 per day isn't a that big of a deal (especially during the longer days of summer), but given that social aspects fo the AT, and the availability of the ever suductive town stops, it becomes difficult.
Back on topic...
I would do it in 2 summers. NOBO from GA one summer, and SOBO from ME the second.
Prior to your all's input I failed to see some of the more positive aspects of sectioning. My initial AT interest centered primarily on the thruhike concept. This viewpoint is probably a little shortsighted.
As far as social aspects of the trail slowing me down I doubt that they would. I tend to be a loner and shy away from social events. I do want to get the entire AT experience, but my draw to the AT is not for it's culture.
As to my joints and repetitive 20 mile days, Kerosene may be exactly right. I am in pretty good physical shape, but have recently sustained an undiagnosed hip injury/condition that hopefully is temporary. I also experience iliotibial band syndrome in the knees as the result of distance running, but this has not been a problem backpacking. To help with this I am transitioning to ultralight or as close as I can get and buying trekking poles.
Regarding the flip-flop idea I like the fact that I would finish closer to home (KY), but it seems anticlimactic not to finish at Katahdin.
Anyway thanks. I feel more positive about sectioning now after reading your comments.
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