I have recently decided to tackle the AT, and have set a goal to do so in 2013. I have lots of newbie questions, that i'm hoping someone can help with:
1) not including the cost of maintaining life back at the ranch, how much should i budget for the total cost of the thru-hike, including gear, food, any required fees and/or spending money?
2) why does everyone seem to want to go south to north? I think id rather go north to south, leaving in June, and being home for thanksgiving. What am i missing?
3) what is the longest period of time i should expect to be without access to a place where i can get food or supplies?
4) Just in case i need it, is there cell service or wifi available along the trail? where can i find it?
5) How often can i expect to find, and where can i find, electricity to recharge battery operated devices?
6) Can you suggest a good place for me to take a 1 day, and/or a 1 week "sample hike" to get a feel for what i am in for? I want to be as prepared as possible.
7) what are some of the not so obvious challenges that an average joe with a dream like me needs to be prepared for?