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Thread: Crowds

  1. #1

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    Hi- I'm considering a thruhike but am concerned about crowds heading Northbound on the AT and am wondering how 'bad' it is. If anyone could share their experience with how crowded the trail is for an April start and how soon the trail starts to thin out I would appreciate it!

    Thanks!

  2. #2

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    I just got back from hiking the first 200 miles will get back on hopefully Sunday. Anyway. I hiked most of the time by myself. Some hikers passed me some I passed. So the trail was not crowded. I always could sleep in a shelter if I wanted to. There is plenty of camp sites with fire rings. One camp site we ended up with about 20 tents But we all did our own thing. The farther north you go the less hikers. But what is crowded to you? You know what they say. Hike your own Hike. Which everyone does.

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the reply, from what you said it doesn't sound too crazy. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetspot View Post
    But what is crowded to you?
    I think passing a few people or being passed a few times isn't a big deal, but I've been on trails where it seems that there is a parade of hikers - which isn't ideal.

    I believe I've seen stats somewhere about what percent of hikers make it to various places - could someone send me that link?

  4. #4
    LT '79; AT from Springer-Rangeley in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    I hiked Georgia in early April 2004 just to experience the thru-hiker stampede. Interestingly, we camped near Amicalola Lodge on the first Saturday night in April and heard a half-dozen hikers pass by during the night. The next day, we learned that there had been a few dozen campers up at Springer Mtn. LT, and over 30 at Hawk Mtn. LT. We passed a number of people throughout the course of the day and camped along with 10 aspiring thru-hikers at Hickory Flatts Cemetery that evening. The next day we passed a number of people, but it was never crowded. We camped alone atop Ramrock Mtn. (dry) with a great view of the Atlanta skyline. On the third day we passed a bunch of other hikers, and there were a slew of folks passing through Neels Gap that afternoon. It wasn't until the fourth day when we hit a larger group heading up to Blue Mtn. LT that things got crowded. All in all, though, it wasn't as bad as I expected, but I would suggest starting from Amicalola on a Monday or Tuesday rather than the weekend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slugsworth View Post
    I believe I've seen stats somewhere about what percent of hikers make it to various places - could someone send me that link?
    There's this one:

    http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/show...Drop-out-Rates
    http://www.laughingdog.com/2012/02/a...ion-rates.html

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    Nalgene Ninja flemdawg1's Avatar
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    I hiked thursday night March 31st thru April 10th starting at Springer.

    March 31 Springer Shelter Full and about 6 tents around
    April 1 Hawk Mtn Shelter Full and twenty tents around by 2pm kept hiking a spent a night alone on Sassafras Mtn (dry)
    April 2 Gooch Shelter 1/2 full by 1pm, hiked on to about 1 mile past Jarrard Gap and camped wit h 4 other hikers.
    April 3 Neels Gap Hostel full, 5 tents on hill behind it.
    April 4 Deep gap Shelter full by 5pm, a dozen tents around.
    April 5 resupply in Helen, 4 thru hiukers in same hotel, saw maybe a 7 others in town.
    April 6 Tray Mtn Shelter, full by 6pm, 10-12 tents around.
    April 7 Plum Orchard Shelter 4 hikers in larger double decker shelter, 3 tents outside.
    April 8 Standing Indian Shelter 5 in shelter, 6 tents about.
    April 9 Rock Gap Shelter, full shelter by 6 pm, 5 tents around.

    So basically if you like solitude, stay away from shelters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slugsworth View Post
    Hi- I'm considering a thruhike but am concerned about crowds heading Northbound on the AT and am wondering how 'bad' it is. If anyone could share their experience with how crowded the trail is for an April start and how soon the trail starts to thin out I would appreciate it!

    Thanks!
    go SOBO starting around july 1st. you won't regret it

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slugsworth View Post
    Hi- I'm considering a thruhike but am concerned about crowds heading Northbound on the AT and am wondering how 'bad' it is. If anyone could share their experience with how crowded the trail is for an April start and how soon the trail starts to thin out I would appreciate it!

    Thanks!
    It can be as crowded or as solitary as you want.
    You want crowds? Stay at/near shelters.
    You want solitude? Collect water for the night. Hike on a bit. And set up alone.

    The trail is what you want it to be.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

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    I've often wondered this my self,and have come to the same conclusion,if you want to get lost....there's room for that.
    I hike for hikin'

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    I've often wondered this my self,and have come to the same conclusion,if you want to get lost....there's room for that.
    I read folk's journals and their bitching about crowded shelters, snoring, moving about, phones, etc, etc, etc.......

    I want to scream at them, "YOU CHOSE TO BE THERE!!!"
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinMusic View Post
    I read folk's journals and their bitching about crowded shelters, snoring, moving about, phones, etc, etc, etc.......

    I want to scream at them, "YOU CHOSE TO BE THERE!!!"
    Yep,some of the journals I've read ,I just scratch my head,not about yucky rain today or the bad food,but the incessant whining,I just don't get that either.I know this is a bit of a reach,but it's one that has stuck with me over the years.When I wrestled in high school,coach you to say,can't hack,"get pinned"!
    I hike for hikin'

  12. #12

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    You will only rarely have complete solitiude if you choose to use the shelter system or camp at established campsites. You're going to pass people throughout the day and people are going to pass you. But if you don't stay at shelters you'll probably see 1/2 dozen people a day. Reason being is you can be an hour ahead of someone or an hour behind them and if you are hiking at about the same pace you'll never meet. So there can be 30 people on the trail within a day's walk of where you're at and you'll only ever encounter a few of them. Beyond that you'll encounter people as you choose to.

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    I like the crowds...

    Panzer
    (don't be anitsocial)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzer1 View Post
    I like the crowds...

    Panzer
    (don't be anitsocial)
    I hear ya,I'm a people person too,but every now and again I want the whole Mt. to myself,to feel that sence of the wild,to feel a little uneasy and then fall into a deep profound serenity.Although this rarely happens it's truley magic when it does and if it doesn't,not biggie try again another day.I have only felt this way a few times in my life (The Wow I'm all alone),and hope others have had that same or simillar feeling.Thats all mushy rant over.
    I hike for hikin'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panzer1 View Post
    I like the crowds...

    Panzer
    (don't be anitsocial)
    It's ok to be an introvert, too.
    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do."

    -Bob Dylan

  16. #16

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    I started my thru-hike on April 1st last year. For my 5 months on the trail I never hooked up for any length of time with another hiker, although I did spend a few hours with various hikers along the way. In early April there were definitely lots of hikers out there, but they seemed to only congregate at the shelters in the evening and around trail magic in the gaps during the day. I preferred stealth camping each night ( I spent only 4 nights in shelters) and so even in early April, I was by myself at night.

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    The AT isn't crowded, it's the shelters that are crowded. As others have said, all you need to do is not camp at the shelters. It's amazing how many people are at the shelters, but once you leave it doesn't take long to feel secluded. There will always be sections that are somewhat crowded, but it doesn't take long to get past them, and those sections are not crowded due to other thru-hikers, rather they are crowded due to tourists. Places that come to mind are various lookouts in SNP and clingman's dome, Charles Bunion...and even those areas it's only crowded if you are there "in season".
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by flemdawg1 View Post
    ...April 2 Gooch Shelter 1/2 full by 1pm, ...
    Done hiking by 1 PM??? I'm guessing you won't be competing with these people for long.

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    Quote Originally Posted by john gault View Post
    The AT isn't crowded, it's the shelters that are crowded. As others have said, all you need to do is not camp at the shelters. It's amazing how many people are at the shelters, but once you leave it doesn't take long to feel secluded. There will always be sections that are somewhat crowded, but it doesn't take long to get past them, and those sections are not crowded due to other thru-hikers, rather they are crowded due to tourists. Places that come to mind are various lookouts in SNP and clingman's dome, Charles Bunion...and even those areas it's only crowded if you are there "in season".
    BTW, I started in Georgia twice in March and once in April and there were tons of hikers there, especially in March time-frame, but as I said it's only crowded at the shelters. The most crowded I've ever seen the trail was thru SNP during tourist season, but then again only at a few isolated locations and then they were all gone.


    Mt Washington can also get crowded, but not too bad. Probably the worst is Katahdin and Baxter state park, but that's my personal opinion.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    It's ok to be an introvert, too.
    I enjoyed reading this,very interesting,informative,and insightful.
    I hike for hikin'

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