Been loving all the info on this site and I have had a ton of my own questions answered and some things I didn't consider brought to my attention. Planning my thru hike for early March 2013 and need to get some planning done.
Some of the things I still haven't found a straight-forward answer to are the following:
1) As far as water consumption/forward planning goes, I don't see much on how often you can expect to resupply. Ideally I want to make as few trips to town as I can, with as few zero days as I can. Obviously I need to cut weight as much as possible, but one of my fears is not having a water source available for a few days at a time. To me, it makes sense there would be a stretch of 2 or 3 days without a shelter once in a while, so how much water would I need to leave camp with? I figure AT LEAST 1.5-2 gallons a day, for me and my wife each, which seems like a TON of weight. or is it something I don't have to worry about as creeks and shelters are usually close together.
2) I found a lot of good tips for good foods to bring on the trail, but no realistic estimates (IMO) on how much that would cost on a weekly/monthly/full trip basis. most estimates assume you're eating 3 meals in town 2-3 times a week, which I don't want to do at all. specific foods to last a good 7 days until resupply with approx cost (most estimates I see are 10 years old) would be INCREDIBLY helpful.
3) If possibly I want to get food from the land when available, off trail, from whatever sources. I can identify good plants to eat or fish. Preferably fishing because I enjoy it. The problem here is most replies assume someone is using the AT as a fishing trip, but I mean if a shelter or wherever I stop happens to be relatively close to a creek or pond, I can tie a length of fishing line to my pole, set a hook on it, dig up a worm and catch some small sunnies. At the end of my day when I'm relaxing this seems like a good way to end the day, but I want to know if its a feasible notion to entertain. plus the line can come in handy with other things. Keep in mind when I mean fishing for food, I wouldn't expect more than a handful of times during the whole hike. I would check each state I'm in for their regulations and get a license, but the reason I ask is if there are spots like this every few days, I might just pre-purchase a license in every state I'll be spending more than a couple weeks in. Obviously I'll be cautious with the wastes from what I catch and not just leave a stinking fish on the trail. I think having the occasional fish (especially trout!) would be a welcome feast on the trail.
4) Most estimates I see range from $4000-$5000. Is this per person? since me and my wife will be sharing certain things, is there a different number to consider? What does that number include? I have some of the equipment already (i.e. rain gear, trash bags, clothes, tents etc.), so I know I can cut cost there. What I'm getting at is basically how cheap can I make this thing and still be comfortable. I imagine I can outfit quite a bit from goodwill and such, while spending more money on things I cant skimp on like boots and sleeping bags. Does the bulk of that $5000 figure come from gear or food? We are budgeting for a $10,000 trip in case of emergencies, and some money to have when we get back home, but realistically are there places I can save some money and still get the gear I need? My family has always been pretty outdoors-y so we have a good amount of camping stuff. some things don't transfer to the hiking enviornment, so I would have to buy some things, but we do have a good amount, so if you were to guess, just assume we have a good bit of camping gear already.
5)there's a whole section in the forums for people looking for buddies. I don't see anyone (except that one redheadedgirl) looking for 2013 buddies, so is it just too soon to think about that or what's the deal? are there better sources for that? We welcome any and all company, and we're not newlyweds so you won't have to put up with that business haha. just throwin that out there if anyone is interested in joining us.
Its late and I'm tired so that's all I can think of right now. Any and all answers are tremendously appreciated. I'll even bring extra items you suggest just for helping me out! just name something extra I could bring that may help a forlorn traveler I might come across on my journey so I can pay your kindness forward. I can deal with a little extra weight if it means helping someone else finish their dream, just don't know what people are usually in need of.