Hi all! First off, I'm new to the forums and wanted to say thanks for the wealth of info on them. Going through these forums will definitely make planning my Long Trail hike much easier.
I'm planning to thru hike the Long Trail this summer/fall as a graduation present to myself. I just finished my Master's degree and am in need of a break, so I thought tackling the Long Trail solo would be a great challenge and chance to get away. I'm an avid outdoors person, and have a decent amount of backpacking tripping, and guiding under my belt, so this is planned as a fun solo adventure for me.
- How long will it take? I was going to allot myself a month to do it in, but I imagine I can probably finish in closer to three weeks, maybe less once I get used to putting that mileage under my feet. Getting a reasonable estimate from those who have done it will help me plan.
- When is a good time to hike the trail? If I consider that it will take 3-4 weeks, I have time at the end of June (after the 15th) through the end of July (by the 24th or so) then probably not again until after August 20th or so. So basically my options are late June into July or late August into September. I'd prefer to hike with less traffic, less rain, and less bugs, crowds being my #1 thing to avoid.
- Should I go North-South or South-North? Is one way tougher than the other? Is there a reason to choose one direction over another? My initial instinct is to go North-South, but I suppose it doesn't really matter.
I'm also planning on doing this trip solo, without cooking, and without a resupply, meaning I will carry all my nuts/dried fruit/granola/beef jerky/tuna pouches/cheese etc, from the beginning. I'm planning to hang my food, since bears don't seem to be much of a problem on the trail so it seems a bear can is unnecessary.
Any other good starter advice would be appreciated as well. I'm sure I'll ask more questions, but this seemed like a good start.