View Full Version : SOBO leaving middle of June.

12-18-2013, 12:14
Dahoyt here, just wondering if anyone who has done the AT before had any advice on starting in Maine, the pros, the cons, etc. Done a lot of research, read tons of books, been hiking for 8 years, and been planning my AT trip for 2 years. I luckily live ten miles away from the AT / LT in Vermont, so been doing overnights for years, got decent gear, good head on my shoulders and such. Just looking to meet people on here, talk about our trips, get advice (can never have enough tips!), and possibly arrange to hike with someone or a group to start with (although I realize I will most likely find people to hike with once I get there)... Thanks everyone!

12-18-2013, 13:22
I live in central Vermont too. I finished a SOBO on 11/23, started 6/11, I personly liked going south because of the crowds that start Nobo (2700 in 2013 compared to 336 that started SOBO). If I were to do it again I would start as early as possible, if I started June 1st it would of been 11 less days of being in the freezing cold in the mountains down south. I would be happy to answer any questions you have about going south, gear or whatever. Good luck!

02-09-2014, 18:37
Dahoyt I am also a SOBO hiker planning to leave early-mid June. I don't think I have nearly as much preparation under my belt as you do as my plans were moved up a year…but I'd probably be interested in meeting up and starting the hike together, don't really want to be totally solo just starting out...

Almost There
02-09-2014, 20:30
Hiked from Katahdin in early June a few years back. It was awesome until it started raining and didn't stop for the rest of the month...seriously though, just keep an eye on the snow and how fast it melts, fords were rough when I hiked, and the ford to get into Monson became impassable, had to cross on a bridge to get into town. Bugs'll probably be bad, but if it's raining, then you won't have to worry about them.;)

All that being said, I loved hiking in Maine in June, and would choose SOBO over NOBO anyday.

02-13-2014, 13:59
I am planning on leaving 6/1 SOBO...My wife doesn't want me to go solo...it would be great if we could start out together?

02-13-2014, 16:52
Based on my experience, I would favor a somewhat later start (say around July 1st, or July 4th if you want to be patriotic). If you start right when Katahdin opens through about mid-June, you risk colder nights for the first couple of weeks, catching the waning, but still fierce, bug season, and wetter conditions that will have fords running high. Those factors seem to ease the later you wait. Then again, I'm sure those factors vary considerably year to year (maybe some 'Down East' people can comment more thoroughly). The other side of the coin, as has been mentioned, is running into cold weather in the South, or more accurately, the South at 4,000-6,000 ft. Even with my slightly faster than average through-hike (4 months), I was in winter conditions from Davenport Gap to Springer (even discounting the Sandy Blizzard, which I consider a complete outlier). Like others have mentioned, I would be happy to offer you any personalized pointers based on my trip.

03-03-2014, 14:54
Hey Dahoyt! I had been planning to go NOBO starting in April, but my hiking partner recently crunched the numbers and realized his funds just wouldn't go the distance. Now I'm thinking of switching directions and starting in June so he can have a few more months to save up, and peel off near home in Massachusetts if he needs to.

I think going SOBO has a lot of advantages, at least for me personally. A more flexible end date, since Springer never closes. You get to experience some of the most rugged, remote, and beautiful locations right away (this would be the optimistic way of saying "it's a harder start"). A smaller crowd makes the experience more intimate, and not in the "25 people huddled in a 8-person shelter" meaning of the word.

Also, I camped in the Smokies in October a couple years back and with the foliage in bloom it was quite possibly the most beautiful place I'd ever been. I consider that as climactic in its own way as the Whites up north.

I've read a thousand opinions about how there are a variety of unique obstacles but on balance I'm still not convinced that they're more serious than the ones northbounders face. For me the hardest thing is waiting an extra three months--especially since I already put in my notice at work!

03-03-2014, 18:10
Sobo is a more solitary hike with a steeper learning curve than nobos face. You won't have Woody Gap or Neels Gap at mile 50 to bail out or replace gear. It's possible to bail out of the hundred mile wilderness, but it's a long way back to civilization from the road crossings. HMW starts out pretty mellow from Abol southward, but the ridges (Whitecap, then Chairback) will keep you focused. You may also have some interesting stream crossings to deal with.

When you get past Monson you'll have the rest of Maine and then the Whites to deal with. Good clean fun.

Sobo will continue to be a more solitary experience, all the way to the end. The challenge will be to avoid the worst of the winter in the southern mountains. Check out the Barefoot Sisters' sobo journal. It's one of the best I've read.

03-04-2014, 21:27
Retiring 3/31, have reservations at Baxter for nite of 6/1, looking forward to meeting some people. Hoping to have some company on trail. After 35yrs of being tied to a job (no complaints) 100 miles of wilderness is somewhat daunting and exciting.