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pipsissewa
01-17-2014, 07:00
Sorry if this is common knowledge, but is there a way to track the northbound "bubble" of thru-hikers? I was thinking of doing some trail magic and I'd like to know where the largest block of hikers are at any given time. Is there a website that tracks the bubble or some way to use data on a website to track strictly numbers (not an individual hiker)? Thanks :)

4shot
01-17-2014, 07:35
pick a random date in the last week or so of March/first week of April. Keep track of the number of days since that date and multiply by 13 (any number between 12 and 15). Should give you an idea of how many trail miles the "bubble" has travelled. Use an AT guide to approximate distance. Say you pick March 25. 25 days later there will be a bubble of hikers 325 miles north of Springer. Use a guide to see where that would be (maybe Hot Springs? I'm too lazy to go get my guide). Should work as well as anything.

moldy
01-17-2014, 10:09
There is no real tracking of the bubble going on. Nobody is counting noses then publishing the numbers. You can use the basic math method of figuring when and where to maximize the number of hikers you intercept by going to MapMans article on data that is posted here on WHiteblaze. You can generally figure things out by following numerous hikers on Trailjournals.com. Recent efforts by the trail gods to flatten the bell curve and spread everyone out and therefore eliminate the bubble have caused more and more hikers to start early. Another problem with figuring the location of the bubble is figuring the size of the bubble. We are sure that the number of thru-hikers is going up and it may be going "way up". It could very well be that the data was masked in 2013 by a combination of poor counting and a rough start to the hiking season do to weather and illness. Perhaps in 2014 the hikers will find favorable conditions and more hikers will decide to stick it out. This could cause quite a bubble. It will be interesting to see what happens.

HikerMom58
01-17-2014, 10:21
There is no real tracking of the bubble going on. Nobody is counting noses then publishing the numbers. You can use the basic math method of figuring when and where to maximize the number of hikers you intercept by going to MapMans article on data that is posted here on WHiteblaze. You can generally figure things out by following numerous hikers on Trailjournals.com. Recent efforts by the trail gods to flatten the bell curve and spread everyone out and therefore eliminate the bubble have caused more and more hikers to start early. Another problem with figuring the location of the bubble is figuring the size of the bubble. We are sure that the number of thru-hikers is going up and it may be going "way up". It could very well be that the data was masked in 2013 by a combination of poor counting and a rough start to the hiking season do to weather and illness. Perhaps in 2014 the hikers will find favorable conditions and more hikers will decide to stick it out. This could cause quite a bubble. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Indeed!

Usually the "bubble" hits Daleville VA, the end of May beginning of June. The hikers get "bunched up" a lil bit at Trail Days in Damascus, which is in mid May.

There are many waves of hikers that come through, at any given time, in Daleville, VA. When I go to Outdoor Trails, I always ask them how many hikers are in the area... they can tell you right away. lol They told me that 1/3 of their revenue comes from thru-hikers.

RED-DOG
01-17-2014, 11:59
What section of trail are you thinking about doing trail magic? If we new the section we could probably give you a real good quess. Go to trailjournals.com and read a bunch of journals, but their's no real way to track them.

Odd Man Out
01-17-2014, 12:10
Here is a WB Article with detailed analysis of past thru hiker schedules. Not real time for the current year and doesn't take into account annual variability. Also, it is only based on data from successful hikers. At the beginning, but bubble is inflated by those who don't make it.

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/content.php?44

This is the most relevant table from the article:

TABLE 3 -- Date Landmarks Were Reached

MEDIAN DAY ~~ MEAN DAY ~~~ LANDMARK
March 17............March 20...........Springer
March 25............March 28...........Georgia Border
April 1................April 5...............Fontana
April 28..............April 29..............Damascus
May 29..............May 28..............Waynesboro
June 9...............June 8...............Harpers Ferry
June 29.............June 27..............DWG
July 12..............July 10...............Kent
Aug. 5...............Aug. 2...............Glencliff
Aug. 15.............Aug. 12..............Gorham
Aug. 26.............Aug. 22..............Stratton
Sept. 9..............Sept. 4..............Katahdin!

Odd Man Out
01-17-2014, 12:12
Here's my graph of that data:

25581

pipsissewa
01-17-2014, 16:45
Thanks, OMO. Looks like the month of April is when I can expect the most traffic near us (not far from the Roan Highlands of NC/TN). Thanks again for taking the time to put the data together.

GeoRed
01-28-2014, 13:12
How many NoBo's have taken off so far this year? What's a good way to keep track of their progress?

TEXMAN
01-28-2014, 17:42
Sorry if this is common knowledge, but is there a way to track the northbound "bubble" of thru-hikers? I was thinking of doing some trail magic and I'd like to know where the largest block of hikers are at any given time. Is there a website that tracks the bubble or some way to use data on a website to track strictly numbers (not an individual hiker)? Thanks :)

Why not be a trail angel either ahead or behind the bubble > you'll have less hikers but they will have seen less"Trail Magic" so it would be more meaningful to those you help...just a thought

pipsissewa
01-29-2014, 10:04
Why not be a trail angel either ahead or behind the bubble > you'll have less hikers but they will have seen less"Trail Magic" so it would be more meaningful to those you help...just a thought


Good idea, TM! :)

sadlowskiadam
01-29-2014, 10:21
Why not be a trail angel either ahead or behind the bubble > you'll have less hikers but they will have seen less"Trail Magic" so it would be more meaningful to those you help...just a thought

Great idea. I started April 28th last year and saw little of the trail magic. There a still plenty of hikers starting April 21-May 7 at Springer who would greatly appreciate some trail magic.

notabear13
02-13-2014, 16:40
Why not be a trail angel either ahead or behind the bubble > you'll have less hikers but they will have seen less"Trail Magic" so it would be more meaningful to those you help...just a thought

Yep. I started early, and got a good bit of trail magic. But I feel bad for the late starters - I doubt they get much at all, since it is all used up, first on the early birds, then on the main crowd. Late starters get the scraps.

kennyxedge
02-13-2014, 22:19
Two years ago when I started April 1st, I'm pretty sure I saw Trail Magic every day at least once, sometimes more than that for the first 2 weeks.

4eyedbuzzard
02-14-2014, 03:44
Why not be a trail angel either ahead or behind the bubble > you'll have less hikers but they will have seen less"Trail Magic" so it would be more meaningful to those you help...just a thought


Good idea, TM! :)


Great idea. I started April 28th last year and saw little of the trail magic. There a still plenty of hikers starting April 21-May 7 at Springer who would greatly appreciate some trail magic.


Yep. I started early, and got a good bit of trail magic. But I feel bad for the late starters - I doubt they get much at all, since it is all used up, first on the early birds, then on the main crowd. Late starters get the scraps.


Two years ago when I started April 1st, I'm pretty sure I saw Trail Magic every day at least once, sometimes more than that for the first 2 weeks.
Many years ago, Trail Magic was just that - it was magic. It wasn't planned, nor was it a mass hiker feed. You would be talking to a stranger while buying food and next thing you know they would invite you for dinner and even to spend the evening in their guest room. Or you'd get a hitch into town and be offered a shower and to camp in their yard. Or while passing a field a farmer would offer you a few ears of corn or some tomatoes or such. Section and day hikers would offer you some extra food or a beer, or it even might be just a water jug left at a road crossing in a dry section of trail. But it was unexpected and unplanned and - MAGIC! It just seems that a good deal of the "magic" part seems to have been lost along the way. Kind of sad. It was very memorable.

kennyxedge
02-14-2014, 05:59
Many years ago, Trail Magic was just that - it was magic. It wasn't planned, nor was it a mass hiker feed. You would be talking to a stranger while buying food and next thing you know they would invite you for dinner and even to spend the evening in their guest room. Or you'd get a hitch into town and be offered a shower and to camp in their yard. Or while passing a field a farmer would offer you a few ears of corn or some tomatoes or such. Section and day hikers would offer you some extra food or a beer, or it even might be just a water jug left at a road crossing in a dry section of trail. But it was unexpected and unplanned and - MAGIC! It just seems that a good deal of the "magic" part seems to have been lost along the way. Kind of sad. It was very memorable.

I understand what you're saying. There was plenty of the Trail Magic you're speaking about along the way. But any kind of trail magic can be a huge pick me up regardless and I remember all of it. Whether it was the church group serving up omelets and sandwiches to hikers on day 4, the guy hiking southbound with hot dogs and soda on a rainy day a couple months down the line or the many people who offered/gave rides. It all great and appreciated.

Ox97GaMe
02-14-2014, 18:28
Great idea. I started April 28th last year and saw little of the trail magic. There a still plenty of hikers starting April 21-May 7 at Springer who would greatly appreciate some trail magic.

Agreed. I have been doing trail magic for the past 15 yrs. Seems like more and more of the hikers in the 'bubble' are less appreciative of the trail magic. I think it may be because they see so much of it, or that they feel they are entitled to it.

Pips: The other thing to consider is how far shelters, hostels, and/or campsites are from the location you choose to provide trail magic. Most road crossings see hikers in waves. (hikers for an hour, no hikers for 2-3 hrs) If the shelter is just before the road crossing, most hikers from the shelter will be through there before 9am. If the shelter is just past the road crossing, most hikers are coming through in late afternoon/evening. Calculate 2.0 mph average hiker speed. Show up at least an hour early to catch the faster hikers.

Example Davenport Gap:
First shelter is 1 mile. Most hikers at the road 8am-9am.
Second shelter is ~9 miles. Most hikers at the road around 1pm
Third shelter is ~17 miles. Most hikers are either
a) staying at the previous shelter and dont cross the road, or
b) pushing to get to the hostel 4 miles further and at the road around 5pm

If you use this example and arrive at the gap at 2:00, you would get frustrated waiting 3 hrs to see the first hiker.

Its about location and timing. Have fun. :)

WingedMonkey
02-14-2014, 20:27
Agreed. I have been doing trail magic for the past 15 yrs. Seems like more and more of the hikers in the 'bubble' are less appreciative of the trail magic. I think it may be because they see so much of it, or that they feel they are entitled to it.

Thank you for confirming my belief that what self appointed magicians do is for their own joy and needs.

HikerMom58
02-14-2014, 21:38
Thank you for confirming my belief that what self appointed magicians do this for their own joy and needs.

Fixed it for ya.

You are back WM.

We already went over this a million times... there is something in it for everyone involved. If the givers didn't get anything out of it then there would be NO motivation for anyone to do anything, EVER. Think about it, it's the way we are "programed".

If I read you correctly, no one should mention it, plan it or acknowledge it... just do it when the spirit moves ya, if not, it will happen magically on it's own. Okay, that's cool.

And most certainly do away with the "trail angel" avatar, those people are self appointed magicians. I got ya! :)

Too much of a "good thing" can go terribly wrong. The baby boomer generation (as parents) know this all too well.

I believe I understand you now. :)

lemon b
02-15-2014, 08:21
Jackrabbits show up here in May, steaady flow thru July not a real bubble.

wornoutboots
02-15-2014, 10:28
Being a free spirit, I really love nerds ;) Just messin with ya Odd Man!!!


Here is a WB Article with detailed analysis of past thru hiker schedules. Not real time for the current year and doesn't take into account annual variability. Also, it is only based on data from successful hikers. At the beginning, but bubble is inflated by those who don't make it.

http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/content.php?44

This is the most relevant table from the article:

TABLE 3 -- Date Landmarks Were Reached

MEDIAN DAY ~~ MEAN DAY ~~~ LANDMARK
March 17............March 20...........Springer
March 25............March 28...........Georgia Border
April 1................April 5...............Fontana
April 28..............April 29..............Damascus
May 29..............May 28..............Waynesboro
June 9...............June 8...............Harpers Ferry
June 29.............June 27..............DWG
July 12..............July 10...............Kent
Aug. 5...............Aug. 2...............Glencliff
Aug. 15.............Aug. 12..............Gorham
Aug. 26.............Aug. 22..............Stratton
Sept. 9..............Sept. 4..............Katahdin!

WingedMonkey
02-15-2014, 19:27
Fixed it for ya.

You are back WM.

We already went over this a million times... there is something in it for everyone involved. If the givers didn't get anything out of it then there would be NO motivation for anyone to do anything, EVER. Think about it, it's the way we are "programed".

If I read you correctly, no one should mention it, plan it or acknowledge it... just do it when the spirit moves ya, if not, it will happen magically on it's own. Okay, that's cool.

And most certainly do away with the "trail angel" avatar, those people are self appointed magicians. I got ya! :)

Too much of a "good thing" can go terribly wrong. The baby boomer generation (as parents) know this all too well.

I believe I understand you now. :)

I've never understood the arrogance of online "I fixed it for you".

It doesn't happen around the dinner table conversation or around campfire conversation. It is truthfully an online occurrence.

Your reconstruction of my words makes an unreadable sentence.

HikerMom58
02-15-2014, 19:50
I've never understood the arrogance of online "I fixed it for you".

It doesn't happen around the dinner table conversation or around campfire conversation. It is truthfully an online occurrence.

Your reconstruction of my words makes an unreadable sentence.What? Oh please say it isn't sooo! ^^^^^

Hi Winged Monkey... good to see you are well. I was wondering where you were when all the Florida threads appeared & you were MIA.

Not sure what you are talking about... I'll check it out. I'm good at butchering both the written and spoken English language.

I thought I was "fixing" it. :p

Yup... you are correct. I messed it up. Sorry bout that. I won't bother you anymore.

wornoutboots
02-17-2014, 01:12
I've never understood the arrogance of online "I fixed it for you".

It doesn't happen around the dinner table conversation or around campfire conversation. It is truthfully an online occurrence.

Your reconstruction of my words makes an unreadable sentence.

I agree, why would this ever happen?? Why would this site even make it possible for one person to change another persons post?? Bizarre!!

HikerMom58
02-17-2014, 09:55
I agree, why would this ever happen?? Why would this site even make it possible for one person to change another persons post?? Bizarre!!

I agree with you, boots. FYI, you can't make changes to a member's original post. That's huge!

You can, however, "mess around" with someone's post when you "quote them". I have never seen anyone do that & change the meaning of words etc.. If that were to happen, it would be more than bizarre.

I misread WM's post and really thought I was "fixing" it for him. I was WRONG, he was RIGHT.

I had someone change my username on another site. (as a joke) I wasn't laughing & I'm no longer a member of that site.

I've learned my lesson-- I will NEVER change anyone's post , in a quote, for any reason, from now on. Even in jest, it's not cool!

aficion
02-17-2014, 10:17
Ahem. Getting back to the subject at hand, "The Bubble" is at home packing, weighing, repacking, and fretting over the weather, the calendar, and other uncontrollable minutia. In two months it will appear in mass in the North Georgia Hills where it will extend its amorphous self upon "The Trail". As it proceeds northward it will slowly lose its bubbulicity, and ultimately burst. Many of its component members will find there way home again shortly after its inception. Many more will congeal again briefly in Damascus come mid May. After that it is over. Prospective and actual angels who intercept said bubble can expect to be alternately amazed at the levels of gratitude and indifference they encounter. Said angels shall not be forgotten. So it is.:sun

Odd Man Out
02-17-2014, 11:44
Being a free spirit, I really love nerds ;) Just messin with ya Odd Man!!!

Yup, as a Science Professor, I have an abnormal obsession with plotting things on Excel. Is there a 12 step program for that?????

RED-DOG
02-17-2014, 12:07
You should tread lightly when trying to track the NoBo bubble or any body on the trail if you come off too strong you could be considered a STALKER or a CREEPY trail angel, sorry but this is my oppinion. :eek:

HikerMom58
02-17-2014, 12:55
You should tread lightly when trying to track the NoBo bubble or any body on the trail if you come off too strong you could be considered a STALKER or a CREEPY trail angel, sorry but this is my oppinion. :eek:

On occasion, I will express my opinion/judgement even though I know the person might not be too happy about it. No apology needed.

I tend to give trail angels the benefit of the doubt, so there's that... :sun Cool! :cool: RED-DOG, you've made a valid point.

We don't need STALKING/CREEPY trail angels on the AT. Personally, I'm not worried about that being the case with this OP.

pipsissewa
02-17-2014, 14:06
Many years ago, Trail Magic was just that - it was magic. It wasn't planned, nor was it a mass hiker feed. You would be talking to a stranger while buying food and next thing you know they would invite you for dinner and even to spend the evening in their guest room. Or you'd get a hitch into town and be offered a shower and to camp in their yard. Or while passing a field a farmer would offer you a few ears of corn or some tomatoes or such. Section and day hikers would offer you some extra food or a beer, or it even might be just a water jug left at a road crossing in a dry section of trail. But it was unexpected and unplanned and - MAGIC! It just seems that a good deal of the "magic" part seems to have been lost along the way. Kind of sad. It was very memorable.


Thank you for confirming my belief that what self appointed magicians do is for their own joy and needs.



You should tread lightly when trying to track the NoBo bubble or any body on the trail if you come off too strong you could be considered a STALKER or a CREEPY trail angel, sorry but this is my oppinion. :eek:


On occasion, I will express my opinion/judgement even though I know the person might not be too happy about it. No apology needed.

I tend to give trail angels the benefit of the doubt, so there's that... :sun Cool! :cool: RED-DOG, you've made a valid point.

We don't need STALKING/CREEPY trail angels on the AT. Personally, I'm not worried about that being the case with this OP.


Thanks for the vote of confidence, HikerMom. But I'm over the idea. Apparently, not "magic" enough if you actually plan it, and just another opportunity for others to criticize.

Maybe when I'm really old and can't hike anymore...

HikerMom58
02-17-2014, 14:42
Thanks for the vote of confidence, HikerMom. But I'm over the idea. Apparently, not "magic" enough if you actually plan it, and just another opportunity for others to criticize.

Maybe when I'm really old and can't hike anymore...

Wow pipsissewa... I'm personally having a hard time with this right now. I'm seeing RED!!! I'll tell you what countless others have told me to do, in the past.... Shake it off. IGNORE it.

When I've told hikers about these type of comments on WB, they can't believe it either.

Believe it or not, these comments are mild compared to how bad it can get. It's ridiculous!

I was trying to be understanding & nice but after reading your post, I can't hold on to that anymore.

This thread is going on ignore for me. I should not be surprised, it's always a matter of time. It's a shame.

4eyedbuzzard
02-17-2014, 14:58
Thanks for the vote of confidence, HikerMom. But I'm over the idea. Apparently, not "magic" enough if you actually plan it, and just another opportunity for others to criticize.

Maybe when I'm really old and can't hike anymore...Sorry if I upset you. I was just observing the differences and that some of the spontaneity seems to have gone, that's all. The trail, and the experience, is different. And so is the magic. A lot of this is the result of the AT being rerouted and the sheer number of hikers who now head NOBO each year. Years ago the trail used to come into more frequent contact with the local public - past farms, on roads, etc. There was more opportunity for it to happen spontaneously. Plus, there were A LOT LESS thru-hikers, so it wasn't like there even was a "bubble" to track. There was no need to organize magic - it would have been a waste. You could have waited days at a shelter or road crossing and not seen more than a couple of hikers.

Given that there are so many thru-hikers theses days, and that so many hikers post their journals and updates on public sites, I don't really see stalking as being an issue.

If I were thru-hiking today, I would still be very appreciative of any acts of kindness like food, drink, rides, etc that Trail Angels put out the effort to do. It is very nice of you to want to do this.

HikerMom58
02-17-2014, 14:59
Just wanted to make is abundantly clear pipsissewa... I'm so sorry you had to read these negative comments and they make you feel the way you do. I don't blame you at all for having those feelings.. been there.

But, I'm not letting it stop me from being myself. *Hugs*

Prime Time
02-17-2014, 16:33
I so appreciated the kindness and generosity of folks along the trail when I thru hiked, spontaneous or not, that my promise to myself at the time was to pay it forward. I will be serving up trail magic near my home in the White Mountains this summer because of that. Many thru hikers feel the same way and with the 5 to 10 fold increase in thru hikers over the years, this has led to more former hikers wanting to repay the kindness. Nothing selfish or devious about it. It's all good.

LAF
02-17-2014, 17:17
Thanks for the vote of confidence, HikerMom. But I'm over the idea. Apparently, not "magic" enough if you actually plan it, and just another opportunity for others to criticize.

Maybe when I'm really old and can't hike anymore...


I for one would be most appreciative of any trail magic provided. I myself have done so in the past, it was a bit more spontaneous but planned or spontaneous, it is always appreciated. In fact, I think it can show a lot more conscientiousness of the one who plans and wants to provide some trail magic over those who do it "ad hoc" and I have a great deal of respect for a fellow hiker wanting to help a fellow hiker. Just because it lacks some aspect of spontaneity doesn't detract from the MAGIC. In fact, if you don't tell the hiker(s) you're providing the magic to, how would they know any different, and would they appreciate it any less? The only comment I can make here is that no one should expect trail magic, the sheer act of expecting removes the magic. We are not entitled to anyone helping us along the way, in fact, we (I) can't say I'm entitled to anything except maybe to be able to enjoy the outdoors, at least I do expect that :)

So Pips, don't read the negativity, keep your glass full and just be who you are, a person that likes to help another (well, that's how I see it anyway ;)

pipsissewa
02-18-2014, 09:54
Thanks, Psyenz!

RED-DOG
02-18-2014, 10:23
On all three of my thru's I have had folks come out to the trail and tell me they been tracking me, I even had one guy chase me from to damascus all the way to PA and when he finally caught me he just wanted my audograpgh, but the fact is knowing their was some body out their tracking me was very unnerving and i didn't feel at ease with it at all, so my advice to you is pick a spot ( Road Crossing ) in VA or TN set up their for a few days, with a sign at the trail crossing ( NOBO and SOBO) Stating your intentions for trail magic, direction to where it's at and let the Hikers Approach you, do not Approach the hikers, Do not follow the hikers up the trail, Stay in one spot. PS the title to your thread is very Misleading.