View Full Version : 2015 Thru Hike Questions??

01-24-2015, 23:47
So I'm seriously considering thru hiking the A.T this year, but I have a few questions, and this seems to be the place to ask them.

Firstly, is $4,000 a do-able budget for a thru hike? I realize this is probably on the low end of a budget, especially in 2015. I will avoid staying in towns as much as possible, only going to pick up food, maildrops and occasionally do some laundry. I'm also only 19 so alcohol will not be an in town expense that I have to worry about. Additionally, is it cheaper to buy food as you go, or try to coordinate mail drops town to town?

I should add that I already have the vast majority of gear for such a trip. I'll probably grab a lighter, smaller pack and a new pair of boots before the trip, but not much else. I have backpacked most parts of the A.T in CT, NJ,and NY. I've hiked the Monadnock sunapee trail (i think thats what its called) I've also backpacked a good portion of the Long Trail, so I definitely know what to expect in terms of preparedness, difficulty, etc.

I'm still deciding between NOBO and SOBO for a number of reasons. Obviously I know it's going to be lonely doing a SOBO, but I don't mind that, I'm looking for a more introspective journey, so avoiding the party like atmosphere of a NOBO might even be a plus for me. Obviously going SOBO is going to be an extremely difficult start to the hike though, so I'm not sure if this is the best idea. I've also heard there are several rivers in Maine that cannot be passed on foot, especially for SOBO hikers, so that worries me a little.

I have some prior family plans that are going to require me to take about 2 weeks off in July to go back home. I live in Connecticut so either way I'm going to have to backtrack, and add in some extra travel expenses. I was considering doing some sort of flip-flop hike, there seem to be several different ones, because this might work out easier with me needing to travel back to CT mid summer, although these don't seem to be a popular as a traditional NOBO or SOBO.
Also, what would some realistic start dates be for a NOBO and a SOBO thru hike?

Thanks for reading all this, I'd love to get some input from some experienced thru hikers about it.

01-25-2015, 09:22
if you have your gear, you have $.
Maildrops - there has been much discussion about them. They might be slightly cheaper, especially if you buy in bulk or make/dehydrate your own food. Cons - you may get sick of what you bought ( I was eating a lot of tuna pouches early on but got sick of them somewhere in Va. and didn't eat a single one after that.) It can be a hassle trying to get to the PO by a certain date/time and bouncing boxes up the trail.

SOBO vs NOBO - again, you can use the search button. Neither hike is better, nor is a flipflop.Just all depends on what you want to do. I went NOBO because I had a year off and couldn't wait to get started.The party atmosphere that gets talked about is there but easily avoided if one chooses. By Damascus the partiers have been culled from the herd for the most part. NOBO's generally start in May-April, SOBO's late June-July. Of course there are exceptions.

If you go SOBO, the start isn't too bad. The 100 mile wilderness isn't all that difficult. The rough stuff doesn't begin until the southern part of the state and lasts maybe 1/2 way through NH.

If I were to do it again, I might start in Harper's Ferry in early May or so and walk south until end of June. return to HF and go north to Katadin. then return back south and finish to Springer. They (ATC) have a name for this but I have forgotten it. This is the best route for best weather conditions although it adds a little time and expense for travel. I am ok hiking by myself. Which is basically what you do on a NOBO or SOBO hike a great deal anyways. It's extremely difficult to find a hiking partner who has the same pace. You may walk with a faster or slower hiker for a bit just to have some conversation but not for most of the day.

If you hiked the Long trail, then you have some idea of what to expect. Good luck. I am sure others might add to what I've just said but the search button is also a great tool.

01-30-2015, 09:54
1. $4,000 is enough
2. Mail drops are dumb IMO unless you have special dietary issues.
3. Boots are dumb, buy trail runners.
4. Nobo will be easier and probably cheaper if you don't drink, trail magic is available and very helpful for the first few months especially .
5. Nobo is only a party like atmosphere if you want it to be . People who like that stay in packs and you just stay a day or two ahead of you. It's not an issue at all post Harpers ferry bc hikers tend to get more serious then.
6. I took a ten day break in my hike, and a 5 day break, I still finished with my original people in 5 months. You can take a break and still make good time going one direction if your serious about your hike. Be reminded getting off the trail, makes it hard to get back on. I wouldn't plan a flip flop but I would start off and keep the option open if you need it!
7. Have Fun!!!!!

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02-05-2015, 05:08
If you are in good shape, sensible pack weight and have some quality training before you start, then I suggest going for the SOBO option or even a flip flop North as suggested above. There is no comparison with the terrain in the first two States heading South, against the first two State heading North - worlds apart - just something to bear in mind.

02-05-2015, 10:36
How about starting from Connecticut? Hike south, hike north, according to river crossings, mud, black flies, mosquito swarms, hoards.

Like that: Flip Flop.