View Full Version : planning a start date of may 1st.

08-24-2015, 12:14
wondering if i should start earlier or later. would like to know if anyone has worn sandals on the trail with success ?

08-26-2015, 05:16
Assuming you're talking about going NOBO date depends entirely on you, starting in april/last week or march you'll be in the bubble and have bigger crowds and have cold weather to start. Starting in May you'll have warmer weather and fewer thru hikers (still see some, but more day hikers i'd imagine).

I know there were some sisters(?) who hiked the whole trail barefoot, and its not unheard of to hear of people doing sections of it barefoot either. I'm sure its possible, but you'd have to be commited to the idea. I know i'd want shoes for bits of it from what i've seen.

http://blog.keenfootwear.com/blog/2011/02/09/thru-hike-of-appalachian-trail-wearing-keen-newport-sandals-kevin-kaczmarski-hikes-1200-miles/?cpage=1 Quick google search brought up this.

08-26-2015, 06:36
Starting at Spinger May 1 for a northbound thru-hike is fine, though you'll have to keep an eye on your mileage and the date, as that gives you roughly 5.5 months to finish.

You could start May 1 at Harper's Ferry, hike to Katahdin, then flip back to HF and hike south to Springer. This hike has numerous advantages: good weather, fewer crowds, and you get to "finish" twice.

Lots of folks have worn sandals on successful thruhikes. I kinda like these:


(Kidding. Chacos or something like that are fine though.)

08-26-2015, 10:29
May 1 is okay, it will be much quieter then but by no means will you be lonely.

I don't think sandals are appropriate footwear, but some people seem to manage wearing them. The trail will be drier and warmer in May, so they won't be as much trouble as if you started earlier when it's still cold, wet and muddy.

When you get into New England where the trail often wet (if your not hiking in stream, your not on the trail) has a lot of mud and steep, treacherous climbs and descents you might be wishing for real hiking boots. Have a strap on the sandals break at the wrong time and you'd be in trouble.

08-26-2015, 18:19
Many people have worn sandals with success.

The average hiking time for a new hiker is about six months. If you're confident in exceeding that pace, there's nothing at all wrong with a May 1 start. You'll at least miss the all-too-common spring blizzards in the Smokies. But you'll probably hit more heat and humidity in the mid-Atlantic and that can wear on you.