View Full Version : Time of Year to Start

Forrest Phil
01-26-2003, 16:21
I am curious after following the thread on Northbound vs Southbound what time of year would you start or did you start. Please include why. Did you have to? Did you choose to? How do you think it affected your overall experience? :-?

01-26-2003, 17:13
Statistically, the mean date for north bounders is April 6. 50% of the northbounders start between April 1 and April 15.

Myself, I started my 2001 hike on May 23 at Harpers Ferry. The reason for that date was first, it was after our daughters graduation, and second, it was after took care of another personal matter. I started my 2002 hike on April 22 at Springer. The reason was that I was waiting for tax information from an incompetent accountant, since fired.

01-26-2003, 18:54
I've started my hike on April 7th, twice, and once on March 24th.
Why? I wanted to miss the cold weather as much as possible, thereby making my pack weight as light as possible. This year I am going to start around then end of Feb. so I can miss the throngs of hikers. I also wanted to excape the heat. I figure to be in New York by July 4th.

Sleepy the Arab
01-26-2003, 19:04
For my first thru-hike in '99, I started the approach trail on the 29th of March. This made my first day on the AT my birthday. Two years later I started on March 12th. My reason for this date was because after intense calculation of pace, speed, wind direction, barometric pressure, and a trigonometric analysis of boot tread degredation, this start date would allow me to reach Katahdin on October 3rd, at 11:41 am.

All right, I lied. I just wanted more time in the woods.

01-26-2003, 21:13
Peaks - With your start date of April 22nd, I would think most thru-hikers are ahead of you. Yet you have made earlier comments of great times with your hiking friends. I guess there are still plenty of thru-hikers at Springer even in late April. True???

01-27-2003, 08:40
True, by starting on April 22, it was after 90% of the thru-hikers had started. The first night I shared a shelter with only one other hiker. But, I was also going faster than the average hiker, so I was constantly catching up with those that started earlier, (or what was left of them.)

There were enough others around to make good friends. In fact, my buddy Pace-O started a few days later, and we hiked all of Virginia together.

And, only occasionally did I find a full shelter.

Team GAK
01-27-2003, 09:00
We started at Springer on March 25, 2001 and finished on September 11, 2001. Our thinking was to minimize the chance for cold and snow at the beginning and at the end. We both quit our jobs to do this hike - so we had an open time-table. We mostly tented - so crowded shelters was not an issue for us. We were able to take our time with this hike - we were never in a rush to finish.

01-27-2003, 14:22
Started at Big K on June 12. We tried to wait until mst of the black flies were dead, we missed on that one. We also wanted to be done by Thanksgiving and that gave us ample time. I think between mide June and July is when most SOBOs leave,

01-27-2003, 20:12
I started on March 30, 2002 on Springer Mt. My reasoning behind that date was due to a family obligation, otherwise I would have started earlier.

I was glad that I ended up leaving around the end of March due to weather concerns. If I had left earlier (beginning of March) I would have had to carry a lot more gear in regards to clothes and a heavier sleeping bag.

I will be leaving on March 29 or 30 again this year, again due to the same family obligation. But this time around, it's when I want to leave.

01-27-2003, 20:44
Left Springer on 3/17 in 2001 thinking that the majority of the weird March weather was gone - NOT !! Learned the hard way that March can be pretty iffy. This year I am planning on heading out of Springer on 3/29 (provided I can wait that long). Watch ...another darned blizzard will hit on 4/1 - Yikes !!
My reasoning for the 3/29 departure, aside from the weather, is that at a reasonable pace it puts me in Damascus near the last weekend of Trail Days. I like being there but not making a career out of it ...and I'd prefer not to over-hike Damascus and then hitch back. The 3/29 date also makes it very possible for me to reach Katahdin by the end of September at my pace, and gives me a little slack on the back end if I get slowed down for any reason.

Sleepy the Arab
01-27-2003, 23:27
Originally posted by Footslogger
My reasoning for the 3/29 departure, aside from the weather, is that at a reasonable pace it puts me in Damascus near the last weekend of Trail Days

Yup, that's exactly what I thought four years ago. I didn't make it. But I am pokey. Your milage may vary - see an authorized dealer for details.