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johnsupertramp
12-28-2005, 07:25
So heres the plan. I have no idea how i'm getting to Maine BUT.... I will. I have no idea how I'm getting home from georgia BUT..... I am. I know how to get from Maine to Georgia and those are at the ends of my legs. I am extremely new to hiking although i did do one long hike with the Boy Scout: 11 miles or so and they all started talking about the AT. I saw the AT and decided i was going to do it one day. Recently everything has changed in my life such as laid off from work, lost gf, think my car is going to blow up etc. I'm curently in college and 20 years of age I just started buying camping stuff and got it into my mind to go SOBO in June. I'm very physically capable. Here's my question... omiting fincial techincalities am i off my rocker and what advice would you heed to someone whos going to fly by the seat of their pants and do the damn deal?

Lone Wolf
12-28-2005, 08:09
You're perfectly normal. I did the same thing when I did my first thru-hike. Just do it.

MOWGLI
12-28-2005, 08:39
You're not crazy, but I might change my opinion if you do no hiking between now and June. Us the next six months to understand what you're getting in to. There is no substitute for backpacking when preparing for the AT.

Good luck.

sparky2000
12-28-2005, 09:26
What choices do you have? Doctors cost a lot more then the AT - swimming gets one wet - cars are for the wife -

RedneckRye
12-28-2005, 10:04
Go ahead, fly by the seat of your pants. Get to Maine - somehow, anyhow- and start walking south. Sure, you'll have some interesting experiences, but probably nothing that will kill you. This was the approach that the vast majority of thrus for decades (Earl till the mid-90's) used. When I did my initial "planning" in 96 and 97, I called the ATC, they sent me an info packet and catalog. I ordered the data book, planning guide, and maps. I had heard about Wingfoots website, but had no access or interest in the internet. I bought a new pair of boots in January, loaded up my gear (stuff I'd been using for a few years), and headed to Georgia the first week of april. Started walking north.

OR.....

Overplan, work out a daily schedule/mileage log, charts for caloric intake, agonize over every possible gear choice and option, spend hundreds of hours on websites, read every SOBO journal you can find, memorize resupply options and trail town maps, buy a digital scale to figure your packweight to the gram, begin e-mailing other '06 SOBOers so you will already have a pre-established community, overplan some more, loose sleep over this stove or that stove, etc, etc, etc...

Just my $.02.

TJ aka Teej
12-28-2005, 10:23
Welcome to WhiteBlaze.
Very few hikers starting a thru-hike of the AT have ever done a long distance backpacking trip before. The first person to try was called "The Crazy One."
Good advice above. I'll add: practice with your gear. You'd be surprised how many sobos show up at Katahdin and can't work their stoves, set up their tents, or pack their backpack. Most of them end up doing just fine, though.
And see if you can get to one of the Rucks. Nothing beats meeting other crazies.

mingo
12-28-2005, 12:04
you'll never make it

hammock engineer
12-28-2005, 12:56
Go for it. I'll see you SOBO. When you get your gear together do as others suggest and do some shake down hikes. There are some good beginning hikes in our area.

Kerosene
12-28-2005, 13:29
I second the suggestions to get in a few backpacking trips prior to the start of your AT journey, although it will be difficult to find a reasonable facsimile of the AT terrain in the Midwest. So just get out there to test out your boots and your equipment.

Once you get to Katahdin (by air, bus, train, hitching, or a combination of these), ideally after the peak blackfly season, avoid going out too fast. You probably have sufficient endurance but your joints and tendons need to work up to a constant day-after-day pounding. It would be great if you could hook up with an experienced hiker for the first few weeks just to work out the kinks, get in hiking shape, and learn how to deal with deep fords and wet weather. Scouting helps with some of the basics, but there's a lot more to learn. Even so, a lot of people have thru-hiked the AT without even that level of experience. Enjoy!

Lion King
12-28-2005, 16:17
Dude, I had never hiked a day in my life. Walked and ran yes, but hike...no.
Same kinda things happened to me...the AT calls, just answer and enjoy it.

Dont worry or fret, its a waste of time out here.
The dude abides and the trail provides.

Moxie00
12-28-2005, 16:59
You can get within 25 or 30 miles of Katahdin by bus. When your time gets close e-mail me here at Whiteblaze and I'll send you the bus schedule. With all the hikers, whitewater raft guides, and woodsmen in the ares if you stick out your thumb you wiill get to Millinocket and there catch a friendly ride to the mountain. Just hang out for an hour or so in ts Applachian Trail Cafe and someone will get you a ride to Katahdin. There is no real place to resupply for the first 100 miles so make sure of your gear and food before you start. The last store you will pass is at Abol Bridge and you can take care of anything you forgot there. Have a ball, many have made it with less preperation than you and had a great hike.

rickb
12-28-2005, 17:34
June is a long way off, so no need to take the seat of the pants approach. With the benefit of Whiteblaze, a smart person can get ALL the info they need in a a few hours. Then you spend a Saturday morning buying stuff. Then you go to Maine.

Specific advise:

1. Read the "Thru hiking Papers" a couple times over. The foundation they provide can not be beat, IMHO.

http://www.spiriteaglehome.com/THP%20top.html

2. Buy the ATC guidebook and set of maps for Maine. These will be of little use before you start walking, but they are good for day dreaming on the couch.

3. Go to www.aldha.org and click the on line version of "the Thru Hikers Companion". Then order a hard copy. This will be your "bible" once you get going.

3. Figure out a gear list with the help of Whiteblaze. Keep in mind that gear wont get you to Springer. Money in you pocket for food will, however. If you don't have a lot, don't feel you need the "best" of everything. Remeber that Southbounders need DEET and about 10 days worth of food when they leave Baxter State Park. Keep food to about 2#s per day and remember you will never need to carry that much again.

4. Don't worry about mailing yourself foodor anything else. Buy along the way.

5. Read the "Thru hiking Papers" again.

http://www.spiriteaglehome.com/THP%20top.html

6. Don't date any wonderful/beautiful women between now and June.

7. Walk.

8. Be prepared for people asking you if you are related to Alexander.

Smooth
12-28-2005, 20:15
:welcome You Go For It John! Overplaning was the biggest buzkil I saw out on the trail. I took three days of food to start. Was not sure I could 'do it' so I told NOBODY, not my mother, friends, or my credit card company. I just started. I took money (2 credit cards) and a dream. Many had preplaned where they would be when, what they would want to eat, and how much. They were wrong. Be willing to change. Bring love.
you'll never make it

johnsupertramp
12-28-2005, 20:42
Hmmm..... reverse psychology. I think im goign to carry a keg full of beer the whole way. We'll consider it a make shift hydration pack.

johnsupertramp
12-28-2005, 20:44
Hmmm..... reverse psychology. I think im goign to carry a keg full of beer the whole way. We'll consider it a make shift hydration pack.

My response to the clown who says i cant' somehow it ended up at the bottom.

RITBlake
12-28-2005, 23:59
Give it a shot, it can't hurt. Well it can hurt, but its always worth it!

bfitz
12-29-2005, 02:23
you'll never make it
You have no idea what you're talking about.

micromega
12-29-2005, 10:44
Being off your rocker isn't a bad thing. I personally believe rockers are for the old, the feeble, and the faint of heart, so they can sit on the front porch and watch life go by. Get off the rocker. Get out there. Live! Because there will inevitably come a time when you find yourself on the sideline taking a breather, and have a moment to reflect. "I wonder what would have happened if..." Nah. Regrets like that can pile up over the years. Just two cents worth from a guy who, on occassion, didn't have quite as much courage as he needed.

JP
12-29-2005, 10:57
John... Every time I have been told I could not do something, it made me more determined to do it. Go for it!!! Pack your pack and find what weight feels good to you. Practice cooking with your stove. Pick out what you think 10 days of food is and see if you can carry that much. Have fun!

icemanat95
12-29-2005, 11:02
Are you crazy? Well probably, but that's hardly relevant...most of us are or were.

Is it doable? Yup. Gather up info from here and Hiking HQ, do some test runs over long weekends in varying conditions to pound out some of the details, learn your gear and you'll at least have that taken care of. The rest is pretty easy. The real difficulty in long-distance-hiking is living in your headspace every day. That gets an awful lot of people.

But that's OK too. If you decide one day (or better yet, every day for a week or so in a row, to get off the trail and do something else, that's cool. The AT is supposed to be fun...if it stops being fun, then there is no reason to keep on doing it.

Nightwalker
12-29-2005, 12:08
You have no idea what you're talking about.
Actually, the odds are about 80-90% with him.

However, if you listen to mom and dad and everyone else that says "just don't do it", or "you'll get eaten by BEARS", you'll never even get close.

Don't sweat the trolls. Or do, it's your choice...

bfitz
12-29-2005, 15:14
Actually, the odds are about 80-90% with him.

However, if you listen to mom and dad and everyone else that says "just don't do it", or "you'll get eaten by BEARS", you'll never even get close.

Don't sweat the trolls. Or do, it's your choice...
I wasn't discouraging, I was responding to the guy who was...

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it."

mingo
12-29-2005, 16:10
My response to the clown who says i cant' somehow it ended up at the bottom.

who's the clown? you're about to go on a 2,000-mile hike and you don't even know if you like to hike. if i were you, i wouldn't believe all this happy horse---- that you're hearing in this forum.

bfitz
12-29-2005, 17:48
who's the clown? you're about to go on a 2,000-mile hike and you don't even know if you like to hike. if i were you, i wouldn't believe all this happy horse---- that you're hearing in this forum.
I never hiked a day or walked more than a coupla miles before I started. Additionally, I was out of shape, overweight, and a diabetic with a reputation for laziness and partying too much. But I had never heard of the AT or anything like it. I completed over 1700 miles on my first hike (with brand new utterly untested equipment with price tags still on at the first shelter just in case....) I have met far far more unlikely candidates than myself who have done much more. Every person that knew me personally was absolutely certain they would be seeing me again within a month. Now I have a great new obsession, and lots of new incredibly interesting friends in lots of interesting places. I had a ton of on and off trail adventures during that fateful summer. Since then I've done about 800 more miles, and have all sorts of plans. I would imagine if you're young and healthy you won't have any problems, so long as you enjoy doing it. Seems like you think you'd enjoy it, so go for it, what have you got to lose? If you can't stand being outside in the rain, or bugs, or a little physical pain mixed in with your fun it might not be your cup of tea, but you're here thinking about it, so you must've considered that already. There are times of difficulty, but lots of fun stuff is difficult. Here's a secret...I don't even really like the hiking part too much. But I like the types of people I meet, and the type of adventures and shenanigans that surround a thru-hike. One thing I noticed is that you are considering a SOBO hike. My impression is that there are fewer hikers to interact with on a SOBO, so if you are a "people person" you might consider a northbound hike instead...I have heard a person compare a northbound hike to making love, lots of humping with a climax at the end, and a southbound as having the climax first, but then you still have a lot of humping to do...just food for thought. I didn't do a lot of reading or anything because I never even considered the idea until a few weeks before I started. I joined this site a few days before I started, and read what I could. The most useful stuff I read was about gear and inventory lists for my backpack. I still changed everything after a few days on the trail and sent lots of stuff home but whatever...Don't let Mingo the mirthless discourage you...what do you really know about anything before you try it? If looks like it will taste good, then take a bite!

johnsupertramp
12-29-2005, 18:01
who's the clown? you're about to go on a 2,000-mile hike and you don't even know if you like to hike. if i were you, i wouldn't believe all this happy horse---- that you're hearing in this forum.

Physically i have alot of ability. I've done triathlons for 7 years... yes since i was 13. I've ranked nationaly in the top 20 in my age bracket for the last 4 years. I know what i like and the AT has consumed me since i was 10. I just realized that i finally have the chance to do it.

"If it doesn't hurt, if it not painful, if its easy and doesnt make you want to quit..... is it worth atempting."
John Waggle

mingo
12-29-2005, 20:10
[quote=johnsupertramp]Physically i have alot of ability. I've done triathlons for 7 years... yes since i was 13. I've ranked nationaly in the top 20 in my age bracket for the last 4 years. I know what i like and the AT has consumed me since i was 10. I just realized that i finally have the chance to do it.

that's great. good luck. generally, though, i'm really tired of all the amateurs who pour out onto the trail in the springtime. they clog things up and whine a lot.

johnsupertramp
12-29-2005, 21:32
that's great. good luck. generally, though, i'm really tired of all the amateurs who pour out onto the trail in the springtime. they clog things up and whine a lot.[/quote]

You're extremely critical of me.

april2006
12-29-2005, 22:10
generally, though, i'm really tired of all the amateurs who pour out onto the trail in the springtime. they clog things up and whine a lot.

Last time I looked the AT was for everyone, not just "professional hikers" (I'm assuming that's what you are if all of the rest of us are "amateurs"). I guess I'm just screwed since I haven't backpacked since I was a kid, hey I'm overweight too, just quit smoking. This is a National Senic Trail. It's for everyone. Get off your high horse and stop trying to discourage others , OK?

Fiddler
12-29-2005, 23:26
that's great. good luck. generally, though, i'm really tired of all the amateurs who pour out onto the trail in the springtime. they clog things up and whine a lot.
Good golly, Mingo. You seem to know so much maybe you could help me. How do I come out of the "amateur" ranks and become a PRO like you evidently are? Where did you get all the experience that made you a pro? How many miles, how many trails did you have to hike till you were no longer an amateur? I've just about got the whining thing under control but would sure appreciate your help with the rest of it.

JP
12-30-2005, 10:31
When you get back off the trail, finish college. You dont want to be in your 40's whishing you had finished college when you didnt have a wife, kids, and fulltime job. Even if its a degree in general studies, you can get more education specific to your carrer later.

Jack Tarlin
12-30-2005, 16:30
John--

While it's true that most folks who thru-hike tend to have lots of previous
outdoor experience, this isn't always the case. Some of the best thru-hikers I ever met had little or none. I know folks who finished whose FIRST night in the woods, ever, was on top of Springer Mountain.

That being said, there are things you can do to improve your chances.

Since you're planning to go South, this gives you extra time to plan and prepare, to read up on what you're undertaking; to learn more about gear; to get in as good shape as you can. As a few folks have pointed out, you should absolutely get out and hike as much as you can before heading to Maine. The only really good way to prepare to spend a great deal of time in the outdoors is to spend as much time as you can in the outdoors, and this might be especially true in your case.

A few other ideas: There's a lot of good information here at Whiteblaze, and also at the ATC website (www.atconf.org) and the ALDHA site (www.aldha.org) The ATC site is also your best resource for maps, guidebooks, books about the Trail, etc.

Here at Whiteblaze, I'd advise you to start out with such topics as "General";
"Thru-Hiker Specific Topics;" "Mail Drops;" "Cooking and Food;" "Health Safety and Hygeine" and go thru these discussions and check out the subjects that look interesting. There's also some good information in the "Articles" section of Whiteblaze, including suggestions on food, re-supply, scheduling, hiking on a budget, preparing and sending mail parcels, etc.

And don't be shy at asking questions here, that's what this site is all about. Every single person here, including the folks who talk about "amateurs" were once in your boat, i.e. they were once brand new to backpacking and had a whole world of stuff to learn. And even the folks who think they know it all still have things to learn or discover, tho some of them have a problem admitting it.

In any case, follow your heart, plan wisely, learn as much as you can, and try and use the months ahead to get a more realistic idea of what you're undertaking.

And don't let naysayers discourage you. There will be friends and even family members who WILL try and talk you out of going, and who WILL tell you you're nuts. Trust your own judgment and do what's right for you. For the most part, the discouraging words will come from folks who either don't care or don't dare to ever attempt something like this. People who have abandoned their own dreams will find a way to disparage yours. Forget about 'em. Concentrate on what's right for you, and on what YOU want out of this trip.

And in all likelihood, you'll be just fine.

mingo
12-30-2005, 17:49
i question the premise that we should always "encourage" everyone to go hiking. that's like saying everyone should vote even if they don't pay any attention to the campaign or know anything about the issues. in april especially, it's ridiculously crowded on the southern end of the trail, all because of thru-hikers. there are great herds of them. if boy scouts ran in such enormous packs, we'd all demand a law against it.

many of these so-called thru-hikers are miserable because they're either way out of shape or don't like to hike or don't like to be dirty. they're only continuing to hike out of stubborness. somebody should have discouraged them from starting a thru-hike in the first place.

bfitz
12-30-2005, 18:36
i question the premise that we should always "encourage" everyone to go hiking. that's like saying everyone should vote even if they don't pay any attention to the campaign or know anything about the issues. in april especially, it's ridiculously crowded on the southern end of the trail, all because of thru-hikers. there are great herds of them. if boy scouts ran in such enormous packs, we'd all demand a law against it.

many of these so-called thru-hikers are miserable because they're either way out of shape or don't like to hike or don't like to be dirty. they're only continuing to hike out of stubborness. somebody should have discouraged them from starting a thru-hike in the first place.
Aw...c'mon... people do discourage them. How do you think this guy started thinking he might be crazy? Sounds like you're just being curmudgeonly, or even selfish...mabye they don't like having some opinionated "pro" hanging around the shelter telling them to go home because they're fat or need help priming their stove anymore than you like seeing them. You made your own errors did you not? Every one of those "so-called thru-hikers" has a right to be out there miserable and making their own, maybe learning an important lesson. I personally like the crowds, they are interesting! And it's easy enough to go be somewhere they aren't if you have to hike during that season and don't want to sully the experience by talking to a bunch of bumbling amateurs. I bet you wouldn't come accross that way in person...just goes to show how this medium gives weird impressions...(I never sound arrogant in my head, but in print I'm an ass...Like right now probably.)

rickb
12-30-2005, 19:14
Mingo would never be able to hike Sobo.

Smooth
12-30-2005, 22:08
Awsome Web Site!!! I just love all of the knowledgeable thru hikers helping out all of the new soon to be thru hikers. Also, I get to learn a thing or two that I had not learned before. Reading the Profiles of the other 'thru hikers' is also a lot of fun! Great Site!!! Thank you Web Site Dude!!!

blindeye
12-30-2005, 22:41
good luck!!!!!!!!!!! like nike says "just do it"

Rollergirl
12-31-2005, 01:01
I say hike as long as you want to, are having fun, and can't think of anything else you'd rather be doing. You'll never know when those times will be, however, unless you just go.

And no matter what idle chatter you hear (i.e. "you're crazy!" or "you can't pack that" or "you need to do more/less miles" etc), stick to whatever makes your hike your own. No one else will look back on your hike and say, "Man, your pack was too heavy/you took too much time/you didn't take enough time/you can't afford to hike." So follow your gut, do some simple research, and be flexible!

Regardless of how far you hike, when you hike, or with whom, your time on the AT will be memorable!

Muchas Smoochas,
Rollergirl

johnsupertramp
12-31-2005, 14:24
i question the premise that we should always "encourage" everyone to go hiking. that's like saying everyone should vote even if they don't pay any attention to the campaign or know anything about the issues. in april especially, it's ridiculously crowded on the southern end of the trail, all because of thru-hikers. there are great herds of them. if boy scouts ran in such enormous packs, we'd all demand a law against it.

many of these so-called thru-hikers are miserable because they're either way out of shape or don't like to hike or don't like to be dirty. they're only continuing to hike out of stubborness. somebody should have discouraged them from starting a thru-hike in the first place.

Alright Mingo Iíve had enough and I'm going to stand up to your bull **** antics. First off eat ****. I don't care if you're 50 or 25 I'll run circles around you and look good doing it. Second of all I can't believe you call yourself a hiker with such a competitive attitude. Here's an idea for you. If you hate the <st1:place w:st="on">Appalachian Trail</st1:place> so much, don't hike on it. Go do old people stuff and make baskets. I'm glad you're so adamant to discourage people from doing stuff makes me wonder if the world would be better off if your mother was discouraged from reproduction. I don't care if your 50 or 60 or how ever old you are. I'm going to call a spade a ******ING spade, and if i see you on the trail I may just break your legs and then tell you to quit whining. You should pick a new hobby like shutting the ****** up. Sorry everyone for my harsh words but this ******* deserved it. Happy hiking ******er

The Desperado
12-31-2005, 16:09
I think R. Boudrie gave you some pretty good advice, as well as some others too. Dont overkill the whole thing, but a little planning never hurt anyone. Have enough $$ is certainly a good thing ! Ive found over the years that that might be one of the top things that makes a hike great, or could put you off the trail due to the lack of it. You certainly can overplan though, that's for sure. Just plan enough........and your at the right place to do that. Youre not crazy, or...maybe ya are, who cares.....enjoy!!

saimyoji
12-31-2005, 16:23
I'm with Mingo. People should not be allowed to try anything new, EVER. No one should be allowed to experiment with new things, no one should be allowed to do things they have no experience doing. Basically we should all stick to the one thing we were told to do at birth, and do nothing else.

bfitz
12-31-2005, 16:35
Alright Mingo Iíve had enough and I'm going to stand up to your bull **** antics. First off eat ****. I don't care if you're 50 or 25 I'll run circles around you and look good doing it. Second of all I can't believe you call yourself a hiker with such a competitive attitude. Here's an idea for you. If you hate the <st1:place w:st="on">Appalachian Trail</st1:place> so much, don't hike on it. Go do old people stuff and make baskets. I'm glad you're so adamant to discourage people from doing stuff makes me wonder if the world would be better off if your mother was discouraged from reproduction. I don't care if your 50 or 60 or how ever old you are. I'm going to call a spade a ******ING spade, and if i see you on the trail I may just break your legs and then tell you to quit whining. You should pick a new hobby like shutting the ****** up. Sorry everyone for my harsh words but this a**hole deserved it. Happy hiking ******er
Um, well...no need to sink below his level...he didn't actually directly put you down beyond suggesting you'd fail to "make it" (whatever that means). I share you're feelings but don't break his legs, just let him continue to dig his own hole...up til now the default side to be on in this discussion is yours...

justusryans
12-31-2005, 17:23
Um, well...no need to sink below his level...he didn't actually directly put you down beyond suggesting you'd fail to "make it" (whatever that means). I share you're feelings but don't break his legs, just let him continue to dig his own hole...up til now the default side to be on in this discussion is yours...

Good Advice!!:D