View Full Version : Where to start? - logic vs. emotion

01-28-2003, 22:40
I am still debating where to start my thru-hike about April 1. For all sorts of good logical reasons, a head start itinerary beginning at the Partnership shelter seems the correct answer. It puts me north of Mt. Rogers facing somewhat easier terrain to start. It should get me through Pennsylvania before the springs dry up. I hit Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine in July and August for the mildest weather there and out of the Mid-Atlantic states before the heat hits. And last and not least, since it would be nice to go to my son's wedding on July 5 in Massachusetts (humor there), this schedule puts me there at the right time. I would then finish the southern section in the fall.

Still there is an emotional pull to starting at Springer and going to Katahdin and putting up with the early crowding, the tougher terrain and possibility of bad weather at high altitude. I had a dose of what the weather on Mt Rogers could be on a fall hiking trip. Ten of us were at the Thomas Knob shelter when the remnants of hurricane Isodore blew through and blew through is the right characterization.

Still trying to decide. Any thoughts?

Pete Hoffman

01-28-2003, 23:12
This is one that you will have to decide for yourself. But enduring the bad weather, crowding, rough terrain just makes reaching Katahdin that much better. It doesn't sound like a timing issue for you but rather what can you omit to make the chances of completion greater. I would go to Springer, its not that bad down there, and then take everything as it comes. But this is your hike not mine.

01-28-2003, 23:47

As ganj says it is a personal matter more than anything and what works best for you and your circumstances. I know ganj and many others like the idea of the "pull of Katahdin" and to most it is the climax of the entire journey. I can understand and appreciate their thinking, but I did a flip flop so Katahdin was not my climax end to the journey. I felt as though it was the journey that was important and so wonderful not the destination. I think if it had been my destination I would have been very disappointed to think and know that my adventure was over once I climbed Katahdin. Instead for me, it was as though the second half of my adventure was just starting and I was eager to see what each day held in store. That was my entire attitude of my thru hike, I enjoyed and looked forward to each new day and what I would experience during it.

At any rate, that is my 2 cents but it is only mine, and it is your hike so you do what it best for you and what you think would be the most enjoyable. Happy Trails and regardless of what you choose, I am sure it will be great....


01-29-2003, 08:11
Pete- I agree with GANJ and Walker. This is one of those very personal decisions that only you can make. If you start at Springer on April 1, you would be in the NE by July 5. I started on March 20 and on July 4 was in Delaware Water Gap. I wasn't moving all that fast so making it up into PA/NY by July is doable. On the other hand, starting at Partnership in April will but you up with the early starters. Still might run into some cold weather in Southern VA.

Guess it all depends on what is important to you. Yes the crowds at Springer can be bad but they thin out in a hurry. For me, the journey is very important but the thought of finishing in Maine is also important. What's important to you?

01-29-2003, 08:38
Everyone's hike is unique in many respects. All of the prior posts are valid.

It's a decision that only you can make.

And, for what it's worth, I didn't start at Springer and go straight through.