View Full Version : Flip planning question

03-09-2017, 14:51
I have decided that I am going to give serious consideration to a flip flop. I want to start somewhat still in the south about a month north of the smokies so I can hit them in the fall when they change colors and such. I plan to rent a car in Maine and drive and sight see back for a few days to a couple weeks maybe. I'd like to try to walk into the color change. If I miss it o well. I do think I would like to start south of HF. I'd like to experience the NOBO aspect of the trail but I'd really enjoy the south more secluded. I am from a military background so I know the crowd thins out eventually or the bubbles adapt to hiking speeds of individuals. When I go I will not have a time frame other then winter. I will still most likely start in April. So from what I read the beginning and the end are the roughest so they say, its all hard. This way I can do all the hardest parts last? Maybe around mile 700? I am thinking 2\3 NOBO 1\3 SOBO. Obviously it all works and the only way to get there is to walk a lot everyday. Logistically speaking maybe some where just inside Virginia or NC-TN any place easy too get to ect?

03-09-2017, 15:59
I would start at Marion, VA which is easy to get to by bus. That puts you 500 miles from Springer and at the bottom of Virginia. The first 100 miles of VA isn't the easiest since there is a lot of frequent up and down, but it's not real crazy either. Starting there in early April will put you well ahead of the bulk of the thru hikers, but the faster and/or earlier starters will be passing you by until you get your trail legs. Don't try to keep up with them at first.

map man
03-09-2017, 19:58
Roanoke VA (Daleville) is almost exactly at the one third point on the trail (728.1 trail miles from Springer). Easy to get to by car, bus or plane. Start there in April and you will be comfortably ahead of the crowd of NOBO thru-hikers (unless you start at the very end of April).

03-09-2017, 20:11
I don't mind walking with the faster ones. I plan to be physically prepared to start as well. I know I will find my stride pretty quick. I will see how the winters going when I finally get to go.

03-10-2017, 12:52
A few ideas for alternative routes just to get some more ideas at http://www.appalachiantrail.org/home/explore-the-trail/thru-hiking/alternative

But timing your hike to coincide with flipping to hit peak fall colors in the south/GSMNP is very dependent on hiking pace, which is difficult for anyone here to predict. If you start in early April, I think you'll be too early for fall colors in the south (late Sept/early Oct). The "average" thru-hiker takes about 5 1/2 months, with the "normal" range typically 5 to 7 months. Sometime in May might be more conducive to such a schedule. That would also eliminate most of the issues with any late season snow and colder temps, and getting to VT before Memorial Day when trails are (unofficially) closed due to mud conditions. The Daleville and Marion suggestions would work well at 870 and 1050 miles from the VT border respectively. Estimate your pace and plan to arrive accordingly. If you budget 60 days from VT to Katahdin, you would need to average 10 miles per day in that stretch, which would likely allow for any possible weather delays in the Whites and at K, and/or zero days, travel days, and local sightseeing at the end of the section - all depending on your pace. At an easy pace, a July 1 arrival at the VT border would put you back SOBO Sept 1 hiking into the higher elevations in the south.

If you have a copy of the Companion or AWOL, you should be able to figure out a plan. But again, the timing is difficult as it's an individual thing.

03-10-2017, 13:57
Our plan is to start on or about May 1st and we're planning on launching at Waynesboro/Afton, which is right at the southern end of Skyline Drive/Shenandoah National Park. Seems like a nice place to start, and we're hoping the timing puts us back heading south with the fall colors.
Pete, Linda, and Scout

03-10-2017, 14:29
That's some good advise I do need a trail guide still.