View Full Version : Section Hiking the A.T. ( Some Thoughts )

08-31-2017, 17:17
I will be doing a Part 1 of 4 section hikes to complete the A.T in 4 years, I plan on doing 5 miles per day for 100 days each year, I know I will do more miles per day as I get along down the trail. I will be doing these hikes in June/July/August. Why? 1. I hate winter cold and snow, 2. I hike in Florida during these times of year and grown accustom to the Heat and Humidity. 3. I really hate Cold.
My questions is this : Being in Elevation during summer months I have seen the temps at night in the mid-upper 40's, is a 30 degree sleeping bag too much or would a 50 degree bag work as well with a liner?
I will be checking out a lot of Blue Blazed side trails to look at scenery and Photo Ops. Bird Watching and Wildlife photos is another hobby I enjoy, this is why I will hike the A.T at a much slower rate. I am thinking 6-7 days of food would be enough to get me from one place to another. Any thoughts or Ideas would be much Appreciated.

Navy/Post Office/Marines

08-31-2017, 17:38
Go for it!

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08-31-2017, 18:11
August 30th 2017. Mt Washington NH

Summit temp 36 deg F, wind speed 55 mph, wind chill 20 deg F.

At some point your plans will need to change. Its hard to string together long stretches of nice weather in the whites.

08-31-2017, 18:43
August 30th 2017. Mt Washington NH

Summit temp 36 deg F, wind speed 55 mph, wind chill 20 deg F.

At some point your plans will need to change. Its hard to string together long stretches of nice weather in the whites.
I was lauging when the OP kept saying he really hates cold. I was thinking to myself "Whats he going to do when he gets to Maine and NH?" Chance of snow this weekend, possibly. Perfect hiking weather.

08-31-2017, 18:45
Only hiking in the summer, then from Georgia to, say, Vermont, a 40F rated bag or quilt would be all I needed. Once I got into New Hampshire I'd want to start later, like late June or early July, and I'd probably take a 20F quilt.

At 5 miles per day, you'll need to carry 6-7 days of food. Resupply tends to be 30-50 miles apart. Honestly, I expect you'll be at 10 miles per day within a few weeks. (And carrying 3-4 days of food 10 miles is easier than carrying 6-7 days of food 5 miles, at least for me :)

Have a great hike :)

08-31-2017, 19:00
I had a 40* quilt this July in GSMNP and was glad for it every night. I would start in the southern 500 with a 40* most likely, then once I got to the northern portion of the trail in 3-4 years, reassess from there.

08-31-2017, 21:53
A 50 bag and liner would probably be enough most of the time. Very marginal for late August in Maine or NH, but that's really the exception. Personally, I'd want to guarantee comfort down to at least 40 and that means a 30 bag. It's better to error on the side of too much warmth then not quite enough.

5 miles a day is painfully slow. At least plan to go shelter to shelter. You will quickly discover the advantages of doing so.

There are two types of blue blazes. Most are short spurs over to a vista or the shelter. These are usually worth taking. Others are access trails from the valley. These your not usually interested in. Birds are of course most active in the early morning and evening. Good way to start and end the day at camp.

08-31-2017, 23:35
5 mpd?

You are not " hiking slower",
Your hiking less time per day
Walking is walking

Only persons i knowed of that hiked that little,
Were extremely obese or 73 yrs old with heavy pack.

09-01-2017, 05:07
Thank you for your inputs, I guess once I get to say to the New York / Vermont border, I will look into bringing a warmer bag ( 20-30 degree ) and some winter clothes, I am sure I will pick up the pace after a few weeks on the trail, but I see so many hikers have knee problems or go so fast they miss the real beauty of the trail and what it has to offer. Again Thank You for the inputs.

Slow Trek
09-02-2017, 00:33
Just my 2 cents worth-my son and I did Springer to Harpers Ferry last year,doing the rest next year,and I am about your age(56). I am by no means athletic,but have hiked a lot. We averaged 2 miles per hour for the most part. Given that,5 miles per day will give you a ton of boredom after a while. Once you get acclimated to the trail,we found that you wake up with the birds at dawn,and midnight hits about dusk. That will make for some mighty long days if you only hike for 2-3 hours,if you think about the amount of daylight hours in the summer. Hike your Hike and enjoy it,but I think you will make more miles than that. Have a good hike!

09-02-2017, 07:54
I'd second most of what has been said ... and suggest that you try not to worry much about the miles. Start out with the 5-7 days of food if that make you feel the most comfortable. Start hiking without paying much attention to making miles, just do what you want as you meander down the trail, and after a week see how many miles you made. Resupply and repeat ... after a few weeks of that you will have a pretty good idea of your average MPD, and can start planning your resupply points more intentionally. The thing about the AT is that it is long enough to figure out what works for you early on, while you still have LOTS of the trail to do :D

As to staying warm ... I never had the problem when I was a kid, but now that I have a few more years on me (we are essentially the same age), I sweat at night and THEN get cold if I have too much "bag". SO, I'm more likely to get cold with a 20 degree bag than with a 50 degree bag. You may not have this problem, but my solution is to use a quilt (I have three with different temp ratings), a sheet on the pad and sometimes wicking liners. The quilt allows me better temp control than a bag. AND, you aren't carrying the part of the sleeping bag that you are going to compress to nothing anyway.

Best of luck on the sections !!!!

09-03-2017, 06:02
Keep in mind that it's easier to vent a sleeping bag, to cool off, than to try and add warmth once you're sleeping in all your clothes because the bag isn't warm enough.
My vote goes toward a warmer bag if you plan to do the whole trail with 1 bag.