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tipcar
10-26-2017, 12:22
Several years ago I hiked from Springer Mountain to Hot Springs, NC on the Appalachian trail. I am thinking about starting in Hot Springs and finishing the rest of the way to Katahdin. Will I be a section hiker, is it considered a thru-hike? I am lost at what to do.

capehiker
10-26-2017, 12:36
According to the ATC, a thru hike is completing the trail in one calendar year. If that is important to you, youíll need to start at Springer again and head north (or vice versa). If completing the trail is the driving factor, start at Hot Springs and head north. You would be a section hiker or LASHíer (long a** section hiker) and at the end of your hike you would be a 2000 miler. Interestingly, the ATC does not distinguish between a thru hiker and a section hiker who completes the entire trail. They are both 2,000 milers to the conservancy.

Aside from that, Iím unsure of why you would be at a loss of what to do? Are you more concerned about the title or completing the trail?

Gambit McCrae
10-26-2017, 12:36
It is your hike do what you want :)

IMO and most others I would consider that to be a section hike. And that you have completed the trail in two sections, GA to HS & HS to Maine.

If I were to be in your shoes, I would start in GA and go all the way. That way for one I could call myself an accomplished thru hiker, while still leaving your current completion on a "Map 1" that could continue to be completed through the years of your life to say that you have now completed the AT as both a thru hiker, and a section hiker.

Some variables to think about on the opp side of the coin though are:
Your timeframe: If there is any sort of timeline you have to be back by, and starting off in HS would a leave some stress of finishing on time, then that could be a plus.

If starting in HS, when you get to Maine and finish, you may decide you want to go back to HS and hike south to make it an official thru hike for the year. By doing this, you would still leave the GA-HS as completed as a section as a god start to that map 1 I spoke about earlier :)

Money: IF money is a little tight, Starting in HS would save you a good bit of money during your hike.

ALLEGHENY
10-26-2017, 12:37
Several years ago I hiked from Springer Mountain to Hot Springs, NC on the Appalachian trail. I am thinking about starting in Hot Springs and finishing the rest of the way to Katahdin. Will I be a section hiker, is it considered a thru-hike? I am lost at what to do.

What I would do is what I can.
You would be a long distance hiker in my eyes.

nsherry61
10-26-2017, 12:42
Just go hike what sounds good to you. Screw the labels.

Technically a thru-hike is a single year end-to-end hike. I do those every day in my local park. No big deal!! :-?


Go be a passionate hiker/backpacker.

I will NEVER be a thru-hiker by most people's definition because I think there is so much more to do backpacking than following a trail end-to-end (even through borring ugly parts). I rarely backpack for more than a day without taking some long or short-cut that involves off-trail travel to explore some interesting drainage or climb some interesting peak or ridge. I tend to stay away from heavily traveled trails because I tend to backpack partly for the solitude and quite. As a youth, I used to belittle people that hiked the PCT and AT because I considered them a bunch of ninnies that needed a blazed or otherwise well marked trail to be able to go out and spend extended periods of time in the "wilderness". I considered marked trails little more than easy-access entry point from which to start an adventure.

As an old curmudgeon, I've learned to appreciate the idea of thru-hiking classic scenic trails and the value of being able to go out in the "wilderness" for extended periods of time and be safe without extensive wilderness experience. I've also learned a lot from these ninnies and their fresh new ways of looking at efficient back-country travel. Thru-hiking helps create dreams and opens up the wilderness to a much broader swath of people, and that is good, as it brings more people to appreciate the value of our natural and scenic resources.

DownEaster
10-26-2017, 13:09
I suggest starting at Hot Springs and doing the rest of the AT. Long trails take a lot out of your body, and you'll increase your chances of becoming a 2000 miler if you don't start by repeating that section. If you get to Katahdin and you're still healthy and motivated, you can go back to Hot Springs and head south as a flip-flopper. By going in the opposite direction on that section you'll also get a different perspective compared to hiking it northbound again.

colorado_rob
10-26-2017, 13:55
I suggest starting at Hot Springs and doing the rest of the AT. Long trails take a lot out of your body, and you'll increase your chances of becoming a 2000 miler if you don't start by repeating that section. If you get to Katahdin and you're still healthy and motivated, you can go back to Hot Springs and head south as a flip-flopper. By going in the opposite direction on that section you'll also get a different perspective compared to hiking it northbound again.+1 on this, this give you options to be an actual "thru hiker" (after Katahdin flipping back to HS and heading south) if that does indeed turn out to be important.

Coincidently, my wife and I are starting out NOBO from Hot Springs next spring, probably April 2nd (booked travel mon April 1st). No plans on making Katahdin next year, but who knows. I'm repeating the AT for her benefit.

I know a lady who has tried now three times to do a traditional AT thru, starting at Springer all 3 times, making it somewhere into VA all three times then quitting. Now she's trying a 4th time next year. If she had picked up where she left off the first three times she might have now seen the entire AT, but has this thing in her head that it's a "thru hike of nothing". To each his/her own!

Slo-go'en
10-26-2017, 14:17
Good arguments can be made for either way.

Hot Springs start: Depending on exactly when you start, you could be well head of the big hiker bubble. Plus the numbers have already started to thin out. So the amount of traffic will be manageable. The down side is your heading right into a fairly difficult section of trail and the thru hikers who are behind you will be catching up and passing you until you get your trail legs in a few weeks.

Springer start: You have a chance to develop your trail legs and get into the life style before hitting NC/TN where the real fun starts. The down side is you'll be in the thick of the spring bubble and part of the problem.

jjozgrunt
10-26-2017, 14:30
Just go the Australian way of thinking. Any multi day bushwalk is a thru hike for us. I'm starting off from Sams Gap. just south of Erwin where I was injured this year, on the 6th Apr. If I have time I'm going to flip back and SOBO the part I have already done, so I do it all in one season. If not I'll get back to Australia and everyone will know I did the AT in 2 thru hikes. In the end there are no prizes or medals, it's a personal accomplishment only, do it any way you want/can.

Emerson Bigills
10-26-2017, 14:52
I think the information provided already has hit the key points. I had hiked 350 miles of the southern AT over the course of 6 years before setting out on my thru earlier this year. I gave some thought to not repeating what I had done, but quickly decided for me, I wanted to have the thru experience and honestly, the label. I enjoyed the advantages of being familiar with the first few hundred miles on the trail, both the difficulty of sections and which shelters to stay in, and which to avoid. When I got into VA and was in unfamiliar territory, it was a slight confidence hit, but I quickly got over that.

If you don't come up with a clear decision, you can start at HS and if it bugs you after you finish, you live close enough to HS to head there and go south in the same year. To rustle some others' jimmies, I will add that as a thru, I got really tired of upon meeting another hiker on the trail and exchanging the "are you section hiking or thru hiking", most section hikers have to tell you their entire section hiking resume, where they started, where they stopped and why. Honestly, no one cares, let's just exchange pleasantries and get on with our hikes. The point of that comment is that you will likely be compelled to answer the simple question with a long explanation for 5 months. It's your call. Enjoy your hike, it's one heck of an adventure.

Alligator
10-26-2017, 14:57
I'd go with the suggestion to start in Hot Springs. If it still matters to you once you get to Katahdin, head back to Hot Springs and hike to Springer. It doesn't matter where you start from to be a thruhiker.

rocketsocks
10-26-2017, 14:59
When you become just a hiker...all this nonesence goes away, but I like Gators idea.

glenlawson
10-26-2017, 15:21
I like the idea of starting at Hot Springs and continuing north. Then if you've still got gas in the tank, money in the bank, and some time, do the section from Springer to Hot Springs in either direction.

Or if starting in June fits your schedule better, be a SOBO and start at Katahdin and head south. When you get to Hot Springs, make the decision to keep going or wear your 2000 miler title proudly.

Good luck on your journey.

Seatbelt
10-26-2017, 16:48
Or if starting in June fits your schedule better, be a SOBO and start at Katahdin and head south. When you get to Hot Springs, make the decision to keep going or wear your 2000 miler title proudly.

Good luck on your journey.

This makes the most sense to me, don't make the decision until you get to HS or close. You'll know by then if it is what you want to do and you won't have to travel to do it.

evyck da fleet
10-26-2017, 17:05
If you finish, you won’t care.

Last Call
10-26-2017, 20:11
I just depends on how important the badge is to you. Many claim a badge without even doing the Approach Trail, which I find utterly confounding.

capehiker
10-26-2017, 20:15
I just depends on how important the badge is to you. Many claim a badge without even doing the Approach Trail, which I find utterly confounding.

The appaorach trail is not part of the AT. Why is that confounding?

Last Call
10-26-2017, 20:28
The appaorach trail is not part of the AT. Why is that confounding?

For all intents and purposes, it is the beginning of the Southern terminus of the A.T, why, even the very first A.T. shelter is right behind the visitor center, Max Epperson shelter..... even the ranger at Amicalola told me it was the starting point.

gracebowen
10-26-2017, 20:29
I too vote start where you left off. Then if you want you can flip to do the whole trail in a calendar trail.

jjozgrunt
10-26-2017, 20:48
For all intents and purposes, it is the beginning of the Southern terminus of the A.T, why, even the very first A.T. shelter is right behind the visitor center, Max Epperson shelter..... even the ranger at Amicalola told me it was the starting point.

Rangers can say what they like, if you start at Springer Mt, the southern terminus and finish at Katahdin Mountain, the northern terminus, you have walked the Appalachian Trail. All the other trails including the approach trail, a blue blazed trail, don't count, do or don't do at your whim.

Malto
10-26-2017, 21:51
Easy answer. Go SoBo. When you hit hot springs then decide if you want to be an AT completer or a thru hiker. I wouldn't stress either way.

GoldenBear
10-27-2017, 00:16
You clearly feel the need to be a thru-hiker -- as defined by the ATC -- and not "just" somebody who did the entire AT in two, completely separate journeys.

My simple question is, "Why? What difference does it make?"

Other than yourself, who's going to really CARE if you do the latter but not the former? Your friends? Your family? A bunch of strangers on the Internet?

My friends & family are almost in awe that I've completed 1450 miles of The Trail, despite my taking about twelve years to do so. NOBODY has said, "Doing it in small section hikes? You must be an inferior backpacker!"
I have no doubt but that SOMEBODY, SOMEWHERE will communicate -- perhaps implicitly, perhaps explicitly -- the idea, "I'm a thru-hiker, and that makes my experience -- or even myself -- superior."
If you actually meet such a person, feel free to feel superior to her or him. After all, you're not a putz who cares about that fact.

capehiker
10-27-2017, 09:27
For all intents and purposes, it is the beginning of the Southern terminus of the A.T, why, even the very first A.T. shelter is right behind the visitor center, Max Epperson shelter..... even the ranger at Amicalola told me it was the starting point.

People can say whatever they want but it doesnít make it true. Amicalola is not the starting point of the AT, Max Epperson shelter is NOT the first shelter on the AT, and for all intents and purposes, Springer Mountain is the start of the southern terminus....because thatís where the southern terminus begins. One does not have to start at Amicalola to get on the AT.

Please donít perpetuate this idea that one has to hike the approach trail in order to be a Thru hiker. Thatís opinion, not fact.

Bronk
10-27-2017, 17:14
If it were me I'd probably start in Hot Springs...though it might be tempting to start at Fontana Dam and begin the hike with the Smokies and Max Patch. But I personally wouldn't worry about whether my hike was a thru hike or a section hike. The beginning and the end are really pretty arbitrary anyway. Its your journey, you decide where to begin and where to end.

Emerson Bigills
10-27-2017, 22:10
Not to beat a dead horse, but Springer Mtn is the southern terminus and Baxter Peak is the northern terminus. Lots of things about the AT are subject to debate and opinion, but this one is not in question.

Ethesis
10-27-2017, 22:36
I suggest starting at Hot Springs and doing the rest of the AT. Long trails take a lot out of your body, and you'll increase your chances of becoming a 2000 miler if you don't start by repeating that section. If you get to Katahdin and you're still healthy and motivated, you can go back to Hot Springs and head south as a flip-flopper. By going in the opposite direction on that section you'll also get a different perspective compared to hiking it northbound again.


Excellent advice.

RockDoc
10-27-2017, 23:27
Do what you want. IF you are going hiking to try to impress other people by attaining some arbitrary "standard" or rule or title, you will be sadly disappointed because others really don't care.

Alligator
10-27-2017, 23:34
Since we covered most of the options, were you attempting a thruhike previously? Care to share why you left the trail if you were?

Mulungu
10-29-2017, 15:32
My perspective:
we have walked springer mountain to harpers ferry in 2013 and Delewarewater gap to Monson in 2015. Both sections were fun and we enjoyed every minute. But for us we need the accomplishment of the springer to Kathadin in one year to be able to say we thru hiked the AT. We start on again on the 4 April 2018 for our thru hike. Perhaps then we can start dreaming of walking the other trials.

Singto
02-02-2018, 04:25
According to the ATC, a thru hike is completing the trail in one calendar year. If that is important to you, youíll need to start at Springer again and head north (or vice versa). If completing the trail is the driving factor, start at Hot Springs and head north. You would be a section hiker or LASHíer (long a** section hiker) and at the end of your hike you would be a 2000 miler. Interestingly, the ATC does not distinguish between a thru hiker and a section hiker who completes the entire trail. They are both 2,000 milers to the conservancy.

Aside from that, Iím unsure of why you would be at a loss of what to do? Are you more concerned about the title or completing the trail?

Not true, the ATC considers a thru hike completed within a 12 month period, not calendar year. From their site:

How does the ATC define thru-hiking? We define a thru-hike as a hike of the entire A.T. in 12 months or less.

blw2
02-02-2018, 09:33
Not to beat a dead horse, but Springer Mtn is the southern terminus and Baxter Peak is the northern terminus. Lots of things about the AT are subject to debate and opinion, but this one is not in question.

true enough.
I would only debate that whoever it was that established these points, IMHO, was an idiot. A trail can't start where a person can't get to it. The end of a trail should be AT a trailhead, in my opinion..... and of course, it doesn't matter.