View Full Version : May start?

02-27-2006, 10:20
Is May too late to start a NOBO hike? Most of the people I see are starting in early March or April. I can't start hiking until I graduate, and that's not until May. Of course, its also not for a couple of years. Should I just go SOBO?

The Solemates
02-27-2006, 11:54
Is May too late to start a NOBO hike? Most of the people I see are starting in early March or April. I can't start hiking until I graduate, and that's not until May. Of course, its also not for a couple of years. Should I just go SOBO?

may is not too late to start. in fact, if we were to do the trail again, we would probably start in may or january to beat the crowds.

but then again, you could also go sobo and start anytime from june on.

Trail Yeti
02-27-2006, 11:56
Its not too late...there were people who started from Springer in May and beat me to Katahdin (I started in March)....of course they did HUGE miles...
I'm starting this year in May from Damascus (same situation, gotta wait till after graduation) and flip-flopping.....

02-27-2006, 12:19
If I went NoBo again, I would personally start in May. My first NoBo hike was 5 mos, and that was in worse shape than I in now with more than 3x my current base pack weight. Suspect I could do it in 4 mos now.

The advantages of a May start:

1) Less people
2) Spring flowers in the south.
3) Hitting New England in fall

1) Mid-atlantic would be hot and muggy
2) You'd have to do large mileage days (only a disadvantage if you don't like big mile days and/or can't do them.)

So, is it a late start? Depends upon you. If you are in shape for it and mentally prepared for 20 MPD, go for it. If not, flip flop and/or plan a SoBo hike.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

02-27-2006, 13:27
It really depends on how you want your hike to go.

I started mid-April and I know a May start can definately work, I was getting passed by early May starters all the way to New Hampshire but there will be some time and mileage pressure that can hang over your head and make things kind of unpleasant at times.

If you want more solitude, the late or early start is the way to go, if you are wanting a more social hike, at least for a while, consider some varient of a normal hike, a flip from someplace like Erwin may work out better for you (Start NOBO in Erwin, go to Kathadin, get back to Erwin and SOBO the last part of the trail). Kathadin would still be quite an event after about 1500? miles...

hammock engineer
02-27-2006, 14:00
This is one of the reasons I decided to go SOBO. I am not going to get done with school and enough money saved up until May. I did not want to have the time pressure and have to do big mile days to finish. I want to take my time and enjoy myself. I have the rest of my life to deal with deadlines.

TJ aka Teej
02-27-2006, 14:44
Consider a HF > ME, HF > GA hike. What's that called? An "inside out flip flop"? Or wait til June, and be a MEGA hiker!

02-27-2006, 15:37
My vote would be for a flip from Damascus or do a SOBO starting July 1. I don't like time pressure, as it get obsessed with it, but that's my personality.


02-27-2006, 16:45
I think an early May start from Springer is about ideal. The South will be at its very best and the temps will not be too bad. It will be hot and muggy for most of the rest of the way, as Mags points out, but it will be hot and muggy for long stretches even if you start in March.

I set off from Springer on May 1 in 2002 and had just enough people to keep things entertaining and to get the tribal feeling. But, plenty of solitude. In 2004, I set off from Damascus on May 9 and there were far, far too many people, I though. I could fight this off by hiking in the morning and in the early evening, and enjoy some company during the middle parts of the day.

If you leave on May 1 and want to finish on Oct 15, that gives you 5.5 months, which is a ton of time. You don't have to worry about consistently pushing up high mileage days in order to get to Special K before the weather gets too bad.

02-27-2006, 17:29
Hey all: I doing a flip-flop this year starting in Waynesboro on June 4th. How does this sound to everybody?

Rain Man
02-27-2006, 17:34
In the old days (50s and 60s), plenty of the thru's started in May.



02-27-2006, 17:42
The problem with a May start is that it may leave you short on time for getting to Katahdin before cold weather sets in. It typically takes about 5 1/2 months for a thru-hike. But, there are work arounds.

Rather than start at Springer, you could start further north, and then flip back to complete the southern part. Harpers Ferry and Waynesboro have been suggested. You could also start at Damascus after Trail Days, or somewhere in between. Or you could start at Springer, and see how things go. If it looks tight on getting to Katahdin before mid October, then leap frog ahead. For example, if by Labor Day, you are not past Hanover, you might jump ahead to Hanover and go north from there. Then, go back to Hanover to fill in the gap.