View Full Version : jan-feb V.S mar-apr start dates

10-09-2006, 14:22
anybody out the do a thru hike in jan or feb? anybody do both jan feb start and a mar apr start? positives,negatives?too hard to go in jan?

10-09-2006, 15:53
Are you sure you want to start that early? Do you really need to start that early or do you want to for some particular reason? Those early hikes often result in slow initial progress that translates into increased expense.

max patch
10-09-2006, 16:06
Start April 15 ish and hike with Spring and finish in Maine in the Fall.

Start January in the cold rain in Georgia, hit the GSMNP and catch snow at elevation and finish in Maine during the Summer and miss the Fall colors.

Choice is yours.

SGT Rock
10-10-2006, 01:20
Also, even though the start of the AT is in the south, it is at elevation. The earlier you start, the greater chance you take of getting bad weather at altitude and having to take days off at the start of your hike if you want to avoid it. We do get some nasty stuff up in the Smokies occasionally as late as March.

10-10-2006, 13:53
January will be cold and wet, and the weather will be challenging, but personally I'm starting on the first so I can finish before my wedding. It's possible, but your pack will weigh more. On the positive side the view of places like the smokies with snow on a clear day can't be beat.

The Solemates
10-10-2006, 16:12
we started Feb 1st. Shoot away with questions...

10-10-2006, 17:04
The Smokies can be great in Jan. We hiked it in 2002 SOBO'd the Smokies in Jan and saw no other hikers, great views, good weather. It was my best trip thru the smokies out of 5. It depends on what weather you get. I drove friends down to GA one year in Feb. and it was 70 degrees the day they started. But they had a tough trip through the Smokies that year and ended up staying in a motel in pigeon forge and spending a lot of their money. YOu never know what you are going to get at that time of year. But it can be good. have fun

10-20-2006, 20:54
I was thinking of leaving in January or February, but I'm leaning towards hiking the Alabama Pinhoti from 2 to 6 times, depending how much time I have. I could drive to Piedmont, and hike to Sylacauga and back in 2 weeks - 3 if I really take my time.

The elevation is lower, the climate is milder, and it was supposed to be the beginning of the AT anyway. I've already hiked it a couple times, and it's every bit as nice as the AT.

I dunno. I'm not making any concrete plans yet, but I don't like the Florida Trail much, so what other options are there for a winter hike with a 35 degree bag?


10-20-2006, 23:08
I am working on a plan to start early in January but can only go 30 to 45 days at a time. I have several medical follow-up exams that will force me to do my hike in segments. 30 to 45 days on and a couple weeks off etc till I get to Maine.

I did the GA Loop a couple of weeks ago and I hope to make 2007 my AT Thru-Hike year.

10-25-2006, 19:28
early start, get to walk with me, late start,...miss me.

11-02-2006, 17:57
we're starting in late feb, bring on the snow and cold:banana

11-02-2006, 18:58
I've moved my date up due to timing issues ... I'll be joining the ranks on Feb. 20th.

Jim Adams
11-02-2006, 19:27
I hate heat (that little old fat man thing go'in on). I do more backpacking in the winter than summer. Anyone out there have much info about possible winter thru hikes?

johnny quest
11-02-2006, 19:40
dirtnap, that is an interesting idea, to start in jan or feb, from near birmingham. i like it. have you figured logistics?

Spirit Walker
11-03-2006, 11:35
Another consideration for early starters - daylight. Those nights can get very long when it's dark from 5:30 pm to 7:30 a.m.

Winter hiking has better views through the trees, but no green, and no flowers. I really enjoyed the flowers along the AT.

johnny quest
11-03-2006, 12:02
thats a great point ginny. plus it would put me back where i didnt want to be. i dont want to be in the "crowd" leaving springer in the spring.

11-08-2006, 00:34
Hi G.H.O.S.T My Name Is Jeff I plan on starting on Jan 18 2007
I want to be able to take my time Plus i like the cold over the heat anyway plus you away get warm if you are carry the right type of cloths don't know if i spell that right. I look at this way you can alway get warm but you can alway get cool. Well hope to see you on the trail good luck to all the class of 2007 Only 71 Days left YEA!!!!!!!!!!!:banana

11-09-2006, 03:46
It's not only the cold that makes early starts more challenging. Ice on the trail can be pretty tough sometimes. I took some pretty hard falls coming down off Clingman's Dome with snow packed trails. And that was early March.

Of course it was exceptionally cold and snowy in '05, but it was sure nice to finally see green grass near Damascus. I guess there are pro's and con's to both early and later starts. But if you are like me, trail fever will have you thinking of early rather than later.

Good luck on whenever you start.

11-09-2006, 07:46
anybody out the do a thru hike in jan or feb? anybody do both jan feb start and a mar apr start? positives,negatives?too hard to go in jan?

Most thru-hikers...(the main pack) start in March or April....
the average time for a thru-hike is 6months....start when its convenient for YOU!

not only that.....JAN in Georgia, NC & TN...is soooooooooooo DAMN COLD!

good luck w/ yer hike!:D

11-09-2006, 08:42
anybody out the do a thru hike in jan or feb? anybody do both jan feb start and a mar apr start? positives,negatives?too hard to go in jan?

I can't imagine a january start date. When I start a hike I'm usually not trail broken for about a week or so, and that makes the hike that much tougher. Throw in a january start date, and you've got a recipe for giving up.

11-09-2006, 13:41
I'm planning on starting Jan 1st if I can finishing raising the necessary funds in time. If not, I won't be starting any later than Feb 1st. I love winter, and prefer snow to rain (of course I'm expecting tons of both).

The fall colors in Maine are pretty spectacular, but since I live up here missing it won't be a problem.

One thing about starting early: the bugs in maine are pretty nasty in June. Bring lots of deet, and bandanas to spray it on (never spray it on your skin). Also, black flies are attracted to black, so light clothing will minimize the problem.

Starting in Jan with a thirty-five degree bag? I hope you're taking a warm tent and you know what you're doing. I'm looking at getting a 0-15 degree bag. I have a -20, but It's a little too warm and way to heavy for a thru.

11-09-2006, 13:51
I will be starting at the NC/GA border jan1st and heading north for a week, sorry i'm just a long section hiker. going to fontana dam

warren doyle
11-10-2006, 14:11
Four-month thru-hike: (May-August)

*start May 1st - no snow; a few cold days; shade by mid-to-late May in higher elevations; Damascus/Mt. Rogers/Grayson Highlands around Memorial Day weekend.
June - still not as hot/humid in Virginia in early June; heat/humidity from central VA to the Susquehanna River.
July - heat/humidity/insects from the Susquehanna River to Rt. 4 in Vermont near Rutland. July 4th weekend near Port Clinton, PA.
August - heat/humidity/insects for the first week (Rt. 4 to Glencliff, NH); not that cold in the Whites/Mahoosucs/mountains in western Maine; nice water temperature for swimming.
September - finish Labor Day weekend.

Five-month thru-hike (April-August)

**start April 1st - some chance of snow in higher elevations but melting fast; very little shade in the forest
go to *

Six-month thru-hike (April-September)
see **
September - nice water temperature for swimming in the first half of the month; second half of the month has some chance of snow/icing in higher elevations but melting fast; colder mornings; some trees changing colors depending on elevation.
finish September 30th

Individuals who attend the Appalachian Trail Institute (for more info on the ATI see website below) get a personalized general schedule (itinerary) to help them meet their thru-hiking goal/dream.

Happy trails!

Warren Doyle (educator; 30,000-miler)

11-10-2006, 14:55
Very nice Warren.

11-11-2006, 00:48
Starting in mid to late April means you won't need serious winter equipment. But it means you can't linger in favorite places, or take big breaks. You have to keep moving unless you are some kind of hiking machine like Pro from Dover was in 2006. Seriously, this guy could catch up from anything.

11-20-2006, 23:43
In 2005 we got snow in late April. I dont really want to imagine what the cold is like in Jan or Feb. However in July you will be wishing you had the snow back. Its give and take, ill be hitting the trail in march though.