View Full Version : SOBO vs NOBO

05-28-2003, 21:00
I might not be making the spring dates...I might have to start in late may! I have been advised to do a southbound hike. Personally the company will be ok but, I am going to spend 6 months of my like in the beautiful elements come rain or shine! Shin splint or crack rash! I would like to hear the good an bad aspects of hiking southbound vs northbound LATE.

For instance what gear should I have for starting in the freezing cold that I might send home later? What problems should I account for ahead of time starting north. I am a first timer on the AT. I have waited 4 years for this an i am ready to start planning my 2004 hike! :banana

05-29-2003, 07:26
The main problem with starting a NOBO hike in late May at Springer is that Katahdin will probably be closed by the time you get there. But, that's no problem really if you leap frog a section, then go back and get it later. Plus you will be going through the southern and mid Atlantic states during the heat of the summer

One problem with starting as SOBO hike in late May is that streams in Maine are still high and cold from the spring runoff. Also, it's prime bug season. July 1 is a better start date for a SOBO hike.

Another problem is that some hostels, especially down south are seasonal, and may be closed when you get there if you have a late NOBO start, or go SOBO.

My advise would be to start at Harper's Ferry and go north from there. You will be among the first of the year's thru-hikers with 1000 miles of stories and adventure under their belts. After doing the northern half, flip back and do the southern section.

Blue Jay
05-29-2003, 08:20
What I would do in your situation is start at Springer. The conditions in GA to the Smokies are ideal then. Good temps, empty trail except for blooming Rhodadendron, Azalia and Mountain Laurel. Hike until early/mid July then flip at an easy transportation site to go SOBO from the Big K. You'll never hit crowds and possibly avoid really harsh conditions.

05-29-2003, 16:35
hmmm very interesting...

05-30-2003, 00:53
I did what Blue Jay suggested, and as he said I avoided the crowds and enjoyed good weather. I flip flopped at Damascus which many hikers considered unusual, as most wait until reaching Harpers Ferry. My reasoning was that I needed something to draw me towards the end, and the mountains of Virginia were very appealing to me.

Doing the exact reverse of my hike is also appealing because you start off at a central location, and work your way out into unfamiliar territory.

Whatever you choose, enjoy your hike!

05-30-2003, 01:12
My only concern is...weather, I would like to get the best of the scenary in both aspects...actually ALL aspects...rain snow heat...ya know? I just want to make sure whatever I do isnt going to put me in cold the whole time? Snow an mus the whole way? I dunno ...anymore advice would be wonderful...I am considering everything an much appreciative of allt he advice...your hike sounds like a good idea. Plus I want my friends an family to be able to meet me, with decent weather,in georgia. It wouldnt be a far drive at all...if I SOBO or flip flop an finish sobo...I read many journals about SOBOing an most finish when it is snowing like crazy in GA. My momther is getting older...dont want her to catch cold...;) j/k

05-30-2003, 10:13
Check out the options listed on ATC's (http://www.appalachiantrail.org/hike/thru_hike/itin.html) web site. Some of them are quite interesting.

I personally like the Cool Breeze option, but it requires 2 flip-flops.

Also check out this (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1799) thread as well. It briefly talks about your options before it goes of topic.

You'll notice in the above thread chris (now on the PCT) talks about his trail family and how flip-flops wrech havoc on your "family".

I've been reading several journals of 2003 NOBO thru's and it seems as though their "families" have all but disintegrated by the time you reach VA. So, don't worry about the "family" comments. I believe that you'll meet up and walk with folks for a few weeks, separate, and then pick-up new folks. Flip-floping can't be any different.