View Full Version : Time constraints

01-02-2007, 21:42
My daughter is planning to hike the AT between high school and college. She is willing to take a semester or even a year of to do so. The problem is that high school lets out in late May and thats a little late to start NOBO. Also, she looks forward to the social aspect of the trail, and I'm afraid starting from Springer in late May might be a lonely place to be. There is just no way she can start in Mid March/Early April when everyone else does. I suggested that she pick a point to hop on the trail in May so she can hike with whats left of the crowd and then she can go back and finish the southern part she misses after she reaches Katahdin. The issues she has with this idea is that the others would have formed a bond by that point and that she'd be a 'newbie' thrown in their midst and may not be accepted. Then at Katahdin, she'd know she has another month or so to hike before she could truly celebrate. I'm sure she's not the first to have this delemia. How do people usually deal with this situation?

Jack Tarlin
01-02-2007, 21:58
One possibility....

She could start in Virginia (say Damascus) in late May; she'd have plenty of company and being "newbie" won't be a factor; within a week or less she'll meet all sorts of great folks who could care less that she didn't start at Springer. She could then proceed North to Katahdin with the Northbounders, finish in mid or late September, and then finish up the remaining stretch. (Of course, by then there'll be Southbounders down South, so she'll have company for the end of her trip as well). In terms of timing, it takes most folks around 40 days to cover the distance between Springer and Damascus, tho she'll be in great shape by the time she hits this section, so it'll probably take her a bit less time, more like 32 to 35 days or so.

01-02-2007, 21:59
How do people usually deal with this situation?

They walk SOBO. Have her correspond with RITBlake or UCONNMIKE - both young members here on Whiteblaze. The planed to go SOBO, then switched to NOBO, then switched again to SOBO. There seemed to be some disappointment initially, but they had a great hike.

Best of luck to her!

01-02-2007, 22:01
How about a SoBo in May..??..

01-02-2007, 22:19
She doesn't want to southbound really, for no real reason. Jack, I like your suggestion. I think that is probably what she'll end up doing. Thank you!

Jim Adams
01-02-2007, 22:42
as Jack said,
finish nobo on Katahdin and finish sobo on Springer? sounds like the ultimate best of both worlds!

01-02-2007, 23:06
I think your daughter is right and she will feel different having not hiked the same as the others.
I suggest a SOBO also but May is too early. I'd wait until later, perhaps mid june and there will be SOBOers. They tend to have a better commeraderi (sp? ) and are very proud to be SOBOers. NOBOers tend to get too crowded and don't even say hi to each other on the trail sometimes.

01-03-2007, 09:40
Well, it just got worse. I looked on her school schedule for next year and the last day of classes will be June 5th! The latest ever! So with that said, I am leaning more towards her doing a southbound hike. I just don't see how she could do a nobo without some major flip flopping or skipping a large section.

01-03-2007, 09:42
Well, it just got worse. I looked on her school schedule for next year and the last day of classes will be June 5th!

June is just about right for a SOBO start from Katahdin...

01-03-2007, 09:53
Is there anyway that she can work with the school to be released at a earlier date? Or is it that she wants to participate in graduation. My kids weren't so keen on attending the ceremonies.

01-03-2007, 12:07
"I am leaning more towards her doing a southbound hike. I just don't see how she could do a nobo without some major flip flopping..."

Not to be offensive, but there is a lot of "I" in that statement. Shouldn't this be her decision. If she is graduating high school, the other option is to take 8 months off and start in march/april of next year. If she doesn't know exactly what she wants to do in college taking time off is great. I hold two bachelor degree's now and am definately not any further along because I went strait from high school to college. She can always start college in Jan too. So far, I've seen that colleges are pretty good at letting you extend your date of starting school.
OR I could be completely wrong...
PS... Jumping into the middle of the pack is not a problem. People socialize with who is around them regardless of how long they have been out there.

The Snowman
01-03-2007, 17:27
Easy , hike south bound .

Earl Grey
01-03-2007, 18:33
I will be starting in mid May and the atc website says to start at Harpers Ferry and go north. Reason being is because thats too early to start south at Katahdin but too late to start at Springer. You hike to Katahdin then come back to Harpers Ferry and go south.

Grandma Dixie
01-03-2007, 19:15
I'm doing a hike between high school and college as well. Stating in the beginning of march and I'm just graduating early. Not too hard really, just had to double up on some required courses, In fact, I only have 11 days of classes left. :^P What a nice feeling(The requirements will probably be different in different states though, I live in NY) I would suggest starting where most of the hikers will be in june, she'll still end up doing 1/2 - 2/3 of the trail, which is still a heck of a lot of walking, and she'll get the AT experience and camraderie. I'll make sure to accept her :^P

Jack Tarlin
01-03-2007, 19:33
Regarding your post # 8 above, where you said "It just got worse."

Nope. It just got better.

She should leave Maine shortly after graduation and do a full-on Southbound hike from Katahdin to Springer. She'll be in great company and will have a wonderful time.

This recent development shouldn't sadden you; instead you should be glad that it uncomplicates things. She might not end up doing what she originaly planned but she WILL be able to have a complete, uninterrupted end-to-end thru-hike, which is what most people want.

And she'll be home for Christmas!

Let us know what happens.

01-03-2007, 19:37
Turkey Bacon- You are right, there are a lot of I's in my statements. The reason is that she is asking me to do the leg work for her trip because A) she doesn't have time, B) she knows I love to do research and the AT is my favorite subject and C) if I make a wrong suggestion for her, she can blame me. That C is only partially true. What she wants me to do is ask you folks who actually know from experience and then she can make an educated decision based on your answers, my research and her gut feelings. But your comments really made me step back and think. This needs to be her hike, and her chance to spread her wings and be independent. She is the one who needs to be on this site asking questions. (I think it was just easier also because I'm already a member and she didn't have to sign up) But really, she needs to do this research and not have me cutting and pasting answers to her email. Thank you TB.

I don't think that graduating early is an option due to the class load she is taking her senior year. She's in an advanced class program (IB World School program) that is very challanging. It's sort of like taking high school and college classes all at once. Trying to graduate early along with finishing her 4000 word essay, taking SAT's and doing college entrance stuff might be to overwhelming and she wants to do the best job she can since she's already put forth so much effort. She also wants to enjoy her AT experience to it's fullest and feel that she finished high school with a job well done and have college to look forward to. She definitely doesn't want to feel rushed.

As for colleges, most say that taking a year off is now looked upon as a good thing if that year was well spent. She wants to hike for 1/2 of the time and work or intern the other 1/2 of the time she has off. I think that might look good on a college application, but I really don't know. January is a feasible option as well if she goes SOBO. Again, something SHE needs to be checking into. :-)

With all your comments, other than the black fly issues, it seems to me southbound would be the obvious choice but I think I'll let her come to that conclusion on her own. Thank you all for your input!

Johnny Swank
01-03-2007, 19:53
I'd highly recommend going SOBO instead of flip-flopping. She'd have the continuity of the entire trail, and one set of folks to hike with. I started in Maine on July 1 and didn't have much problem with the blackflies, but I'd start a couple of weeks earlier if I were to do it again.

FWIW - I think it's great that she's going this route instead of college. Looking back, going right into school was a mistake for me to jump into. I wouldn't worry about getting into a program.

Have your daughter post on here if she has the time, or go to the SOBO forum. I'd be happy to answer any questions as well.