View Full Version : Planning long distance hike N-S, 9/12-12/12

09-01-2007, 08:10
Hi Folks,
I am a 43yo Mom in Maine. My youngest daughter will graduate from HS in 2012 and plans to go to college. That's when I plan to hike. I have only just started dreaming about how I will do this. One constant idea has been that I hike in sections, hiking as much of Maine and the northern end as I can within these next 5 years and starting my 2012 hike wherever my farthest northerly point is. I may just have to pick a starting point base on miles and the amount of time I have allowed.
My question (that is my FIRST question:p ) is, how practical is starting a hike in late Aug/early Sept. in New England, finishing in late Dec (maybe even Jan) in Georgia? Does anyone hike in Dec/Jan in GA? I like hiking in the fall with NO BUGS and NO HUMIDITY/HEAT, but I am no extremest.

2ndly, I would like to hook up with a women's support group online...any help in doing that would be much appreciated!

09-01-2007, 08:28
Welcome to WB, Katherine.

Contact Marta (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php?u=4806). I believe she hiked SOBO, last year, and would be an excellent resource. You may want to read her trailjournal, too.

I've seen a number of women's groups mentioned on WB, though I've never paid much attention to them. One is a Yahoo group. I don't know enough about the group to give you an URL; I'm sure others could help you.

There is a women's forum, here at WB. Know that it is visible to the entire WB membership and some guys can't resist posting to it.

Good luck planning your dream. You'll find a great deal of information here along with some friendly folks who are happy to help.

09-01-2007, 08:50
thanks Roland!

09-01-2007, 09:50
Katherine :welcome ,

I have only hiked a little over 150 miles of the trail starting from the South end, so I am a rookie at best. I found this link to be useful to get an idea of temperatures along the trail: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/site/c.jkLXJ8MQKtH/b.1025291/k.72A0/Average_Temperatures.htm
Roo and I hiked in the heat of summer, so I kind of like the idea of a cooler temperature hike.

The link is from the ATC website, and they put in the disclaimer that some of the monitoring stations are not close to the trail. For those situations, to adjust for elevation, the adiabatic lapse rate is about 3 degrees F for each thousand feet you go up. I have seen it listed as 2 degrees in places, but three is what I see in my airplane most times. You would take the temperature listed and subtract three degrees for every thousand feet of elevation. This can make a big difference as the southern part of the trail has 5,000 foot plus mountains.

If you research this, it should give you an idea of the temps you would encounter along the way. Plus, the folks here are a wealth of information.

Is there any chance your daughter would join you for part of the summer? That would be some great bonding time before college/career.

Good luck.

Mr. Clean
09-01-2007, 14:25
I hope to start doing sections that same year as my youngest will be six yrs old, and my oldest 9 yrs old.
Early Sept. to start southbound may be cutting it close. You may be fine through the Presidentials, but then again you may have to skip them because of early snow. It may also be kinda lonely. Why not try to start earlier with your daughter? She could do all of it or sections with you until school.

09-01-2007, 14:56
I wouldn't recommend hiking in nc/tn/ga in dec, but I'm sure that there are plenty of folks that do it. The higher elevations have a weather system of their own. I live in the foothills of NC. I can be at 5-6000 feet within 1-2 hours and there can be as much as a 25 degree difference in temps.

You can always start the journey and if weather forces you off, so be it.

09-01-2007, 15:23
Your idea of section hiking for now is a good one. In fact my wife and I are working on a similar plan. A number of years ago we started at Harper's Ferry, West Virginia and have been hiking north as time and life allow. So far we're into southern Vermont and we plan to finish the northern half of the trail by the time I retire, in about 10 years or so. Then we'll do the southern half of the trail as one journey. So just start hiking south whenever you can and then in 2012 you can finish the rest of the trail.

09-04-2007, 09:41
katherine, the woman forums you are looking for is women hikers @yahoo.groups. i need to look up the url.

09-04-2007, 09:54
I live in north atlanta and always use dec time off for the holidays to hike the empty AT in GA.......it gets harsh quick for sure. Have gotten up in the middle of the night to find my whole tent incased in ICE from freezing rain.
Make sure you are prepaired for winter!

The Solemates
09-04-2007, 14:14
It will be cold. Real cold. We started NOBO Feb 1. We had a handful of nights below 0. We have also done a lot of winter hiking in the South along the AT. Would be happy to answer any specific questions.

09-04-2007, 14:42
I hiked the southern end of the trail in October and November last year. Temperatures at night regularly dropped below freezing; quite a few nights were in the low 20s and mid to high teens. I encountered snow and ice in the GSMNP and record lows around Franklin. Daytime highs rarely got above 50. Many days, wind and/or rain made it feel colder. I was told by other hikers that the low temps were unusual. There were some beautiful days, of course. But it was generally a cold hike.