View Full Version : Hiking the Trial as a teen

01-23-2008, 23:21
I'm 16 years old and have every intention of doing a thru-hike. I really got involved in hiking through a wilderness program at my school, and I've been addicted ever since. I'm kind of confused where to start with the whole thing though. I know I'm going to; I just don't know when. I was hoping before college but that doesn't look likely. I had a few questions. Is it better to hiking with a partner(s) or solo? About how much saving up will this take, because its not something my parents will help me with? Is it better to go Northbound or South? My mom is really worried about me doing this because she says its just dangerous, and why it does have its dangers i know its something so personal and indescriable and thats what i try telling her everytime i come home for a few week long trip. And lastly I was just wondering if you have any advice or anything that could help me with this. Thanks so much!

01-23-2008, 23:34
Look up Kirby here at WhiteBlaze. He will be thru-hiking the AT this year and is in high school. He will have plenty of input for you both now (he's done copious research and prep) and after he has finished his hike.
Oh. . . and :welcome:welcome

Old Hillwalker
01-24-2008, 12:39
Definately look up Kirby. I have met, talked with, and done trail work with this young man and he is exactly who you should be talking to about this. :welcome

01-24-2008, 14:35
Wow, fantastic that you want to do this! And you are planning, which is a great first step.

I'm not sure if you have other hikers in the family, but my son (then 16) did the AT with me last year. Quite an experience.

Money and time are big factors, of course. It will take saving up, etc., but if you might be doing it after college, hopefully that will give you a few years to put away money (will cost probably about $4000 or so for a thru hike, not including gear) and collect gear as you go. I did this, put money away and collected gear over a span of several years. Also there were two of us as well.

Most hikers go NOBO due to weather, time etc. You can start in March and finish in Sept. But others have gone successfully SOBO starting in June and finishing late Nov early Dec. I find that the harder route, to be honest, and I applaud those that go that way. They must climb Katahdin (no picnic if you are starting out) and hike really rough terrain early in Maine and NH, and cope with black fly season.
Again, it depends on your time schedule and what works for you.

Go for it!!

01-24-2008, 14:45
Welcome RaeRae. You've asked lots of questions, that are great ones but also which have been talked about and addressed a bunch on this site. I'd strongly suggest starting with the articles section, and maybe branching out from there to whatever posts or forums look like they'd have good information for you or might answer specific things you're wondering about, after you've done your basic "homework".

Also, some of your questions, like whether it's better to go NOBO or SOBO, or whether it's better to go with a partner or solo, are really more matters of opinion rather than having a hard & fast answer. Being that there are good answers to these questions that go either way, you will get as many opinions as there are hikers. But none of them will specifically answer your question for you, because nobody here knows you as you know yourself.

If I were to consider the question, for instance, of whether you should hike with a partner, I'd ask things like this: what potential partners are out there? Am I a sociable person who likes company and chatting during the day, or am I more of a loner? Have I hiked alone before and liked it? Should I try a solo trip for a few days and see how that goes? Is there something specific I'm worried about that I think having a partner might help with? Are there other ways to address those issues that don't entail having a partner?

This is just an example of how you might analyze some of your questions, as they apply to you specifically. Of course, since you are already an experienced hiker, you probably also have a fairly good idea of what you want and how to get ready, anyhow.

Have a great time planning and a great time on the trail!

Jane in CT

01-24-2008, 17:44
Will gladly help in anyway I can to help you lay the groundwork for your trip.


01-25-2008, 00:51
Welcome RaeraeAT, it is great that you have discovered hiking and backpacking and plan to hike the AT. I can appreciate how your parents feel as I worry about my children also even though they are 18 and 22. My son and I are starting our hike SOBO in June and I will have to drop out after about six weeks to go back to work and he plans to thru hike. I will worry about him until he is home even though he is a big man capable of taking care of himself and has been camping since he was about 3 years old. It is what parents do. We canít help it but we have to let go. What I would suggest is to get them involved in some weekend hikes and camping trips so they will have some appreciation as to why you enjoy it so much. Try to involve them in your planning so that you can ask them for suggestions and advice. If they feel they are taking part in your trip maybe they will understand it better and not be so opposed.
Good luck

ramblin rose
03-13-2008, 13:13
hey Rae Rae,
so glad to hear that you are thinking of doing this.
i am 17 and leaving for my hike in 3 weeks!
i used to live right where the AT passed through vermont and new hampshire, and last summer i talked to lots of thru hikers and became completely inspired to do it. Ill be hiking with my best friend (she's 18, also a girl) and we are planning to hike northbound from Springer to Harper's Ferry, which is halfway, 1000 miles. then, we'll see how much money we have, etc. we are planning on doing a low budget hike, try to be frugal and resourceful and stretch our dollars as far as possible, because they are in very limited supply. definitely Whiteblaze is the place to start. Whiteblazing has become my obsession, reading and re-reading the articles, and pages upon pages of forums, etc. Just reading what everyone has to say about various questions and issues, and ideas. also google around, check out the atc website, etc... me and my friend Trio are also dealing with freaked out parents (and worried grandparents) but you'll be able to find articles online about safety and such. This is another great site: http://www.appalachiantrail.org/site/c.jkLXJ8MQKtH/b.786999/k.548/ThruHiking.htm
the appalachian trail conservancy has a lot of answers to questions and advice and such.
anyways, best of luck to you,
if you'd like to be in touch, email me at zemoratevah@hotmail.com
take care!