View Full Version : considering a sobo

02-09-2008, 10:43
My father and I were on planning on starting our thruhike during the first week in April and hiking nobo. However, being that neither of us are really out there for the social aspect and during my hike last year (GA-VA, NJ-NH) I found the amount of people on the trail down south to be a bit overwhelming at times, I am now considering starting in June and doing a sobo. My biggest concern about this (not to mention having to wait two more months longer!) is the terrain in the north. I feel pretty confident I could handle it, as it was hard for me in the south when I starting off, but by the time I was up in Vermont it was almost easy (avg 15m/day). However , I have never hiked more than a few miles in NH and never in ME and I know what I've heard about those states being the most difficult on the trail, and my father is a beginning backpacker. He is in good shape (has done a lot of running and karate, walking short distances and carrying gear for hunting), but I don't know if it is a good idea to throw him onto the trail in the 100mile wilderness and then the whites shorty after. For those of you who have hiked this section or done sobo's, what are your thoughts?
Oh, another appealing factor is being able to take as much time as I want hiking sobo (no closing of Katahdin to worry about)
thanks folks!

02-09-2008, 10:50
If you're father keeps in the shape you say, you'll both enjoy your SOBO. You don't have to be an 'avid' or 'experienced' hiker to hike SOBO. And the 100 mile wilderness is relatively tame.
By the time you get to the more challenging southern AT section in Maine, you'll likely have worked out your pace. Enjoy, go SOBO - you and your father will both love it.:sun

02-09-2008, 10:52
Oddly, the 100-mile isn't difficult terrain. A few stream crossings and bogs but nothing much for verticals. Lots of beautiful walks along lake shores. Most hikers make good time thru the 100-mile.

Heading sobo, the really gnarly stuff starts with the Bigelows (a day's hike south of Caratunk) and then more or less continues non-stop till, oh... Hanover NH.

Lone Wolf
02-09-2008, 10:57
I say do it! Bring plenty of bug repellent and head nets.

Sherpa '03
02-09-2008, 11:45
I guesss I feel the need to comment...I live in the coastal area of Maine, and was actually born in the "MAGIC CITY" a/k/a Millinocket. ON several ocassions I've found my self in the 100 Mile Wilderness in BUG season -- its pure hell!
Depending on spring moisture, any time from Memorial Day -- July 1, can be absolutely miserable in 'dem woods! I worked a week-end with the ME. Trail Crew a couple of years ago in MId-June in the Rainbow Stream area. Bugs and heat and humidity -- it was grueling! :eek: I've also been invited to fish and stay at Webber Oil's Camps on Rainbow Lake several times and have met many Thru's starting out during this time....AND they where in pain! The heat, wet trail (don't under estimate how swampy it is in this area), "no-see um'' BLACK FLIES, MOSQUITOS -- WELL YOU GET MY POINT! YOUR IN THE JUNGLE! Now, the later the summer gets, as the trail dries out, the area turns into a magical world -- especially as the leaves start to turn! I started an unsuccessful Thru in 2000 going south in 2000. My son and I couldn't start until mid-August. But the weather was absolutely grand. (I had a kidney stone attack after crossing the Kennebec and needed an operartion..eventually leaving the trail at Killington).. IN 2003, hiking north, I was amazed at how few BUGS we incountered compared to my Spring life in Maine. It was a whole different experience! I would Never consider a SOBO until the trail dries out AND kills off some of the swarms of creatures! Early to mid-JULY would make sence to me, as any later, light, or lack of, becomes a real issue as your hike continues! Good Luck, If I can be of any help E-mail me. I'm always looking for an excuse to head to Katahdin and we could assist you and you Dad! :sun

hammock engineer
02-09-2008, 22:50
I started on July 13th and hardly saw any blackflies. The mosquitos were out in force. I didn't use DEET too much after Monson. Other than a random horent, I don't remember any bug issues after northern NH.

In terms of crowds other than on weekends and the northbounders I think I only met around 20 southbounders. I don't get what everyone is saying about crowds on the AT. I didn't see it.

02-10-2008, 21:49
If your father is in any sort of decent shape, he'll do fine. I survived, and I wasn't in great shape to start with. Good luck!