View Full Version : Novis hiker planning SOBO hike 2008

05-28-2008, 08:35
Guys im just curious here, i do not have a lot of experience in hiking long distances but i am considering doing the SOBO hike starting july first. my buddy wants to do it also and i was wondering if anyone had any advice, books tell me that it is hard to hike it with a friend but those are old books that i was reading. with my little experience of hiking do you think i can finish before christmas? or at all

05-28-2008, 09:06
Sorry about the spelling errors I had to type and think fast because I’m at work

05-28-2008, 09:09
There are usually a bunch of guys around your age starting SOBO with little or no experience. A lot quit in the Wilderness; the rest do just fine.

Good luck!

05-28-2008, 09:10
Hopefully you'll receive a lot of advice from SOBOs who have done what you're planning to do. My $.02

Can you finish by Christmas? IMHO, the most important factor is not "hiking experience" per se but how aerobically fit are you? Do you run or cycle or work out on aerobic equipment at a gym? Do you hike uphill i.e. at least 1,000' ascents?After Katahdin, your first few days in the 100 Mile Wilderness are easy by Maine standards but it's not exactly flat.
How mosquito-tolerant are you? You're into prime mosquito season and probably encounter black flies as well.
As anyone will tell you, the first 6 weeks or so will be the most challenging as you hike Maine and the White Mts. After descending Mt. Moosilauke in NH, the most difficult part is behind you. You can practically cruise.
The other obvious factor is diminishing daylight as you approach the winter solstice.As SOBOs will tell you, the rewards are great. Good luck!

05-28-2008, 09:31
Im in pretty good shape, i have been running for years and randomly lift weights, my friend on the other hand hasnt always worked out but he has been hitting it hard lately in prep for the trail. as far as the bugs go, as long as i can keep some mesh around my head i will be fine.

jersey joe
05-28-2008, 09:31
If you have the desire you can certainly make it to GA by Christmas.
Your limitation will likely be mental and not physical. A lot of aspiring thru hikers with little long distance hiking experience come to the realization early in their hike that a thru hike is just not for them. The chances of this happening are double if you begin hiking with a partner. I say go for it though, the worst that happens is you spend a couple weeks in the beautiful Maine wilderness!

05-28-2008, 09:37
if that were to happen and one of us had to drop out for some reason or another, is it possible to do SOBO solo, are the chances of meeting up with people high with such a late start, early july is when i plan to start btw

jersey joe
05-28-2008, 09:42
Absolutely possible to do a SOBO solo. There will be a good number of other people doing the same thing at this time, so you will likely not have a problem befriending other hikers. I would advise that you plan on the possibility of not hiking with your partner, just in case you do split. (i.e. carry two one man tents instead of one two man tent)

05-28-2008, 09:49
have you heard of any people having luck hiking it with a friend, or do most people that hike it with someone do it with a family member or significant other?

05-28-2008, 09:53
There are people who hike with friends. A few hike with family members or SOs. Most people hike solo, and pick up hiking partners when their hiking schedules mesh.

jersey joe
05-28-2008, 10:00
Plenty of people thru hike successfully with a friend.

05-28-2008, 10:17
Can you send me a link or some advice on food to carry or eat, and wheather it is better to try and do mail drops or if it is better to resupply by towns and whatnot? thanks

jersey joe
05-28-2008, 10:27
There are countless opinions on what to eat and how to supply. The best way depends on the hiker. If I were to thru hike again, I would likely use a combination of mail drops and town resupply. For food, the general rule is to maximize your calories while minimizing your weight. Dry foods work out well, things like lipton sides are very popular. If you haven't already, you should check out the articles section on whiteblaze for good information on preparing for your thru hike. http://whiteblaze.net/index.php?page=content

Red Hat
05-28-2008, 12:36
You might want to pm Captain as he is also 23 and hiking on July 1st. We have a nice group heading south on that day.

05-28-2008, 12:43
thanks a lot, that will really help me out knowing that there are other people that are going to be there.

05-28-2008, 14:00
how many people would you say are heading out there on that day and what time do you think they will be hitting the trail and does everyone plan on meeting up and starting together?

05-28-2008, 14:04
Hey beastxc, I plan on leaving late in June from Baxter, so you'll probably pass me up. Being from around the same area of the country as you, the problem I've had is finding good backpacking trails in the area, so I'm kind of a novice, as well. East Fork and Shawnee are the only trails long enough to overnight on, but hiking anywhere in Ohio is ridiculously easy.

I figure that on-the-job training, so to speak, will probably have to suffice if I want it badly enough (which I think I do).

I think I saw where Captain is from Cincinnati, so the three of us could conceivably run into each other in Maine and have pretty good conversations.

Red Hat
05-28-2008, 14:05
Four at my campsite (all ladies) plus at least 8 others I know of. My group will leave Katahdin Stream about 7 am and climb. We'll probably meet some of the others heading down as we head up. We will be camping at Katahdin Stream Campground again that night. You must start up before noon in order to be down by dark.

05-28-2008, 14:17
do all of you plan on doing the whole trail?

05-28-2008, 15:39

Lots of people have successfully hiked the trail with friends. Two suggestions to make it work a little better: 1) talk *in advance* about what you will do if one of you gets hurt or decides to drop out. 2) Pretend you are hiking solo -- that is, carry all your own gear, tent, stove, food, etc. You'll get into a daily hiking rhythm with your partner, and may find that you hike much of the day by yourself, only meeting up for dinner and to camp.

Food: It's easier to resupply in town these days -- more stores, more selection of food -- so many hikers are doing that who might have relied on mail drops in past years. If you have someone at home who can purchase and mail your resupply boxes (your parents come to mind), that's a big help. Frankly, buying *all* your food ahead of time, boxing it up, and having someone mail it out is something to avoid. (You'll get tired of the same food all the time, and you'll be stuck with a huge pile of food if you get injured or drop off the trail.)

There are several great articles linked on the front page of Whiteblaze about resupply, gear, food, etc. Check those out and get back to us with specific questions.

05-28-2008, 15:41
Let me add that starting July 1 gives you almost six full months to finish the trail. That's probably pretty close to the average these days, though SOBO might take a little longer.

05-28-2008, 15:59
You have age on your side. Why not? Go for it.

You will be doing the hardest part of the trail first. But then you can cruise it on in the second half.

Check this journa (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=5159)l from one who did it SOBO last year and finished.

05-28-2008, 20:05
how are the GI problems while you are on the trail, i have a touchy stomach and its a factor that is sorta holding me back from going. i dont want to get a quarter way into it and have to quit because of constipation or chafed ass from the runs too much. has anyone had any GI problems and were you able to overcome them?

hammock engineer
05-29-2008, 09:16
I hiked with a few people that the first night in the wilderness was their first night camping in the woods. They made it all the way. Experience helps, willingness to change helps more.

I met a pure genius last year that made all of her own gear. I say genius because she made brown underwear. Enough said. Everyone has those issues. Body glide works wonders.

I have an iffy stomach at times. What works for me is having a consistant diet. You might want to try getting eating what you would eat on the trail ahead of time. Get your body into it. Hand sanitizer goes a long way to fight off the nasties.

Red Hat
05-29-2008, 15:00
do all of you plan on doing the whole trail?

At least one is a sectioner. I think the other three ladies, including myself, are all planning to thru. The others I don't know other than they have Trail Journals as southbounders, so they are probably planning to thru. Captain is a thru...

05-29-2008, 19:49
I'm a thru! Was a NOBO, but now I'm a SOBO!

05-29-2008, 21:42
Hi Beast,

Here's my 2 cents:
-Averaging 10 to 12 miles a day, you should finish by Christmas, easy. Keep in mind some days you will walk less and some days more. Take the first 3 weeks slow to get acclimated and pick up the pace later when you are in peak form.

-Lot's of people hike solo. If you want to keep people back home apprised of you pace and want a back up system to call for emergency if you need it, check out the spot messenger at http://www.findmespot.com/MediaCenter/SPOTVideoTour.aspx
The key to hiking with a friend who is at a different pace is to agree to meet up at a certain shelter or place down the trail so when you get seperated or if you hike at your own different pace, you will meet up at the end of the day. A lot of times the faster hiker will hike for a while then after an hour or two, take a break and wait for the slower hiker.

-Get a guide book like Appalachian pages for Southbounders (http://www.appalachianpages.com/) and the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Planner to get your started. Also read the book, A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson (http://www.amazon.com/Walk-Woods-Rediscovering-America-Appalachian/dp/0307279464/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1212111418&sr=8-1). I downloaded it to my mp3 player from Audible.com

I'm going around June 24 and may see you there.