View Full Version : Maps

03-27-2004, 05:35
I just ordered a set of maps of the whole AT. I'm not planning on heading out till next year but I figured I could plan it out with them by marking every 15 miles as day 1, day 2 and so on. I think this might give me a type of schedule to work with. Is this a pretty good idea, and do most of the thru hikers here take maps with them? I always have a map with me when I'm hiking anywhere even if the trails are well marked. That's another one of my questions too.

Oh yeah, since I've been here I've started allot of new threads with questions. I hope that's cool and not taking up to much room on the server. I search back a little, but I find it easier to ask a question that hasn't recently been asked, and get some responses. Thanks everyone for all the help. And if someone thinks I need to look for a related thread, and add on to it, just let me know here. I'm still new at this but I'll be here allot over the next 10 1/5 months. Thanks again to everyone that's been so helpful so far!!!!

03-27-2004, 09:03
It's good to take maps with you. In fact, it should be a no brainer.

But, as far as planning goes, I'd suggest that you use the AT Data Book and the ALDHA Companion.

While you may plan to average 15 miles per day, which is a good figure, your daily mileage will probably vary from zero, or nero, to more than 25. There are many good reasons for this, some of which can not be planned ahead of time, like the weather. Some days you feel like doing the big miles, and on other days, you feel like just hanging out.

So, get the Data Book, and the Companion or Wingfoot, and make a base line schedule, based on what ever assumptions you think are right for your hike, such as 15 miles per day average. That will give you a good indication of where you plan to be when. And it will give you a good indication of where you want to resupply, and the number of days between resupply.

By the way, if you are not heading out until next year, why not cancel the order now and buy them on sale in December?

03-27-2004, 09:04
The AT is well traveled and well blazed. Many hikers find that they do not even need/use the maps. That said, I always recommend that prospective thruhikers begin hiking with the first set of maps so they can judge for themselves if they are "needed" or not. In 2000, I carried maps with me the entire way. I rarely used them and never got irrevocably lost. I did miss two turns in the trail (one off of a road in NY/CT, and one at an unmarked junction in the Whites), but nothing that I couldn't have handled without the maps. Perhaps the most commonly useful function of the maps are the elevation profiles that they provide. With them, you will be able to better judge if you are up to another few miles that day. Obviously, if it is straight up, you may want to wait and tackle it tommorow. If it doesn't look so bad, however...that is the advantage of the maps.

For planning a rought schedule ahead of time (yes, many hikers do this), I'd get a copy of the Thru-hiker's Handbook, or both the AT Databook and Companion (The Companion, btw, is available online for free at the aldha website). The Handbook will provide the trail and town information, while the databook will only provide trail info, and the Companion only town info. The maps are updated infrequently, while these guides are updated annually. Shelters, campsites, water, town services, road crossings, etc that are important to planning (if you're going to plan, it should at least reflect the most current info about the trail), are better found in these guides (not the guides that may or may not come with the maps...they are waaaay outdated for the most part as well).

I, too, planned out my itenerary beforehand. And while I never looked at my itenerary while on the trail (although I did have a rough schedule of where my maildrops would be and when), I ended up at Katahdin only about 5 days after I had planned to be there originally. That's pretty rare though, when it comes to schedules made up before hand. Realize that your plans now are only to familiarize yourself with the trail, and to figure out where you may or may not want to resupply. I created a resupply list on my website (www.newsushi.net), and Baltimore Jack has posted one here. Both are fairly comprehensive and contain valuable information.

Regarding questions...I think that is what a forum is all about. While there are perhaps some questions that are asked with such frequency that they generate only canned responses or the snide "USE THE SEARCH FUNCTION YOU IDIOT" responses that are unduly innoppropriate, I think that questions asked by different individuals in different ways elicit new and thought-provoking conversation that help us all to understand better the topic at hand.

Frequenters of forums (and not just this one, any forum) often forget that they too were once new to the topic and asked the same questions. Having branched out in my online discussion genres, I know how it can be to find a topic related to the one you want to ask about, only it's not quite right. Please continue to ask any questions that come to mind, and keep the discussions alive!

Happy planning!


03-27-2004, 11:22
Here's a line chart showing actual mileages for four past northbound AT thru-hikers. It also shows my planned mileage prior to the start of my AT thru-hike in Year 2000 for comparison purposes:


There's more information about planning AT mileages in my AT Thru-hiking Tips:


Note that your AT schedule will mostly be out the window once you start on the Appalachian Trail -- lots of reasons -- exampes: more or less zero days than planned, weather (good weather and bad weather), unexpectedly enjoying the company of another hiker who isn't hiking like your plan shows.

But, planning an AT hike does get you familiar with what is along the Trail and builds excitement as the starting day approaches.