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View Full Version : To you, which month is best for hiking the AT???



MintakaCat
05-02-2009, 22:19
If you had to pick a month in which to hike a section of the AT which month would be your first choice? Also which state/section would you pick for that month?

Also, which month is your last choice?

Im kind of wondering what time of year WBs like the most and where they would most likely go. I know the last part of that is most likley driven by where you live, but I'm interested in what people would say.

Lone Wolf
05-02-2009, 22:21
mid october in the south. mid september in the north

bigcranky
05-02-2009, 22:33
In the South I like early November. It's past leaf season, but the weather is very good and the trail is mostly empty. Early March through early June is nice, too.

I really dislike hiking in the hottest part of the summer -- say, early August around here. Ick.

Tinker
05-02-2009, 22:51
I like Maine in late August, for the swimming and the first signs of fall, or Vermont in Sept. for the great foliage.

I can only imagine how bad it could get in the middle states in the heat of summer. June, July and early August are hot enough in New England where I've hiked most.

Georgia was pretty barren and dead when I did it in March of '06. I can imagine why some folks don't make it out of the state when they've planned for a thru. The weather can swing from snowstorms to twisters then, too. We had a tornado watch over Hiawassee when I was there.

Funkmeister
05-02-2009, 23:31
I section hike whenever the thru hikers aren't there. Makes the whole shelter loving/hating threads moot.

Before I 'discovered' WB, I hiked north from Gorham to Rangeley in the thick of SB season. I had only heard rumors of Southbounders. They were mostly freeky, antisocial, weird people best avoided at all costs. During the trip I learned otherwise.

Now someone is gonna tell me there is no such thing as the Easter Bunny.

Anyway, I like to hike offseason. Maybe it's because I'm old, or perhaps I'm the one freeky, antisocial, and weird. But I like to hike alone and cook at shelters alone. Kinda fun.

Pony
05-02-2009, 23:32
May and September.

Tinker
05-03-2009, 00:16
I section hike whenever the thru hikers aren't there. Makes the whole shelter loving/hating threads moot.

Before I 'discovered' WB, I hiked north from Gorham to Rangeley in the thick of SB season. I had only heard rumors of Southbounders. They were mostly freeky, antisocial, weird people best avoided at all costs. During the trip I learned otherwise.

Now someone is gonna tell me there is no such thing as the Easter Bunny.

Anyway, I like to hike offseason. Maybe it's because I'm old, or perhaps I'm the one freeky, antisocial, and weird. But I like to hike alone and cook at shelters alone. Kinda fun.

Living in Rhode Island is enough to make anyone want to hike alone.:D

freefall
05-03-2009, 01:17
Every month has its challenges.

But if you're looking for path of least resistance, I'd have to agree with LW. Might be hard to find water sometimes though.

Furlough
05-03-2009, 07:16
Shenandoah National Park. October and May. About mid October after the leaves are mostly off and the haze in the air has cleared out the views and vistas are at their best and the crowds are gone. In early May just as the trees begin to get their leaves the Dogwoods and Redbuds are in full bloom and a large variety of wild flowers are up and blooming. The crowds have not hit yet and water is flowing fine. Least favorite but still doable, same section (SNP), August - it is hot and dry.

Furlough

Egads
05-03-2009, 07:20
I like Sept thru May, but Oct / Nov are the best.

Engine
05-03-2009, 07:20
Anytime in the fall during peak colors. That could be from mid September to late October depending on location, but the air is fresher and the eyes are treated a bit more.

Nicksaari
05-03-2009, 08:18
autumn in the south. makes me so happy to think about.
scheduled overnighter to St Mary's wilderness canceled due to rain.
blast!

modiyooch
05-03-2009, 09:11
the month depends on the state. I love Maine in August.
I like the hotter months, it means I carry less and I don't care for the cold. I have really messed up with logistics. Typically, I am on the trail by April; but I only have the NE left. I'm waiting until July because of black flies, and snow. I'm miserable, since its in the eighties where I live just 1-2 hours from the highest elevations on the east coast. See you in July.

Bearpaw
05-03-2009, 11:39
May and June are nice in the South. The mountains get you away from the worst of the heat.

October into November in the south would be great if I had time off from school to hike then. Colors and not terribly cold yet.

Nearly Normal
05-03-2009, 12:38
Living so far away from the mountains, I'll take it when I can get it.

bloodmountainman
05-03-2009, 12:50
October and Nov. North Ga. and North Carolina:D

Phoenixdadeadhead
05-03-2009, 13:05
I must be really really weird, because I like June July, and August, it isn't to hot in the Higher elevations, and you are shaded in the lower elev. I also don't get hit with as much rain as I do in my april and may hikes. For shear asthetic appeal you can't beat september october, and november, the leaves are changing and many veiws that are blocked in the summer are wide open and waiting for you. Hmmmmmm looks like I like them all lol.

Nina
05-03-2009, 13:23
Can I ask for some opinions and thoughts about this..
Starting out this spring in the middle somewhere and go north to maine then get back to where I started and go south? that would work well weather wise wouldn't it? and do you think its posible to get all ready in a couple of weeks, I only have a pack and a stove so far. I could put it off ANOTHER year and be more prepared - but thats also risking NOT going at all. Looking for opinions and thoughts of total strangers!? but you hike though!

Egads
05-03-2009, 13:43
Nina, get some weekend section hikes in before jumping into a thru hike

Nina
05-03-2009, 14:05
I know that is what I SHOULD do, but I have been dreaming of a thru-hike for many years. In 2004 I thought I would go 2009, after all the kids graduated. I found myself to be unprepared financially and physically and a few months ago I decieded that I will have to wait till 2010, and make sure that all is in place so that I will have a shot at finnishing. BUT I don't think I will EVER be in a good financial place to do this and I fear that if I don't go now I never will.I mean I missed the leaving georgia timeframe but there may still be hope for this year.

Nina
05-03-2009, 14:09
But even though I've been reading about it and thinking about it for so many years, it would still be like jumping into it. I have conditioned myself with 5-14 mile hikes but not with a pack.

Nina
05-03-2009, 14:11
But I feel MENTALLY prepared...or desparate I'm not sure which

Nearly Normal
05-03-2009, 18:18
Start in Virginia. Hike what you missed in the fall.

modiyooch
05-03-2009, 18:29
Can I ask for some opinions and thoughts about this..
Starting out this spring in the middle somewhere and go north to maine then get back to where I started and go south? that would work well weather wise wouldn't it? and do you think its posible to get all ready in a couple of weeks, I only have a pack and a stove so far. I could put it off ANOTHER year and be more prepared - but thats also risking NOT going at all. Looking for opinions and thoughts of total strangers!? but you hike though!
I would go for it. Just start out slow and readjust at each town. Enjoy. I initially started in SNP carrying a huge, heavy pack, and only getting 6-8 miles a day. Some sobos stopped, took pity, went through my pack, made me mail a bunch of things back in Waynesboror, and taught me how to hike. That was in 1980 and I had limited resources to base my hike. Now, you have a wealth of info from this forum.

Doctari
05-03-2009, 19:25
January / Southern Virginia.

No, seriously!

Phoenixdadeadhead
05-03-2009, 19:37
Can I ask for some opinions and thoughts about this..
Starting out this spring in the middle somewhere and go north to maine then get back to where I started and go south? that would work well weather wise wouldn't it? and do you think its posible to get all ready in a couple of weeks, I only have a pack and a stove so far. I could put it off ANOTHER year and be more prepared - but thats also risking NOT going at all. Looking for opinions and thoughts of total strangers!? but you hike though!
Nina, my nephew decided last year that he wanted to go on a 2 week hike with me about 2 weeks b4 the hike. He had a pack and a bedroll. So he went and got everything he could think he would need on the trail and threw it all in his pack. When I picked his pack up the day we got on the trail, it weighed a ton, when we stopped for diner he had no stove and had to cook on a sterno, and his rain gear was so crappy it was destroyed as soon as he put it on. With this being said, you would think I am saying no way stay home and plan, but I am not. He had a blast, and I bet if I asked him to do the same way again just for kicks he would. If you know you will run into a few problems, you will have a great time, and hey if there turns out to be gear you need, stop at a hostel and get a ride to town for gear.

The Solemates
05-04-2009, 17:30
any time on the trail is a good time no matter the season.

Lyle
05-04-2009, 18:49
THIS MONTH!!! No matter when it is.

Chaco Taco
05-04-2009, 22:13
November was awesome over the Balds and Humps. Nice cool days, crisp nights, leaves everywhere
Then in late April in NC/TN

sarman
05-05-2009, 05:09
January in VA

Engine
05-05-2009, 06:10
Today! In fact Caboose and I are leaving for the Smokies in 3 hours!!!:sun

lucky luke
05-05-2009, 10:09
hi,
besides that any time on the trail is prime time, my favourites were:

nh in oktober/november
maine in september
pa in january

happy trails
lucky luke