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Kerby
09-03-2009, 19:27
Hi all, I would like a bit of input regarding a rather sensitive issue.

A friend of mine has a friend that is thinking about starting a through hike, starting in Harper's Ferry and going south, this week.

Now, the young man has absolutely zero experience hiking/ backpacking/ camping.

What would you advise?

dmax
09-03-2009, 19:28
Have fun and take plenty of pictures!

Not Sunshine
09-03-2009, 19:38
ibuprofen + benadryl + duct tape.

and yes, take lots of pictures. :)

Mongoose2
09-03-2009, 20:09
Travel light, have fun and good luck!

Egads
09-03-2009, 20:09
Is it Groundhog day? This thread seems very familiar to one I saw two weeks ago.

Normally I'd advise someone to take a few weekend hikes to shake out their gear & gain some experience.

Someone without any experience or time...Have fun & be careful.

They will probably be off the trail inside a week.

Skidsteer
09-03-2009, 20:09
Hi all, I would like a bit of input regarding a rather sensitive issue.

A friend of mine has a friend that is thinking about starting a through hike, starting in Harper's Ferry and going south, this week.

Now, the young man has absolutely zero experience hiking/ backpacking/ camping.

What would you advise?

Take twice the money and half the baggage.

Just like any other trip.

Snowleopard
09-03-2009, 20:12
Wear comfortable shoes that are not brand new.
Don't carry a lot of weight.
Carry a rain parka or poncho.
Have fun.

Cookerhiker
09-03-2009, 20:16
A few questions will determine how well he does/how far he gets:

1. What kind of gear does he have on the essentials - boots, clothes, pack, sleeping bag, tent? And don't forget maps.

2. Is he in good physical shape, especially aerobically-speaking?

3. Food: is he familiar with making his own meals? Are his tastes compatible with most trail food? What is he doing for food? Has he thought about water treatment?

4. Mentally, is he flexible and adaptable? When little things (and sometimes big things) go wrong, how does he respond?

5. What is his tolerance for 3-4 days of rain? What about cold temperatures?

Lone Wolf
09-03-2009, 20:32
Hi all, I would like a bit of input regarding a rather sensitive issue.

A friend of mine has a friend that is thinking about starting a through hike, starting in Harper's Ferry and going south, this week.

Now, the young man has absolutely zero experience hiking/ backpacking/ camping.

What would you advise?

i'd advise him to go. he'll learn along the way. it's not rocket science or anything technical

warraghiyagey
09-03-2009, 20:39
agreed. . .

Trailweaver
09-03-2009, 22:01
I might also want to give him the names/phone #'s of some of the area folks who would shuttle him if he got in a jam and needed to get to town or to an outfitter's. Other than that, experience will only come with experience, so he will have to do it himself to get what he needs.

sbbtool
09-03-2009, 23:01
I plan on starting Saturday from the Smokies and heading north as long as I can. I also have pretty much zero experience. I'm pumped!

Different Socks
09-03-2009, 23:16
I'd advise to not even do the AT.
What is it about the AT, that so many people think they have to choose it as their first thruhike?
My advice to people doing their first long hike----do the PCT first. Then do the AT.

Different Socks
09-03-2009, 23:17
I did the AT first, then the PCT, then the CDT. If I did it all over again(I will in a few years), I'd pick the PCT first, then the AT, then the CDT.

Different Socks
09-03-2009, 23:30
One more thing about your friend: If he indeed has no hiking/backpacking experience, he probably has a fantasy in his head about what he thinks the trail will be like. If you can, try to bring him back to reality and let him know what he really has to go thru.
Also, a green hiker attempting a trail like the AT could end up severely injuring the guy if he doesn't take it easy at first.

Railroad King
09-03-2009, 23:56
I had 0 experience backpacking and I thru hiked the trail last year. I read white blaze and used common sense. Also an overnight hike somewhere where you can try out your stuff before hand. It also helps if you are a fanatical/determined person.

Different Socks
09-04-2009, 00:35
It also helps if you are a fanatical/determined person.

I agree! That is probably one of the main reasons I finished my thru. I took whatever the trail could dish out and wanted more.

jesse
09-04-2009, 03:31
Hi all, I would like a bit of input regarding a rather sensitive issue.

A friend of mine has a friend that is thinking about starting a through hike, starting in Harper's Ferry and going south, this week.

Now, the young man has absolutely zero experience hiking/ backpacking/ camping.

What would you advise?

did he ask for any advice?

Camping Dave
09-04-2009, 07:08
What would you advise?

Have fun! and that's about it.

Crazy Larry #1
09-04-2009, 07:10
all it is is taking a walk in the woods......what's the big deal?

elray
09-04-2009, 07:10
If he lasts a couple of weeks he'll be experienced!

brooklynkayak
09-04-2009, 07:41
Sock liners(or slippery socks) and no cotton. It can really ruin a hike and may be dangerous if you don't know better.

kanga
09-04-2009, 08:15
i'd advise him to go. he'll learn along the way. it's not rocket science or anything technical
what he said

George
09-04-2009, 08:17
that is a great section and time of the year for a new hiker, much better than starting at the north or south

max patch
09-04-2009, 08:25
I'd tell him that every year there is someone whose very first day of backpacking is the day that they start off at Springer to attempt a thru and that they succeed. The year I did thru'd it was a 100 pound 20 something year old girl who started off with a 45 pound back. She made gear changes as she went.

I'd suggest he do some shakedown hikes so he can make some of those inevitable gear changes before he starts his hike.

Blue Jay
09-04-2009, 08:51
They will probably be off the trail inside a week.

You have never thrued and you are making a negative comment on anothers thru. Many, if not most, thrus have no experience at the start, something you cannot know as you've never been there.

Rockhound
09-04-2009, 09:33
As a wise man once said, "It's only walking". He will find out quickly if it's for him or not. When I started in 07' My pack weighed 64 pounds. My only advice is that he probably does not need a lot of the crap in his pack. I'm down to a lean, mean 50 pounds now. Does that make me an ultralighter?

Lyle
09-04-2009, 09:45
If this person is of normal intelligence and abilities, let him go with your blessing. Give a few pointers if he's receptive, point him towards some additional resources, offer to help him plan, but let him go. As others have said, he'll learn quick enough by doing. The AT is a pretty safe place to learn.

Lyle
09-04-2009, 09:50
I did the AT first, then the PCT, then the CDT. If I did it all over again(I will in a few years), I'd pick the PCT first, then the AT, then the CDT.


Just curious. Why? Not arguing with it, but what is your reasoning?

vamelungeon
09-04-2009, 09:51
I've got the two volume "Hiking the Appalachian Trail" and the thing about most of the hikers is that they had zero experience when they started. Most did some research but you can follow the learning curve as they progress along the trail.
If he has an opportunity to thru hike the AT, he should give it a try.

twlhome
09-04-2009, 10:17
I am setting on a SOBO PA-GA thru hike myself at the end of the month. Being new to the AT myself if he wanted to wait until the 23rd of this month I be more than willing to hike with him. I am starting in Duncannon just north of Harrisburg. If wanted to join me, by the time we got to Harper's Ferry he could decide to keep going or to stop there.

Dances with Mice
09-04-2009, 10:21
Remember, after the first day he'll have more backpacking experience than over 99% of the people in this country.

TheKO
09-04-2009, 10:30
Why not? Just because he hasn't been on Whiteblaze.net for dozens of years doesn't mean he can't do it.

Many people decide on a whim to go. Some even complete their dream.

Like people said - it is only walking!

Rockhound
09-04-2009, 10:36
Why not? Just because he hasn't been on Whiteblaze.net for dozens of years doesn't mean he can't do it.

Many people decide on a whim to go. Some even complete their dream.

Like people said - it is only walking!
What?! He hasn't been to Whiteblaze?! I did'nt know that. There is no way he'll ever make it then. He needs at least a months experience reading/posting on inane threads and trolling for those easily pissed off people without senses of humor. After he gets banned once then, and only then will he be ready to hike.

Captain
09-04-2009, 10:40
ibuprofen + benadryl + duct tape.

and yes, take lots of pictures. :)


there you go talking smak again

freefall
09-04-2009, 11:35
What they said!

Blissful
09-04-2009, 13:07
If he wants to know more, this is a good place to pick up a few tips to make it a safer and more enjoyable time. But if not, he will definitely learn a heap and sometimes the hard way.

CowHead
09-04-2009, 13:13
two things will happen
1. he'll make it and
2. he'll quit

Let the young man hike

CowHead
09-04-2009, 13:16
As a wise man once said, "It's only walking". He will find out quickly if it's for him or not. When I started in 07' My pack weighed 64 pounds. My only advice is that he probably does not need a lot of the crap in his pack. I'm down to a lean, mean 50 pounds now. Does that make me an ultralighter?
Heck yeah in my book!!!!:banana

TD55
09-04-2009, 15:06
I would suggest to your friend that he put the stuff he is taking with him on his hike into a pack. Regular luggage or plastic bags don't work so well. He should also include some food and water in his pack. Comfy shoes are also helpful. If he follows this advice he should be fine.

Gladiator
09-04-2009, 15:06
Is this friend hiking alone? If so, strongly encourage him to learn as much as he can about hypothermia. It shouldn't be an issue, at least not for a few more weeks, but people can and do go in to hypothermia any time of year. All it takes is a cool, wet day and/or night. Definitely warn of the dangers of cotton. Hope he enjoys his hike!


Gladiator

Kerby
09-04-2009, 16:49
A few questions will determine how well he does/how far he gets:

1. What kind of gear does he have on the essentials - boots, clothes, pack, sleeping bag, tent? And don't forget maps.

2. Is he in good physical shape, especially aerobically-speaking?

3. Food: is he familiar with making his own meals? Are his tastes compatible with most trail food? What is he doing for food? Has he thought about water treatment?

4. Mentally, is he flexible and adaptable? When little things (and sometimes big things) go wrong, how does he respond?

5. What is his tolerance for 3-4 days of rain? What about cold temperatures?


Gear wise, he has (as I understand it) nothing. I was asked by a mutual friend if I could "accidentally" bump into them at REI, and -make sure he has a realistic expectation of what to expect.

(the mutual friend thinks stating out this time of year, without prier experience or planning, is a bad idea. Oh, hes not a hiker)

I'm told he walks allot, and is fairly bright, but haven't actually met him yet...

Personally, I would love to see him make it, I just wont to give him the best advice possible before hand.

Kerby
09-04-2009, 16:51
I would suggest to your friend that he put the stuff he is taking with him on his hike into a pack. Regular luggage or plastic bags don't work so well. He should also include some food and water in his pack. Comfy shoes are also helpful. If he follows this advice he should be fine.

I'll try to keep that in mind.

Cookerhiker
09-04-2009, 17:22
....(the mutual friend thinks stating out this time of year, without prier experience or planning, is a bad idea. Oh, hes not a hiker)......

Actually, I think this is an ideal time of year to start south from HF. The only downside is the dimininshing daylight each day.

tammons
09-04-2009, 20:14
I say tell him to go for it.

A cash card.
Semi LW 4 with a synthetic bag, non inflatable pad, and a LW cheap tent like a spitfire with some extra stakes.
Eat cold or stop whenever he can stop, so he wont burn himself up in the tent.
A good set of breathable rain gear or maybe even driducks.
A good insul synthetic jacket. I just got a Salsa for $52.
About 15 pairs of socks
Stock med adv medical kit.

A compass for when he wakes up confused and goes the wrong way thinking yesterday the sun was on the other side.

A med adv emer bivy. The one that weighs 7 oz.
A stiker and some tinder.
A swiss army knife with a saw.
Good pair of shoes.

And some luck.

Tinker
09-04-2009, 22:43
I can't resist any longer. I was hoping this would go away.
CAMPING: If you haven't done it, and lots of it, and enjoyed the @#$% out of it -
DON'T GO!
HIKING: If you haven't done any, and you're out of shape,
DON'T GO!
Take a few day hikes (at least 10 miles). If you don't like it, you will HATE hiking.
Ok?
Don't expect someone with something better to do to come and bail out your foolish butt.
SHEESH!!!!
Btw: Don't take this personally........:D ;).

Rockhound
09-04-2009, 23:00
Just tell him maps, hiking poles, and water filters, med kits, cell phones etc...are only for day trippers and weekenders. A real thru-hiker would not be caught dead with these ridiculous items..............Of course I guess they may be caught dead without them.

Mags
09-07-2009, 17:39
If this person is of normal intelligence and abilities, let him go with your blessing. Give a few pointers if he's receptive, point him towards some additional resources, offer to help him plan, but let him go. As others have said, he'll learn quick enough by doing. The AT is a pretty safe place to learn.


...I was going to say the same thing. Esp in the mid-Atlantic area.