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rich in va
12-05-2010, 04:01
I am trying to hike a nobo and a sobo in the same year. I am not going to have any mail drops so what i start with i end with. I don't mind hiking with a 60 pound pack, but not sure what i can do for dinners, how to stay warm, and have enough companionship to be able to function out in the woods for that long. Any suggestions would be nice.

QuarterPounder
12-05-2010, 07:58
Well, I'm not sure why you don't want to do any maildrops... that's your choice, but a mail drop or two would sure be helpful for switching out winter to summer gear and back, etc. Living in Winchester, you could keep your winter gear all the way to that point but you will need it back for the Whites, etc. It's easy to get everything else along the way... IE; food, fuel, etc.

When do plan to start from Springer? Do you have a tentative schedule?

QuarterPounder
12-05-2010, 08:03
Oops..

Forgot. We're both in Winchester so if you're looking for someone to hike with as you train this winter... I'm always looking for a excuse to get out there.

I don't know how much long distance hiking you've done, but I may be of some help as I just finished my thru in October. At least I can tell what not to do base on all my mistakes:)

BrianLe
12-05-2010, 13:15
"I am trying to hike a nobo and a sobo in the same year. I am not going to have any mail drops so what i start with i end with. I don't mind hiking with a 60 pound pack, but not sure what i can do for dinners, how to stay warm, and have enough companionship to be able to function out in the woods for that long."

A yo-yo is a tough, tough proposition --- I definitely do not mean to sound patronizing or negative here, but nevertheless if you're not sure about basic stuff like meals and how to stay warm, then I have to doubt that a yo-yo is a good idea. I suspect that most folks that successfully yo-yo any long trail do so after some significant long distance experience (which inevitably gives you answers to questions like these).

The 60 pound pack comment is also, IMO, well out of whack with a yo-yo hike. You have to do fairly high mileage to have a hope at over 4000 miles in the same year, and high pack weights are inimical to doing that (yes, even if you're "young and strong"). And FWIW, of all the long trails I think that the AT is the one where a person generally needs the *least* weight. A yo-yo hiker will need to be starting on the early side and so, yes, need some extra clothing and beefier bag than others might, but still. 60 pounds is very very heavy. Consider a bounce box (aka drift box) if you don't have any sort of support person at home to mail things back and forth.

Dinners, how to stay warm, companionship --- search this forum for a number of extant threads on these topics ...

4eyedbuzzard
12-05-2010, 13:54
Repeat of what BrianLe just said.

I am trying to hike a nobo and a sobo in the same year. I am not going to have any mail drops so what i start with i end with. I don't mind hiking with a 60 pound pack...
You may think you don't mind a 60 lb pack, but your 41 year old knees and feet may well come to a different opinion, regardless of how good your physical conditioning may be. Your lungs may occaisionally offer comments about constantly carrying 60 lbs up hills too. You're not only raising the level of exertion required, but also putting additional stress on muscles, joints, ligaments, and also negatively affecting your balance by carrying extra weight. The more weight you carry, the heavier the pack to carry it, the more fuel (food) and hydration (water) you carry, etc - it's a snowball effect like rocket payloads. And the more likely you are to get injured from the stress of all that weight or fall because of the negative affect of weight on your balance.


...not sure what i can do for dinners, how to stay warm, and have enough companionship to be able to function out in the woods for that long. Any suggestions would be nice.
You aren't sure about this stuff and you're contemplating a yoyo? Honestly, you need to get this stuff down pretty pat before thinking about doing this. Take a few shorter hikes to figure all this stuff out before hand. Lots of info here and at other hiking / AT related websites.

Turtle Feet
12-05-2010, 14:42
Rich, if you could post your current gear list, I'm sure the experts here on this board can offer up suggestions ways to pare the weight down. I don't think you really meant "60 pounds", I think you were simply stating that you plan to be as self-suffient as possible. You can be self-suffient without 60 pounds of weight.

Not sure it's possible to do a yo-yo in less than a 'season' (spring, fall, ect) with that said, I also agree, you'll not want to shelp your winter gear with you while you're hiking in 80 degree temps.

Give us a little more info about your plans....

tf

rich in va
12-05-2010, 23:45
I really do appreciate everything you have all said and as im not great at planning, especially for something that is so far out of my element. Ex. Driving from va to seattle, wa in late March. I did not know the weather in Wyoming can go from 70 one day and a wicked blizzard the next day. Or a couple years later coming backward from Seattle that the southern route through Oklahoma wouldn't put me 20 miles from a tornado in early April. I got through both those situations, but I kam looking to enjoy this journey. I haven't bought any gear yet, so suggestions would be helpfkul.

I've been to southwestern Alaska in early May and I know what the weather is like, I don't have a clue what the weather is like in Georgia in March. I do think weight wise with pack, sleeping bag and pad, tent, water purrifier, stove, gas, and cooking equipment will be 20 lbs or less. So 60 lbs was just self doubt. I am looking more to 40 lbs, but all the help I get now is crucial.

rich in va
12-06-2010, 00:01
I definitely could use all the help I can get. As i just said I haven't bought any equipment yet, but I will in the next 10 days. So we can do some hiking in the next couple months. My jobs is pretty good with having every other weekend off and getting a week off only requires me to take two vacation days and hiking now I'll be able to test my cold weather gear. So I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Sensei
12-06-2010, 01:46
Rich, I am by no means an experienced long distance hiker, but as a fellow thru-hiker in planning, I have definitely become an experienced "gear ponderer." :) What I can tell you is that, if at all possible, you should take more time than 10 days to research gear. I actually researched for over a month before I bought a single thing. The thing that makes gear research difficult (at least initially) is that practically every piece of gear you will need is dependent entirely on personal preference. Thus, no one can tell you definitively what to buy and what not to.

As an example, I know that plenty of people on this site love the Osprey Atmos 65 pack. I tried it at the store and it simply did not fit me. I tried over a dozen different packs, all of which are probably used by someone on this site, and I eventually settled on an REI Ridgeline 65. It was cheaper than I expected and heavier than I had hoped, but it fit me better than any other pack in the store.

The best advice I can give you is to take your sweet, sweet time when researching gear. Decide which elements in each piece of gear are most important to you (i.e. weight, material, price, etc.). The more research you do, the better idea you will have of what your "ideal" piece of gear is going to be. This website is a great place to start, and many here will be happy to give their opinions, but keep in mind that every hiker you talk to is going to have a different objective in their gear selections.

Sorry for the long winded post. I have spent the past 48 hours doing nothing but writing research papers, and now that I'm finally done for the night I can't seem to stop typing! :) Good luck in your search!

C Seeker
12-06-2010, 08:06
Rich, up in Fairafax is the amazing REI store. I would encourge you to go (AFTER the holiday season, so you can have full help from the staff) The staff there knows what they are talking about, and if you pick the right one they will walk you through the whole store giving you tips, fit you for a backpack, boots, and so much more. Gander Mountain is not backpacker friendly and encourage you to go to a outfitter.

As for planning, pick up a book about someone who already hiked the trail and read about there experence. By doing this, it will either get you more execited about the trail, or the exact opposite.

By living in Wincheaster you are only 45 mins away from the trail, so you can take day hikes on your free time or even weekend hikes. You are also 45 mins away from the the SNP(Shenadoah National Park) where there are tons of hiking trails with steep climbs, flat climbs, paved climbs, rock climbs, and everything in between.

I encourage you to plan for a NOBO hike then, if you decided half way through that you want to do a YO-YO hike then do it.

Good luck, and safe hiking.

QuarterPounder
12-06-2010, 10:41
Rich, up in Fairafax is the amazing REI store. I would encourge you to go (AFTER the holiday season, so you can have full help from the staff) The staff there knows what they are talking about, and if you pick the right one they will walk you through the whole store giving you tips, fit you for a backpack, boots, and so much more. Gander Mountain is not backpacker friendly and encourage you to go to a outfitter.

As for planning, pick up a book about someone who already hiked the trail and read about there experence. By doing this, it will either get you more execited about the trail, or the exact opposite.

By living in Wincheaster you are only 45 mins away from the trail, so you can take day hikes on your free time or even weekend hikes. You are also 45 mins away from the the SNP(Shenadoah National Park) where there are tons of hiking trails with steep climbs, flat climbs, paved climbs, rock climbs, and everything in between.

I encourage you to plan for a NOBO hike then, if you decided half way through that you want to do a YO-YO hike then do it.

Good luck, and safe hiking.

C-Seeker is right. You live in a great area to sample the trail and do some training. You're 20 miles west of Ashby Gap or Snickers Gap so you can jump out there on the "Roller Coaster" very easily. In case you're not familiar, it's a series of ups and downs (not severe) that provides a good workout for a day hike.

Also, living in Winchester, don't overlook Mountain Trails on Cork St. I was surprised to find their prices were often as good or better than some of the bigger outfitters and they're very helpful. The Outfitter in Harpers Ferry is also very helpful. Just me, but I prefer to shop the smaller locals.

Ladytrekker
12-06-2010, 13:46
I just started reading the barefoot sisters that hiked the trail they did a nobo thru and when they reached Maine they turned around and walked back this seems insane to me but it can be done. Read their book and see how it was done.

Luddite
12-06-2010, 13:56
The staff there knows what they are talking about, and if you pick the right one they will walk you through the whole store giving you tips, fit you for a backpack, boots, and so much more.

They'll outfit you with a $300 5 pound pack, a water filter, 2.5 pound boots, 3 pounds of stuff sacks, knee-high gaiters. And then you'll get to Neel's gap and have to buy more crap and send home all your ridiculous heavy gear. You should research gear on here and buy online IMO.

Spirit Walker
12-07-2010, 00:35
I agree with the idea that you should start out simply to hike the AT from Georgia to Maine. When you reach Maine, if you are still having fun and your body and finances allow, then turn around and head south. An amazing number of thruhikers never make it past Hot Springs, NC. Hiking all day every day for day after day after day is not for everyone. See if you like thruhiking first. Otherwise you may be setting yourself up for disappointment because you only hiked 2100 miles and not 4200.

As to the 60 lb pack: on the AT, there are towns close to the trail that you can visit every few days. There are few stretches that require more than a four or five day carry. So your pack weight isn't likely to ever be that high, if you start with a base weight under 20 lbs. If you end up yoyoing the trail, then you'll need winter gear after September, and your pack weight will go up by a few pounds, but by then you'll be strong enough and experienced enough to carry it.

Turtle Feet
12-07-2010, 00:41
I will say, I have a "love/hate is a strong word" relationship with REI. If you live near one, they can be a quick fix for us gear addicts, but 'buyer be-aware' ;) ... if go in there and tell them you want to get outfitted for a thru-hike, well, it'd be like a 500lb woman walking into a bakery and telling them she's hungry! OK, that was rude of me, but you get the idea.

I've been a long-standing member of REI, going back a couple of decades now, and I still buy clothing and gear there, but I probably did 80%+ of my outfitting for my up-coming 'thru' online. I agree with Luddite & Chase!! - take your time, check out all your options.

Whiteblaze is a fabulous resource, as is it's sister site Hammock Forums. Hammock camping never occurred to me until I started lurking on Hammock Forums.

Have fun with the gear shopping!!! Keep us all posted, hopefully we'll get to meet on the trail!

TF

rich in va
12-07-2010, 08:40
Hey Turtle Feet. I see you plan to start march 14. I am planning on leaving in early march, but I have a lot of loose ends that need to be dealt with that may delay me. So I look forward to seeing you out on the trail.

I'd just like to say this again I enjoy and appreciate all the posts so far and I am a lot farther along this process now then I was a week ago. So thanks to everyone and I look forward to more.

rich in va
12-07-2010, 09:23
I am sure this topic is all over this site and others, but I had major issues about water (all my fault as I was really unprepared) but is a water purified enough?

Serial 07
12-07-2010, 11:07
rich, i hate to be a debbie downer, but maybe i missed what your motivation is to do something like this...why not just take a deep breath, realize that this may be a little out of your experience range and just plan a thru hike...you don't want to do mail drops? why? you seem to have little experience with the AT and that's cool for a thru hike, but why force something when simply accomplishing a thru hike is AWESOME enough? way more questions about motivation than i have answers for you...i'm all about thru hiking for beginners and the inexperienced...but i almost feel like with a yo-yo, if you gotta ask you about it, you probably aren't ready for one...

your first mistake is not investigating mail drops...

Turtle Feet
12-07-2010, 13:14
I am sure this topic is all over this site and others, but I had major issues about water (all my fault as I was really unprepared) but is a water purified enough?

I've owned a few filters & purifiers over the years (including the Steripen), but this time around I'm carrying Aquamira drops for purifying and a 1 Micron poly filter bag incase I'm in the position of taking water that I'd rather not. Not sure if this link will work: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=350331084520&ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT

Purifying is probably more what you're looking for (killing the microbes), whereas filtering is more about, well, filtering (think swamp). Check out this site for a very clear explanation: http://www.wikihow.com/Purify-Water

Yes, you can find a TON of great infoa all over these boards. You can search by post or by thread to help you find what you're looking for.

TF

rich in va
12-08-2010, 13:04
Hey deb, took a deep breath and still want to do this. Help is what I am looking for. And all of the sudden I am not afraid of mail drops. Still not 100%.