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View Full Version : Starting in May--what to expect?



OliveJuice
01-18-2011, 13:18
I'm graduating in May, and my fiancÚ and I can't wait to hit the trail, but I'm worried that getting such a late start will throw everything off.

Does anyone start that late? I'm concerned that we'd be hiking alone, which would be no fun. I'm assuming my wimpy southern butt will not be down for the cold weather we would encounter by making it all the way to Maine so late in the season, so we aren't planning on going the whole way but I hope to make well over half.

Does anyone have any advice for this? It's my first thru-hike, and I'd rather it not be unpleasant.

Also, hi everyone! This is my first post here, but I've been lurking in the shadows for a few weeks now. :rolleyes:

think0075
01-18-2011, 13:22
just go start in maine and go south you'll be some of the first ones headed south if you start in may. Just bring your bug spray.

topshelf
01-18-2011, 13:24
yup go south

Lone Wolf
01-18-2011, 13:29
go to Damascus for Trail Days then start north from there

DapperD
01-18-2011, 13:37
I'm graduating in May, and my fiancÚ and I can't wait to hit the trail, but I'm worried that getting such a late start will throw everything off.

Does anyone start that late? I'm concerned that we'd be hiking alone, which would be no fun. I'm assuming my wimpy southern butt will not be down for the cold weather we would encounter by making it all the way to Maine so late in the season, so we aren't planning on going the whole way but I hope to make well over half.

Does anyone have any advice for this? It's my first thru-hike, and I'd rather it not be unpleasant.

Also, hi everyone! This is my first post here, but I've been lurking in the shadows for a few weeks now. :rolleyes:Expect it to warm up real fast.:sun

OliveJuice
01-18-2011, 13:49
I've heard that it's a lot harder to go south, though, so I'm a little hesitant to do that as my first big hike. If i'm still northward bound, would it be better to start in georgia, or start where most of the other hikers will be? Or is southward bound not as difficult as i've read?

runnergirl
01-18-2011, 14:24
My brother and I are planning a thru-hike, but I do not graduate until April 30. We are planning to start a few days after graduation somewhere in the middle of Virginia. We are then going to hike all the way north with hopes of finishing the northern section by early August. We are then returning to our start-point and finishing the southern portion. We're flip-flopping, but it's still a thru-hike! This seemed like a better option and works well with our schedules!

Awol1970
01-18-2011, 14:25
go to Damascus for Trail Days then start north from there

This thread could go 5 pages but this will still be the best answer.:rolleyes:

Yahtzee
01-18-2011, 14:48
Totally start from Springer with no worries. I started May 9th and finished just fine. The back of the pack is always where the good time is, anyway. But, seriously, no worries. You may not have much leeway for injuries, but 5 months is still more than enough time to get to K.

If I had my druthers, I would only start at Springer early May or later.

on_the_GOEZ
01-18-2011, 14:49
My brother and I are planning a thru-hike, but I do not graduate until April 30. We are planning to start a few days after graduation somewhere in the middle of Virginia. We are then going to hike all the way north with hopes of finishing the northern section by early August. We are then returning to our start-point and finishing the southern portion. We're flip-flopping, but it's still a thru-hike! This seemed like a better option and works well with our schedules!

Greetings fellow Hoosier! Have you considered SOBOing? This Hoosiers will be in Maine mid to late June - seems like a better option for my schedule..

Viel Spass!

endubyu
01-18-2011, 14:52
I'm nobo end of april but starting in AL on a connector so wont be on AT til mid May. Thought about SoBo but Baxter doesnt want you starting south until June. Also thought about Harpers Ferry to ME, then back HF to Springer but too much bs so I'm Nobo. Avg is 6 months for a thru, mid May gives you 5 since your Baxter deadline is 10/15. If you're in shape you should be ok - 2181 miles avg 100 miles per week 22 weeks = 5 months. Gotta be moving but you can do it

OliveJuice
01-18-2011, 15:01
Ok, I feel better about this now. I'm not keen on flip flopping, and I know I don't want to go SOBO just yet so I think I'll just start in Springer.

runnergirl
01-18-2011, 16:54
Greetings fellow Hoosier! Have you considered SOBOing? This Hoosiers will be in Maine mid to late June - seems like a better option for my schedule..

Viel Spass!

Greetings! We did consider a southbound, but then we would waste the whole month of May doing nothing. A flip flop works better because we are going on vacation with our family after we finish in Maine and before we finish the southern section. But hopefully we'll see you out on the trail!

zoomerz2
01-19-2011, 00:23
I graduate from college on April 30 as well and plan to start my thru hike at Harpers Ferry by May 14. I should make it to Maine by August and then finish by south-bounding it back to Georgia by Thanksgiving. Flip-flopping it seems to be the way to go if you're starting late in the season.

runnergirl
01-26-2011, 19:00
I agree! And the fact that we have to leave for a graduation and wedding helped push us in this direction as well!

Jack Tarlin
01-26-2011, 19:23
You'll be fine.

The Trail won't be anywhere near as crowded as it would be if you started earlier; you'll likely have shelter space whenever you want it. You can probably trim a few pounds in your pack on gear and clothes from the outset as you'll not need as much cold weather gear. You'll also encounter much better weather meaning less time off, less down time, fewer abbreviated or shortened hiking days, etc. Most folks that start in March or even April end up taking what ammounts to a week or two of unplanned off/down time because of bad weather, or they go into towns they hadn't planned on visiting, or they go in for one night and end up staying two, etc. In short, by starting in May you may well end up making up close to 2 weeks of time simply because you'll be travelling lighter and will be hiking in better weather. So I wouldn't give the "late" start another thought, you'll do fine. Lastly, there won't be crowds, but you certainly won't be hiking "alone". There will be plenty of other good people out there, there simply won't be 27 of them at every shelter or campsite, and this is not a bad thing.

MisterChris
01-27-2011, 01:40
I want to NoBo around then too. I just thought of it today, and am realizing how quickly that time-frame's coming up man!!! I'm an avid hiker/climber in excellent shape.. I just need to get my gear together... I don't think I can imagine waiting an entire year to get it done!!! I'm from Tampa, FL with family all along the way, and in Maine.. Anyone feel free to get ahold of me!! via Facebook, email, or here I guess works

Christopher Stewart
mr.chrisstewart@gmail.com

hikecolorado
03-14-2011, 23:43
No worries I have read many people starting in May. I too will be starting the on May 1st. Nice weather, room in shelters, even if we're left behind by most thru-hikers there will be section hikers to keep us company - not to mention good incentive to catch up! Seen you on the trails and good luck

stranger
03-15-2011, 06:52
Early May would be a great time to start, as others have said there are still people out on the trail, still thru-hikers starting, just will thin out quite a bit. but if you take the time to get in shape, you might be surprised how quickly you catch up to others.

Alot of people start out inexperienced, completely out of shape, and struggle to average 10 miles per day in the beginning, others can easily average 15-20right from Springer...it depends on you really.

Tenderheart
03-15-2011, 17:06
You'll be fine.

The Trail won't be anywhere near as crowded as it would be if you started earlier; you'll likely have shelter space whenever you want it. You can probably trim a few pounds in your pack on gear and clothes from the outset as you'll not need as much cold weather gear. You'll also encounter much better weather meaning less time off, less down time, fewer abbreviated or shortened hiking days, etc. Most folks that start in March or even April end up taking what ammounts to a week or two of unplanned off/down time because of bad weather, or they go into towns they hadn't planned on visiting, or they go in for one night and end up staying two, etc. In short, by starting in May you may well end up making up close to 2 weeks of time simply because you'll be travelling lighter and will be hiking in better weather. So I wouldn't give the "late" start another thought, you'll do fine. Lastly, there won't be crowds, but you certainly won't be hiking "alone". There will be plenty of other good people out there, there simply won't be 27 of them at every shelter or campsite, and this is not a bad thing.

I agree and the southern balds will be in bloom when you reach them in June. Just watch out for the poison ivy in the woods.

litefoot 2000

Trailweaver
03-16-2011, 00:34
Even in the dead of winter you have to watch out for poison ivy.

map man
03-16-2011, 01:33
If you are worried about having enough company on the trail, there will be plenty of section hikers at the time of year you will be hiking and their company is just as good as that of thru-hikers. And if you start in early to mid-May you will have a few other thru-hikers for companionship as well.

Harrison Bergeron
03-16-2011, 08:17
I've read lots of trail journals where people mention walking through what sounds like a sea of wild rhododendrons -- in the winter when everything is bare. What a waste!

Personally, although my boss cancelled my hike this year, next year I think I'll choose May again, if only to see the rhododendrons in bloom.
Anybody know for sure when they bloom?

The idea of leaving about 5 pounds worth of cold weather gear at home, has a certain appeal, too!