View Full Version : Never been on the AT

01-30-2011, 11:52
I'm planning a hike of the AT May of 2012. I plan on doing a few sections of it to get accustomed to the trail this summer. I'm in Delaware, so I'll probably hit the Maryland and New Jersey sections. I've got a handful of questions I'm hoping you seasoned hikers wouldn't mind answering. Bare with my ignorance as I've never hiked the trail.

- Is there a lot of sheer face climbing on the AT, and if so, where is it the most common? Or does the trail wind up and around cliffs?

- I understand the blazes, but are they prominent enough for me to notice them at a fast pace, or will I have to move slowly to locate them so not to get off course?

- How do people post trail journals from the trail? Do you guys just use cellphones, or do people leave the trail for internet access?

Thanks in advance for the advice.

01-30-2011, 11:58
No technical climbing anywhere on the AT especially in the sections you mentioned. Just walking over dirt, roots, rocks, etc., up and down hills. There's some "scrambling" on rocks where you have to maintain balance, but mostly that's in the Whites in NH and parts of ME.

You'll figure out the blazes, they're pretty prominent, and the trail is so worn in in most areas it would be hard to miss it.

I don't post trail journals, but the methods you mentioned are all used.

01-30-2011, 13:13
MD is a good section for beginners, as is southern PA. If you don't dawdle, you might could make Delaware Water Gap from Harpers Ferry in a month. I sectioned MD & South PA in late May. Water was plentiful and weather comfortable.

Its fairly easy to follow the trail. You will get off trail from time to time. Just turn around and walk back to the last known blaze. In PA I once followed an old section of trail without blazes but with old AT signage.

There's no technical rock climbing but there's some unexpected "fun" just south of PennMar MD and another bit just north of Whiskey Spring PA. While I appreciate that thru's are bored and need some entertaining, these little bits are frustrating time killers to sectioner's with limited vacation time. Then, there's the scramble up Lehigh PA.

I used TrailPhone (http://trailphone.net/hiker/24446324/) and a disposable Verizon phone for my 2-week section hike. The $20 Verizon phone came with $10 of airtime which was enough for at least one 2-3 minute update daily. A co-worker transcribed my TrailPhone updates to my TrailJournal (http://www.trailjournals.com/location.cfm?trailname=10727) as my wife is deaf. I added details and color after returning home using notes from a cheap fifty-cent notebook.

This year, for sectioning NJ & half of NY, I'm using an unlocked LG Incite (http://reviews.cnet.com/smartphones/lg-incite-ct810-at/4505-6452_7-33397476.html) with a T-mobile pre-paid sim. The Incite has GPS and WiFi. I'm using TurboGPS and hope to use its position to SMS feature while on the trail to text my wife. Might also try Twitter if I find a WiFi hotspot or two. Will also use my TrailPhone account, which I highly recommend.