View Full Version : American Discovery Trail, Appalachian Trail... flip-flop? Opinions needed!

02-18-2011, 13:09
Hey guys! :) How are you all doing this fine day?

We had a taste of spring in south dakota and it's making me more and more eager for hiking. I took a nice hike the day before yesterday when the weather was gorgeous and now I'm even more eager to do a long-distance hike this year.

I have a few choices and I'd like an honest, un-biased approach on what would be the best choice. I'm a beginning hiker, I like companionship but I appreciate loneliness as well-- just not for very extended portions of time. I want to strengthen up my knees at a gradual rate, take the mileage at my own pace and just enjoy a hike. I'd like to be in the woods but town hiking is great too--I don't know how I'd fare stealth camping though because I don't want to be woken up by someone who is angry that I'm on their land.

I could start a hike from Springer to Katahdin in mid-late April on the Appalachian Trail-- I could (save up more money and be better prepared, perhaps) do a flip-flop hike starting in Virginia in early-mid June and go from Virginia to Katahdin and then come back and go Virginia to Springer. OR I could do a hike of the american discovery trail and take breaks each winter to work and raise up a little more money. It's something I'm mulling over quite a bit and I know the choice will inevitably be up to me but I'd like some opinions from those who feel it would help. :)

Thank you guys for reading!

02-18-2011, 15:00
I had thought about hiking the ADT, but finally decide against it. Much of the ADT is road or bike path walking, which I really, really don't enjoy doing. I'd rather spend my time and money hiking mountain trails. If I wanted to do a cross country trek, I'd do it on a bike and have a very similer small town, rural experiance as walking it with less effort, time and money.

So, I vote on doing the AT, however way best fits your finances. Then save up to do the PCT and then the CDT...

Spirit Walker
02-18-2011, 18:37
What kind of experience are you looking for?

The ADT is a lot more town to town walking and a fair amount of city walking. There are a lot of roads and bike paths. Much of it is flatland (which can get really boring). You would likely be alone in the deepest sense of the word. You would meet lots of people, but only in passing. There is no community of thruhikers, as you find on the AT and PCT. Though there might be other hikers on the trail, you might never meet them. On the AT you are surrounded by people with a common goal, it makes for a real sense of community. There is also a trailside community that is worth experiencing.

As to NOBO, SOBO or flip - when do you want to start? How anxious are you to be on the trail? You can start a NOBO anytime now. A flip you can start anytime that will get you to Katahdin after it opens in June, so probably late March or early April. Sobo you'd have to wait four months or so.