View Full Version : pros/cons of starting 2012 aprill 22 NOBO thru

08-22-2011, 12:14
just for knowledges sake, im curious what the pros and cons of starting aprill 22, 2012 might be. weather, crowds, bugs, transportation, etc? itll be me and a buddy. also, as a matter of interest, just wondering how ppl predict and/or generally keep up with the weather throughout their hike. do you just look up to the sky and say "well theres some dark clouds comin this way. better hunker down". or are you actively seeking weather reports in town and from others?

Spirit Walker
08-22-2011, 12:42
Pros - better weather so fewer days off trail waiting for weather to improve and lighter pack sooner in the trip. Longer daylight. Spring flowers early in the hike. Longer days so more miles early in the hike. Fewer people.

Con - if you have physical problems starting out, you might have to flip in order to climb Katahdin before it closes. Otherwise, a fit hiker should be able to reach K in time.

As to weather forecasts - on the AT the average is that one day in three has some kind of precipitation. I just expected it. You hike in all kinds of weather - rain, snow, sleet, hail. Not always fun, but it's what you have to do in a wet climate. The only time I've holed up in bad weather was in the western mountains above treeline. I found weather forecasts, as told to me by dayhikers or thruhikers with radios, almost always wrong. I learned to always put up my tent regardless of the forecast or even the lack of clouds overhead, because either a storm would roll in in the middle of the night or the dew would soak my bag.

08-22-2011, 13:54
great response, thank you! im 25 and fit so im expecting to do 'er in around 5 months. less idealy. my biggest problem is going to be keeping weight on. im 5' 11" 1303 and have plateu'd there. so keeping my weight up will be imperative:(

08-22-2011, 14:09
edit - 130*

08-22-2011, 15:44
1303 pounds :banana better start hiking now...

08-31-2011, 09:08
Seems like a good plan, miss the winter weather down south, as long as you can get to K quickly.

I somewhat checked weather in towns, but quickly realized that it really doesn't matter. In the mountains, it really is just dependent on what cloud is over you. I saw so many huge thunderheads cross right over me up on a ridge, then drop down to the valleys below and DUMP EVERYTHING. Commonly, weather forecasts stating chances of rain every day of the week would only be wet maybe 2-3 days, but then again this year was a very good year (until now with Irene) for northbound thru-hikers.

08-31-2011, 12:41
I was thinking of starting later as i have a marathon at the end of April (running against my son so cant cancel it). I did a few hundred miles this year on the trail heading south from Harpers Ferry and I found water was starting to be an issue by the time I got to end of June (around George Washington).
I can only do 10 to 15 miles a day - partly age and partly not being used to the high humidity and temperature as I am from the UK. But I will see how it goes and maybe flip flop at harpers Ferry - maybe I will be able to get the mileage up a bit but....

09-04-2011, 14:22
I'm looking to start late April as well (my tentative plan was the 25th, as I have a wedding in Vancouver on the 20th). If you were looking for someone else to hit the trail with, maybe we can figure something out - I may be able to start the 23rd or 24th, I doubt I'd be able to make it back and be ready for the 22nd. I'd be flying Vancouver to Orlando, where I will meet up with a friend who was going to drive me to Springer and do the approach trail with me before I head out. However, since I am traveling solo beyond that point, it might be easier for me to make up miles and catch up with your group somewhere on the trail.

I've had my estimates (done by a few others that are familiar with my hiking capabilities) be September 1, although given some fudge factor, zero days, etc, I'm hoping to be done by the 15th or so.

I was initially discouraged that I wouldn't be able to start until late April, but when I was told that I essentially had a bonus month of buffer, beyond my initial two weeks of swing time, I got much better with the idea. I was told I'd enjoy the much nicer weather throughout, and much less heavy crowds (although not a completely barren trail - seems like a good balance, imo).

09-09-2011, 21:07
I"m starting the 1st of April just trying to get an idea of how cramped the trails will actually be and does it really make that big of difference as far as weather if i start at the end of April then the beginning just trying map things out a bit thanks

09-09-2011, 21:14
The best thing about beginning your thru on April 22, 2012, is that is Earth Day, 2012. What better way to celebrate?--Kinnickinic

mountain squid
09-10-2011, 08:02
I"m starting the 1st of April just trying to get an idea of how cramped the trails will actually be It will be VERY cramped. Apr 1st is usually very busy and next yr it is on the weekend . . . expect huge crowds. Check out reply 64 here (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?14493-observations-from-fs42-(advice-for-first-week-on-trail)/page4) for last yrs numbers on 1 Apr (in addition to the 49 thrus, there were also 35 section hikers).

See you on the trail,
mt squid

how to hike (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?73587-how-to-hike)

09-10-2011, 10:26
April 22 start means nicer weather, (warmer start). Plenty of other hikers around. You can still make Katahdin by Oct .15th easily enough unless you are extreemly slow, in that case just do a flip-flop. Getting weather reports is pretty easy...other hikers, or in towns...i carried a cheap cell phone and would sometimes text a relative and they would text me back the weather report for my area.

The only con i can think of would be having time to complete a thru-hike. Im 52 and consider myself a pretty average-pace hiker. I took lots of 'zero days', probably 25 at least, and still finshed in a little less than 6 months. So, unless you plan on doing a lot of goofing off, you should have no trouble finishing

09-10-2011, 10:28
oh ya...and carry a tent, the shelters will probably be full...especially in bad weather

09-10-2011, 11:36
When I was 64, I started April 15. It was a wonderful time to start. The southern appalachians provided the most incredible array of spring flowers I have ever seen. I was passing through a dozen springs each week, early spring near the summits, almost summer in the valleys. The crowds were heavy for the first few weeks and then gradually thinned out. I had a couple of bouts of illnesses and had to skip a bit of southern New England to make Katahdin by Oct. 15. I reached the Park on the 15th, camped, and climbed snow-capped Katahdin the next morning. Just a few patches of ice and 3 or 4 inches of snow. I can't think of any seriuous cons. Mid April is the ideal starting time for a thru hike in my opinion.

09-10-2011, 20:43
it's a great time to start NOBO.... I started last year on April 19th. Puts you at the tail end of the NOBO wave. I started catching up to the early April starters by the time I got north of the Smokies.... I had a Marmot Hydrogen 30 degree bag, it was all I needed. Daytime temps getting hot by early June. Starting late April you don't have much free time along the way to finish by October, but it's still a good time to start.

09-10-2011, 21:41
I started twice in april and once in march if I had. A choice I wld do april evry time 4 a variety of reason but mostly cuz new england soooo gorgeous in the fall..folks who start feb and march often miss the colors

09-14-2011, 20:28
You will be passing through Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) and the trees will have leaves on them, and you won't be wading through snow drifts w/o snowshoes.

10-31-2011, 13:01
havent checked this thread in some time so just wanted to say thanks for all the advice guys. seems like my april 22 start is on the money! i dont expect to be late getting to katahdin, though anything can happen. im light fast, healthy and i dont like to party and BS around. im out there to hike not drink and sleep!
RWheeler - ill keep an eye out for ya.

max patch
10-31-2011, 13:13
I never checked the weather forecast. You carry your rain gear and wear it when you need to.

10-31-2011, 13:41
It only seems to rain when you don't want it to. Hiking through Pa, NY, NJ, Mass in 90*+ heat with springs drying up I couldn't get any rain. However in Maine when the temp dropped into the 50s and 60s it rained about every other day including some storms that dumped a lot of water. I hiked into monson in the remnants of hurricane Earle, somebody told me we got around 10 inches of rain. Most of that morning the trail was covered in ankle deep water, and wouldn't you know it as soon as I got to town it stopped raining and the sun came out. The forecast is rarely accurate especially in higher elevations, so I never checked it.