View Full Version : New to trail and planning 45 day hike--suggestions?

01-31-2012, 16:47
I plan on leaving mid-May from Georgia or thereabouts.

Never hiked the trail before.

I would be eager to hear people's thoughts on where to start (if not at the trail head at Springer) and where I should reasonably aim for in a 45 day hike.

Any other suggestions are very welcome. Good places to plan a rest day, sp[ots not to miss, etc.

Thanks for your time and thoughts.

Happy trails,


01-31-2012, 17:52
i met a guy who planned to hike from Springer to Erwin in about 30 days, weather depending, etc., Smoky Mtn.NP did not have pre-registration rules at that time...good luck

01-31-2012, 17:59
Might as well start at Springer, if you have a time limit, and hike as far as you can. It will be pretty hot, muggy and buggy in Ga. in May, though, with lots of thunderstorms and, possibly, tornadoes.

Personally, to make the most of the season that you have, I think I'd start at the Massachusetts/Ct. border (well, Rte. 41 in Mass.) and hike north. Some of the early NOBOS may catch up to you, but the trail will not have hit its busy time in New England. There may still be lots of folks on the southern AT (people who realize they aren't hiking fast enough or left too late to finish a thru. but aren't quite ready to head home, as well as the usual weekenders).

01-31-2012, 18:02
hey.... first thing would be pack lite as possible... town is always a couple days away... get ready for the most amazing adventure cause the trail is beautiful and full of goals and learning about yourself. Start at Springer Mt and just go as far as you can... your gonna be able to get farther than u think.. past Damascus, Va there is GreysonHighlands...a very lovely strech from Ervwin ,Tn too over Roan and the balds.. Remember its Your hike... hike your own hike is number one. Yes hikers rock but make your own way..and remember the trail provides... and use the AT guide its the best book for the AT. Dont feel bad if you only tear out what u need pounds equal pain... stay under thirty and you will be good. GA to ME 2011

01-31-2012, 18:14
Starting at Springer, in 45 days I'd predict you'll reach Atkins, the southernmost crossing of I-81. That's about a 12 mpd average. A lot depends on your conditioning beforehand, how much stronger you get as the hike proceeds (you will get stronger), and how many, if any, zeros and neros you do. Atkins is a logical endpoint in that you should get past Damascus but after Atkins, it's another 87 miles to Pearisburg, the next viable ending point.

Might as well start at Springer, if you have a time limit, and hike as far as you can. It will be pretty hot, muggy and buggy in Ga. in May, though, with lots of thunderstorms and, possibly, tornadoes...

Tinker, keep in mind that the OP is from New Orleans so I don't think the alleged "hot & muggy" Georgia mountains will bother him. And I'll let GA folks chime in but I didn't think the bugs are bad then.

01-31-2012, 20:03
Start at Springer and aim for Damascus. You'll end up somewhere in that general location. Great section. Good time of year.

Wizard 2009
01-31-2012, 22:39
says you never hiked on the AT before, any other experiences that come close to this? If this is your first major long-distance section of hiking I would low ball it and head for Damascus. This is not because i don't think you'll make it, but IMHO it would really make your first long distance trek more enjoyable and make you want to come back for more. You could really enjoy the southern Appalachians without feeling rushed. Additionally, if you plan for Damascus but make it to Adkins, that section is an added bonus.

If you do have prior long-distance experience, please disregard my post.

01-31-2012, 22:55
IMO i don't think making it to Damascus in 45 days is "low balling" i would consider it about avg. for thruhikers
aitkins in 45 days IMO would be a good strong hike for you
3 weeks to NFG
4 weeks to Hot Springs
5-6 weeks to Damascus
i did say AVG. it could be as low as 3-4 weeks to damascus, for some :-)
hikers tend to take a few days off early in the hike

02-03-2012, 23:56
There is a big difference between leaving Springer in early May and late May in terms of heat, so if you plan on leaving in late May you may wish to start further north, say Hot Springs. In terms of being around other people, there won't be many hikers around if you leave in May unless you move fairly efficiently, which is probably unlikely for someone new to long-distance hiking (not sure of your experience).

I always think a good way to budget distance is weekly not daily, so I would recommend planning on hiking a 6 days a week, around 15 miles per day, as a conservative rule. Very few people hike more than about 4-6 days straight before taking a half-day off, or entire day off. In my opinion, starting from Springer in early May would be a great choice, if you are talking later I might recommend moving further north. You will have a lot of daylight so you will have time to make miles if you want to.

From Springer, you could reach anywhere from Damascus (465) to Troutville (720) miles, you will figure it out when you get out there. Some people think 15 miles is a long day, some do it before lunch, it depends on you. I think Atkins to Pearisburg is the likely target for 45 days for most people.