View Full Version : Help with Hiking

Jess F'in Jaycox
04-23-2012, 19:53
I am a brand new hiker looking to start out at Baxter. My intent is to do the Appalachian Trail, hopefully (if i can manage) to get to the Baxter Peak.
Is this something I can do in 3 or 4 days? How heavy should I pack? I am in decent shape, but is this even a reasonable goal for a newbie?

Please send your words of advice!!!
Thank You :):)

04-23-2012, 21:20
You might want to read around in the articles section and maybe check the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's site. That Baxter Peak is one tough mountain and the Appalchian Trail is over 2,000 miles long. Not sure which one you wanted to do in 3-4 days. Baxter Peak or the AT?

04-23-2012, 21:21
:welcome ten characters

Jess F'in Jaycox
04-23-2012, 21:28
I'm still trying to figure out which I want to do.....I'm not planning on going until the first week in June. I definitely want to start at Baxter State Park and I have read a bunch of material on Katahdin, I guess I'm looking for suggestions on a good hike to start me off.
Thanks for your feed back Pony!

04-23-2012, 21:56
First things first
Katahdin is the only mountain on the AT that can be legally closed to climbing at the discretion of the Baxter State Park Authority rangers
Therefore you have to be prepared to spend 3-4 days at the base of the mountain waiting for it to become legally climable
Traditionally SOBO hikers start from Katahdin Stream CG w/ a well stocked day pack , head up the AT/Hunt Trail to Baxter Peak and then back down
If you don't want to go up the same trail that you went down then Abol Slide is a nice uphill trail on that side of the mtn.
Once you get up onto Tableland you're in a much colder and windier world where you can quickly find yourself in a zero -viz situation even on days when the mountain is legally climbable .
Cairns are erected up there just for that reason But to use them properly you have to keep them in sight before zero -viz closes it all down
As a newbie hiker your safest bet is to get off the mountain and climb it another day .
Don't worry when you get into WMNF you'll have many opportunities to play follow the cairns
You're gonna need this to get a CS at BSP

Papa D
04-23-2012, 22:01
You sound a little half baked man - that isn't all bad - there have been tons of hikers that (and I mean this most kindly) started off fairly clueless and followed the white blazes (usually white paint markings that are hard to miss) from Maine to Georgia (or, more commonly, GA - ME). There are also a lot of people that spend a ton of time planning and know the trail inch by inch before they start and don't make it very far at all.

July is actually a great time to start a thru hike (going south - SOBO - ME-GA) - most people that are in shape (probably like you at 25) take about 5 months to complete the trip. Do a little research on this site and at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy site at: www.appalachiantrail.org (http://www.appalachiantrail.org)

You will need at a minimum the book called the Thru Hiker's Companion - - there are other competing guides out there, but this is really all you have to have in terms of a guidebook. You will need a 1) backpack, 2)sleeping bag in waterproof sack, pad, and probably a 3)tarp or a tent (people sometimes call this the "big three") - you will also need some non cotton clothing for warmth, a bag for food, rain gear, a headlamp, and probably some sort of backpacking stove to cook with - you can make a home made alcohol stove or buy one of many commercially made light backpacking stoves. A local outfitter store (preferably independently owned and not REI or a big box) can help you with gear. Most modern long distance hikers wear trail runner type shoes - - not boots.

You can hike the whole AT on a really skinny budget - hitchhike everywhere you need to go off the trail and really go on the cheap for about $2,000 or less but that is rare - - the average thru-hiker now days ends up spending about $2.00 per mile - which is about $4400.00 - - this is a lot cheaper than most people live on for 5 months anywhere else, by the way.

Don't let anyone make you feel dumb (including me) - do a little research but you don't have to know everything - like I said, the Thru-Hiker's Companion and some advice from fellow hikers will get you far - - really, the hardest part of hiking the AT is mental - if you really want it, it's there.

Hike your own hike and have fun.

Jess F'in Jaycox
04-24-2012, 12:20
Thanks PapaD, that is inspiring! I can do it, you make it sound much more basic than I am letting myself get worked up over. Im going to go up with the necessary tools and have a go..... Hiking the whole thing at once isnt do-able for me now, but I want to get the whole thing done eventually!

Jess F'in Jaycox
04-24-2012, 12:21
Thanks oldbear, I will make sure to keep myself safe, and think realistically! I like your trail suggestions, I dont mind hiking the same thing twice, you always catch new things the second time around!

Jess F'in Jaycox
04-24-2012, 12:38
papa d, what do you recommend as far as a stove? the alcohol stove seems the smallest and most appealing to a single hiker like myself.

04-24-2012, 13:46
These two articles from Backpacker Magazine are about all you need to know just starting out (ignore the pop-ups):

10 page article of hiking the Appalachian Trail (http://www.backpacker.com/november_2008_american_classic_hiking_the_appalach ian_trail/destinations/12530). Breaks down each of the major sections so you'll know what to expect plus trail etiquette.

Cold Weather Gear list (http://www.backpacker.com/november_08_pack_man_/articles/12659?page=4)from pack guru Winton Porter. Gloves and fleece beanie are givens. Add a trash compactor bag as a pack liner and a 100 weight fleece jacket if you're cold natured.

Of course none of this information is worth a toot unless you have the passion and attitude to succeed. Thru hiking the Appalachian Trail isn't a cake walk my friend.....


04-24-2012, 16:11
Welcome, I was in your exact same posiiton last year and reading what Spokes suggested was perfect for me and then starting to Hike ASAP. I would gladly meet you at Grand Central on a saturday at take the train to up to Pawling and hike 2 or 3 days on the AT...Lets chat

Feral Bill
04-24-2012, 16:38
A good start on backpacking would be a few days roaming around Harriman State Park in early summer. NYNJ trail conference will be happy to sell you their excellent maps. You can get there via LIRR and bus or train from NYC, and make as easy or hard a trip as you care to. There is a nice section of AT there as well as many other trails. There's no better place to learn the ropes.

05-21-2012, 20:09
I am a brand new hiker looking to start out at Baxter. My intent is to do the Appalachian Trail, hopefully (if i can manage) to get to the Baxter Peak.
Is this something I can do in 3 or 4 days? How heavy should I pack? I am in decent shape, but is this even a reasonable goal for a newbie?

Please send your words of advice!!!
Thank You :):)

Jess, i will be doing a section in July. Going from Bear Mtn to Pawling. August i will be going to Baxted staying KS campground 4 days, hiking katahdin. Very welcomedo join.

06-15-2012, 13:35
You need to carefully review all your gear before you buy it so that nothing breaks while you are in the most deserted part of the trail.
You need a guide book such as AWOL. Don't buy the Appalachian Trail Data Book. The Thru Hiker's Companion might be ok. It had a lot of inaccuracies when I used it.
A phone GPS is nice for finding unlisted food sources.
Use hiking poles. I have Leki poles, and the locking mechanisms are not made well.