View Full Version : 2 Seventeen year olds- Hiking from Start for 3 weeks....

09-06-2012, 19:39
Hello all,

Me and my friend are Juniors in High school, both 17, and are planning on hiking the AT from Springer until wherever 3 weeks takes us. We are not newbies, we have both been to Philmont scout Ranch in NM, and Northern Tier reservation in Canada. (not hiking, but still wilderness). We are going to start at the end of May, since that is when summer starts for us. We are planning on bringing two Enos and a Tarp w/ Stakes for shelter, stacking the Hammocks on top of each other so there is no need for two tarps. I have hiked the AT for many weekends, but only weekend trips, never longer on the AT. Just asking for tips, tricks, and most of all where will we be in 3 weeks? How much food should we ship and how much should we buy along the way? Should we stop at hotels? And how many? Just asking for some tips from people who have done this part of the trail, and people that have much more knowledge than 2 young guys do :D...

Thanks in advance!!!

kayak karl
09-06-2012, 19:49
go to home page and look down on left at menu for info or buy a guide book. that will help a lot.

tarps don't weight that much, take your own. in a wind driven rain the bottom person will get soaked. what are you using for insulation for your hammocks. nights maybe 50? (somebody correct me if i'm wrong)


09-06-2012, 19:49
3 weeks? You should be at or beyond Hot Springs, NC by then (YMMV). Check out the AT Re-supply information at this link:


I wouldn't worry about maildrops for food. Plenty of places to get it along the way. Kt will take some planning. Pick up an AT guidebook for that. It's a good investment.


09-06-2012, 19:59
Thanks for the quick replies, We will both have 30 degree bags also. Now that I think about it, we should take two tarps... Thanks for the link also!

kayak karl
09-06-2012, 20:05
on weekend, what kind of mileage did you do per day?

09-06-2012, 20:33
Not sure, it was a fast paced hike I would say though, probably 13-15 miles a day.

09-06-2012, 20:43
One maildrop to Fontana before heading into the Smokies, other than that no others needed. Not that is matters, but rememer, the trail will be crowded that time of year! Have fun!!

09-06-2012, 21:01
Question... Could we make it to Johnson City TN? And thanks again for the info guys. Also one more thing. If we didn't start at Springer, say we started somewhere else nearby...what is the best?

09-06-2012, 21:10
You'll end up anywhere between Fontana Dam and Erwin.

Take separate tarps.

Buy food along the way. See the resupply article on the main page of this site. Plenty of options.

You'll probably want to stay at the occasional hostel or motel. Hostels aren't expensive. Hotels and motels can be. Suggestions: Neels Gap, Blueberry Patch, one of the hiker motels in Franklin, the bunkhouse at NOC, Elmer's in Hot Springs. You sure don't have to stay at any or all of these -- they are just places that have a good rep among hikers.

Get the Thru-Hiker's Companion or the AT Guide. It'll have all the info you need.

It's a great section, and May is a nice time to hike it. Have fun.

09-06-2012, 21:10
Oh, and start at Springer. Might as well begin at the beginning, you know?

Don H
09-06-2012, 21:40
Erwin, the trail town closest to Johnson City is 339 miles from Springer. If you don't waste time in towns and average a little more than 15 miles a day you could make it. You might want to think about extending your trip a few days for a cushion. You'll enjoy the trip more if you're not pushing too hard.

How many mile trek did you do at Philmont? I'm going next year as an advisor.

Papa D
09-06-2012, 23:34
you're in Roswell, GA -- hmm - - p/m me, I'll help you out if you like - you should be able to do 115 miles per week in 3 weeks based on what you stated - that would put you around Erwin, TN.

09-07-2012, 08:18
Have you slept in a hammock in the cold before? Your back can get cold, where the sleeping bag is compressed. You've got fall and winter to go through before your hike, so find a backyard to sleep in on a chilly night between now and then, to test your system if you haven't already.

Springer is a great place to start, especially since the first day is kind of easy (once you get up Springer itself), helps you warm up. (Well, if you're young and fit, a day of hiking is probably a lot longer for you than it is for me, and you may not need the warm-up, but it's pretty up there.)

If you haven't done much backpacking before, then don't fuss too much about a set schedule. Buy your food along the way, and adjust your plans as you go. Base your miles on what you want to hike, rather than any arbitrary number you think up while sitting at home. Let it be an adventure!

And have fun! I wish I'd tried it when I was young age!