View Full Version : When should I start?

Wandering Deer
06-11-2013, 01:43
I just did a section hike worth 80 miles encompassing the entire Connecticut portion of the AT, and parts of MA, and NY. After such, I've decided to consider a thru-hike in 2014 because even after 80 miles of brutal hiking, I still wanted more. When I was out there, I met a NOBO thru-hiker near the southern Connecticut border who started February 9th, and ended up with trench foot, and I mean, he lost toe nails, and could end up losing his feet because of it. I'm particularly concerned with just exactly when I should start. I don't want to hike in ankle deep snow, and colder temperatures (below 30) concern me. Rain isn't a huge problem for me, but as you can see, it can become a huge problem for some people if the right precautions aren't taken. Can someone help paint a seasonal weather pattern for me? If I start in February, March, April, or May, what would I expect for each in terms of weather state by state going NOBO from Georgia to Maine?

06-11-2013, 07:02
In New England, it could be all seasons in a week, or even a day. Seriously, I have literally frozen at night after a 90 degree day. So in NH and Maine, plan for it all.

06-11-2013, 07:14
From Mid-March to Mid April is the best time to start, if you don't like hiking in cold weather if so start in Mid Feb, On all three of my thru's i started in Feb with no problems.

06-11-2013, 07:48
And also it depends if you want to hike with a lot of people or just a few, if you are looking for more of a solitude, solo hike start early. Trench foot happens when you don't allow your feet to air out and change into dry socks, this is what camp shoes are for.

06-11-2013, 12:16
Every year is different. This year starting in Mid April turned out to be good. The weather is running 2-3 weeks behind normal this year, so starting mid April was like starting April 1st, weather wise.

Typcially, those who start sometime in early to mid April have much better weather (and a much better chance of staying on the trail) then those who start sometime in March or earlier.

06-11-2013, 17:55
If I were starting a thru hike, I would either start at Springer in late April, or start in Harper's Ferry in early May (and hike to Maine, then flip back to HF and hike to Springer.)

Just got back from a sobo week long hike in central VA, and met a lot of thru-hikers. Some had started in early March, and many others in mid to late April, and they were within a few miles of each other -- the early starters had some tough going this year.

The flipflop hike has several advantages -- get through the mid Atlantic states before it gets too hot, and "finish" twice.