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  1. #1
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    Default Worst AT terrain?

    Kinda curious as to what people thought was the worst kind of terrain on the trail. On my last section hike, I encountered a combination of jagged rocks jutting up from the ground at 90 degree angles, furniture sized boulders, tree roots, grassy paths through the balds where the footpath was only 7" wide, fist sized rocks that dared me to set my foot down, parts where the trail hadn't been cut away and it seemed like you were bushwhacking through, and combinations of roots, rocks, and water.

    After rolling my ankles pretty badly on the fist sized rocks AND the grassy areas where the trail is dug 6" down with overgrown grass on each side (making it impossible to see how the ground falls off), I vote these as the WORST trail terrain. Beartown Mountain gets a respectable third with its overgrown trail encroachment.

  2. #2
    Registered User DavidNH's Avatar
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    Mahoosic Notch has to be right up there. Climbing around between over and under boulders! Then there's the places like the Kinsmans and a spot on Carter Ridge where you haul yourself up a vertical rock wall with the aid of a couple branches. South of all that the terrain is not so bad except where it's really steep. Like in North Carolina, and the damn pebbly rocks in eastern PA that destroy hikers boots!

  3. #3
    Registered User Old Hiker's Avatar
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    Has to be those sidewalk-flat areas just north of Thomas Knob shelter. The ones with the mud puddles. The slippery mud puddles.

    See my avatar. Nuff' said.
    Old Hiker
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  4. #4

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    I think when the trail is underwater, that is the worst kind of terrain.

  5. #5
    Registered User Kingbee's Avatar
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    Worst terrain so far in my sections has been NB going down Mt. Garfield in the rain. 1,000 ft. in 1/2 mile.

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  6. #6
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    The horse beaten AT in GSMNP and the hiker beaten AT in the Whites.

    I've been back to both parks a few times and make an effort to stay off the AT and on less beaten trails.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  7. #7

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    Having hiked for years in New England, when I finally started hiking in the south all I could think was "Wow, the trail down here is really easy".
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8
    Clueless Weekender
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    Worst in what sense? I'd incline to putting the "worst" label on some of the easy stretches, where the trail is more or less flat (if it's covered with irregular rock, so much the worse), there's nothing to see for miles, and when you do see something other than rocks and trees, it looks like the exact same tidy little farm that you saw two miles back.

    Although I admit that I don't appreciate it much when the trail breaks the promise that, "the stream has fewer bootprints and more trout, while with the trail it's the other way around."

    Mahoosuc Notch? The Wildcats? Beaver Brook? How can those be the "worst" stretches when they're so much fun to do?
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  9. #9
    Registered User No Directions's Avatar
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    Asphalt and concrete. Whenever the trail goes through a town or crosses a highway.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Having hiked for years in New England, when I finally started hiking in the south all I could think was "Wow, the trail down here is really easy".
    I share your sentiment, as do many of my hiking brethren who grew up hiking the Whites. That extends to many of the high peaks in the west also, although dealing with altitude is another matter altogether.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffmeh View Post
    .... That extends to many of the high peaks in the west also, although dealing with altitude is another matter altogether.
    I addressed that subject in the book, postulating that aside from acclimation to high elevation, no part of the Colorado Trail could be as difficult as the White Mountains and the southwestern portion of Maine. That was my pre-hike hypothesis and my post-hike conclusion! Some westerners are askance when I mention that. All I can say is go to New England with your backpack and experience it yourself, then report back to me.

  12. #12

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    Yes, the trail is very nice in Virginia: switchbacked and mostly smooth. On my recent southbound section, I really had to laugh when northbound thrus warned me of upcoming "rocky" sections. The first time it happened, I was expecting boulders, but what I saw wasn't a big deal at all.

  13. #13
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    I just got done hiking the 100MW (from mile marker 117....do the math??) and it was by far the hardest (most technical) terrain I've seen on the AT. Down south it is nothing to knock out 20-25 mile days but in the Barren-Chairback range we literally had to plan EVERY SINGLE STEP. That whole state is nothing but rocks, boulders, and roots! We did it in 5.5 days (including a summit of Katahdin) and were beat to a bloody pulp. If it weren't for two 25-mile days in the flats after chairback/white mountain, we'd have missed our flights back. That was the hardest 5.5 days of my life. We literally were on the trail by 5:30am and hiked until dark everyday (we did take breaks, though). I've never worked so hard for so little on a trail in my life.

  14. #14
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    While I can't speak for the entire AT, from what I have hiked, the northern part of Pennsylvania was the worst. The rocks felt like they were chiseled to points that stabbed into my feet. It was painful!

  15. #15
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    The horse beaten AT in GSMNP...
    If you're complaining about what horses do to the AT, apparently you haven't seen the rest of the park.

    I'll admit that I've not hiked the AT as it comes up out of Davenport Gap... but I've hiked most of the rest of the AT in GSMNP. The AT is generally in wonderful shape compared to the other trails horses are allowed on. If you want to see some horse beaten crap of a trail, try hiking Mt Serling Ridge.

  16. #16

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    Well, I can only speak to that which I have done on the AT, which weren't much...but the trail between say Wind Gap PA. and the Delaware Water Gap Kicked my butt big time. Boulders at Wolf rocks, and climbing outta Wind Gap, No problem....but those darn 3"-5" rocks that grow outta the ground and conspire to twist and turn you ankles a you walk through for miles and miles.....Relentless. But glad I did it.
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  17. #17
    Registered User Booksie's Avatar
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    Yes the walk form Wind Gap to Fox Gap is 8.5 miles of pain. I live close and don't think I want to that section again

  18. #18

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    the worst kind of terrain for me is when you have to go into town the walk on Pavement or concrete that really beats your feet up and hurts like HELL.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by RED-DOG View Post
    the worst kind of terrain for me is when you have to go into town the walk on Pavement or concrete that really beats your feet up and hurts like HELL.
    Especially if it's a hot steamy day that really sucks, I rather hike up the steepest MTS with roots and rocks than hike down a paved road to a town.

  20. #20
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    I have lived and hiked in the whites for 20 plus years and the rocks of PA are on my worst list. In the whites there is reasonable assumption that when i step on a rock that its not going anywhere, in PA it was the opposite. Step on rock in PA and you have to plan its going to move.

    I was also not a fan of some wet swampy sections in eastern NY where the walls of poison ivy vines were to either side of the trail corridor.

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