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  1. #1

    Default Any January Starters?

    Just curious, do we have anyone else that plans on starting NOBO in January? January 1st?
    "Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither." - Benjamin Franklin

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunner1776 View Post
    Just curious, do we have anyone else that plans on starting NOBO in January? January 1st?
    Hey Gunner: I have flight reservations into Atlanta on January 9th with a shuttle from Hartsfield to Springer, but I will make a "game time decision" after the first of the year based on snow, ice, and temps. I've been watching the weather and it was 50 degrees on most of the southern trail today. If it remains unseasonably warm, I will step off Springer headed north.

    However, if the snow and ice accumulations make it prohibitive, I will either hike the Florida trail or the Palmetto trail until mid-March. Then I will bounce up to Springer. My Jan/Mar pre-hike is to work out any kinks in my equipment and work on conditioning for an extended hike.

    I thought I saw where you were considering the FT in January. Did I misread?

    Tabasco

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gunner1776 View Post
    Just curious, do we have anyone else that plans on starting NOBO in January? January 1st?
    This should be interesting. Last year I tried to follow all the AT Trail Journals starting in January and came up with NOTHING. The Polar Vortex really sorted them out and shut down their grand plans etc.

  4. #4

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    The problem is, it might be kinda nice at the start of the trail in early January, but once you get into the real mountains of North Carolina and winter kicks in big time in February, your in trouble.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    The problem is, it might be kinda nice at the start of the trail in early January, but once you get into the real mountains of North Carolina and winter kicks in big time in February, your in trouble.
    I love it when the Trail Journal thruhiker has 100 pre-trip posts leading up to a winter start and then they do 2 days on the trail and DISAPPEAR off the interweb and they post a short final sentence about bailing permanently. Dangit, it's never as bad as they make it out to be. It's not a Denali winter ascent.

    When the bad stuff kicks in big time, know it is temporary and sit put in basecamp tent mode and wait it out. Then start up again.

  6. #6

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    We're start on 12/30. Don't listen to what anybody tells you about the weather. None of them know what the weather will be like, or when anything will happen. Be smart, prepared for the worst, and have extra food. We're allowing ourselves until July to finish, and that should give us plenty of time in case bad weather comes. Most winter thru-hikers aren't prepared, and the ones that think they are still aren't. We think we are, and I'm sure we'll have to make some changes. ALWAYS HAVE A DRY CHANGE OF CLOTHING FOR CAMP!!!!!!
    AT15
    OT15

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boots and Backpacks View Post
    We're start on 12/30. Don't listen to what anybody tells you about the weather. None of them know what the weather will be like, or when anything will happen. Be smart, prepared for the worst, and have extra food. We're allowing ourselves until July to finish, and that should give us plenty of time in case bad weather comes. Most winter thru-hikers aren't prepared, and the ones that think they are still aren't. We think we are, and I'm sure we'll have to make some changes. ALWAYS HAVE A DRY CHANGE OF CLOTHING FOR CAMP!!!!!!
    I hope to be out the same exact time so we can compare notes at the end. My goal is to find the highest mountains in TN and NC and take my new Voile snow shovel and pray for a series of stupendous blizzards with very low temps and hope for a tough couple weeks on snow-blocked ridges. I want to get snowed in but I'll have my geese and my microspikes and my Hilleberg tent. Did I mention the geese?

    You're right, there's no way to know what's coming after Christmas weather-wise, but with a little luck we'll get another polar vortex and achieve some sort of nirvana above 5,000 feet. After last year's Polar Rectum I think I can handle whatever comes and eagerly want to see my fellow backpackers bail off the mountains in a howling fit. Not you guys though, but all others.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I hope to be out the same exact time so we can compare notes at the end. My goal is to find the highest mountains in TN and NC and take my new Voile snow shovel and pray for a series of stupendous blizzards with very low temps and hope for a tough couple weeks on snow-blocked ridges. I want to get snowed in but I'll have my geese and my microspikes and my Hilleberg tent. Did I mention the geese?

    You're right, there's no way to know what's coming after Christmas weather-wise, but with a little luck we'll get another polar vortex and achieve some sort of nirvana above 5,000 feet. After last year's Polar Rectum I think I can handle whatever comes and eagerly want to see my fellow backpackers bail off the mountains in a howling fit. Not you guys though, but all others.
    I hope you do...many here love the photologs.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rocketsocks View Post
    I hope you do...many here love the photologs.
    Snow pics with a tent nearby are always the best.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Snow pics with a tent nearby are always the best.
    Wish I'd have shot more pics in my younger days when most of my hikin' was done. I do need to find what I do have, a small collection as it is.

  11. #11
    Registered User Honuben's Avatar
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    I would love to read blogs from early starters and hope and wish for the best of luck and weather for all of those. Good luck to you all starting early and cold. I will be drinking my coffee in my undies as you having fun outsde.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    I hope to be out the same exact time so we can compare notes at the end. My goal is to find the highest mountains in TN and NC and take my new Voile snow shovel and pray for a series of stupendous blizzards with very low temps and hope for a tough couple weeks on snow-blocked ridges. I want to get snowed in but I'll have my geese and my microspikes and my Hilleberg tent. Did I mention the geese?

    You're right, there's no way to know what's coming after Christmas weather-wise, but with a little luck we'll get another polar vortex and achieve some sort of nirvana above 5,000 feet. After last year's Polar Rectum I think I can handle whatever comes and eagerly want to see my fellow backpackers bail off the mountains in a howling fit. Not you guys though, but all others.
    When looking through all the threads of people who plan on starting around the New Year. You can tell who the ones are that are ready for hell, and those who aren't. We're carrying all the warmth (we hope) that we think we'll need. Some people should wait until March to start, especially those that are asking what the weather will be like. If you don't know what the weather is going to be like in January or February you clearly haven't done your homework, and that scares me. All anybody knows is that it's going to be cold, and colder than hell some nights. I see people starting in March with nothing more than a base layer and running shorts, and I wonder just how prepared they actually are?

    We're still debating on if we should pack in a roll up sled or not. Sledding down Max Patch does sound like a blast in free powder.
    AT15
    OT15

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boots and Backpacks View Post
    When looking through all the threads of people who plan on starting around the New Year. You can tell who the ones are that are ready for hell, and those who aren't. We're carrying all the warmth (we hope) that we think we'll need. Some people should wait until March to start, especially those that are asking what the weather will be like. If you don't know what the weather is going to be like in January or February you clearly haven't done your homework, and that scares me. All anybody knows is that it's going to be cold, and colder than hell some nights. I see people starting in March with nothing more than a base layer and running shorts, and I wonder just how prepared they actually are?

    We're still debating on if we should pack in a roll up sled or not. Sledding down Max Patch does sound like a blast in free powder.
    Severe cold is one thing and a backpacker willing to carry the gear (geese, bag, pad etc) can get thru a "coldstorm" even down to -10F. Deep snow on mountain ridges and getting thru leaning collapsed rhododendron is another thing entirely and it is what usually causes most backpackers to bail into the closest town.

    I call it being "land locked" when you're camping on top of a 4,000 or 5,000 foot ridge after an all-night snowstorm with 2 feet of the white stuff. Where are you now? You're locked inside Miss Nature's deep freeze whereby going in any direction is a tough slog requiring herculean effort. Postholing in 2-3 feet of snow is exquisitely demented and I feel lucky to go 3 or 4 miles in the stuff, and then needing my snow shovel if I plan on staying on the ridge to make another night's camp. I like to dig out to the ground for my tent.

    The AT is known as the Green Tunnel and here the other big problem comes with a heavy new snow---Snowdowns. The green tunnel collapses on itself with heavy snow and you have a 3 feet high trail tunnel to get thru which must be done on your hands and knees with a pack on your back. What fun. Wear your rain jacket otherwise all the snow will fall down your neck. And prepare to break a sweat. And practice your swear words at home now as you'll be using them soon enough.

    Another phenom happens for winter backpacking---You get caught in a nasty winter storm and lose hope that it will ever end. You set up your tent as the temps drop to Zero and the tent gets set in concrete and 2 feet of snow falls and you wake up to the bleak prospect of going no where this day. Here is where it becomes a mental game as you need to sit put and zero out a couple days until conditions change for the better and you can move. The bleak "all is lost!" mindset is what causes most backpackers to bail off the trail and do everything possible to get into a town. DON'T DO IT!

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    Severe cold is one thing and a backpacker willing to carry the gear (geese, bag, pad etc) can get thru a "coldstorm" even down to -10F. Deep snow on mountain ridges and getting thru leaning collapsed rhododendron is another thing entirely and it is what usually causes most backpackers to bail into the closest town.

    I call it being "land locked" when you're camping on top of a 4,000 or 5,000 foot ridge after an all-night snowstorm with 2 feet of the white stuff. Where are you now? You're locked inside Miss Nature's deep freeze whereby going in any direction is a tough slog requiring herculean effort. Postholing in 2-3 feet of snow is exquisitely demented and I feel lucky to go 3 or 4 miles in the stuff, and then needing my snow shovel if I plan on staying on the ridge to make another night's camp. I like to dig out to the ground for my tent.

    The AT is known as the Green Tunnel and here the other big problem comes with a heavy new snow---Snowdowns. The green tunnel collapses on itself with heavy snow and you have a 3 feet high trail tunnel to get thru which must be done on your hands and knees with a pack on your back. What fun. Wear your rain jacket otherwise all the snow will fall down your neck. And prepare to break a sweat. And practice your swear words at home now as you'll be using them soon enough.

    Another phenom happens for winter backpacking---You get caught in a nasty winter storm and lose hope that it will ever end. You set up your tent as the temps drop to Zero and the tent gets set in concrete and 2 feet of snow falls and you wake up to the bleak prospect of going no where this day. Here is where it becomes a mental game as you need to sit put and zero out a couple days until conditions change for the better and you can move. The bleak "all is lost!" mindset is what causes most backpackers to bail off the trail and do everything possible to get into a town. DON'T DO IT!
    We've been there before, and on the AT as well. We had a bad storm that caught us the way from Davenport to Hot Springs. It dumped about 18" of snow on us over night, lots of down trees, and plenty of post holing after a couple days. Snow stops falling, it melts, and the next day will come. We're not afraid to sit in town for a couple days it we have to, and we're prepared to be stuff in a shelter/tent from time to time. These are the facts of life when you're living on the AT for months on end. I'm luck to have someone with me, and we'll push each other too. One thing that always keeps us going is getting to that next town. If it's freezing cold, or you're just having a crappy section. Think about that next town, the hot shower, cold beer, and PIZZA. I know we're going to see some bad weather, but we'll be as prepared as we can be.

    We have hiking clothes, and camp clothes that are in a dry sack. Camp clothes will include mid-weight base layer (top & bottom), down pants, and or rain pants if need be. Top is just about the same with a mid-weight, wool sweater, down jacket, and rain jacket if need be. Separate camp socks, down booties, zero degree bags, and insulated pads.

    It's going to be a blast.
    AT15
    OT15

  15. #15
    Registered User Cadenza's Avatar
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    I understand through hiking the AT is a different kind of experience, but the whole concept of "getting to the next town" is so foreign to me.
    My whole reason for being in the woods is to get OUT OF TOWN.

    Back in 2009 and 2010 my best friend spent a year camping continuously in the Cherokee National Forest. Though he has returned to civilization (if you can call the New York City area civilized!) he still reminisces about being in the woods.
    I'm thinking about dropping out of the rat race and retiring to the woods. For as long as I can function, manage my gear, cook, gather firewood, and survive,.....I see little point in getting to the next town.

  16. #16
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    i don't look at it as "getting to the next town", but the next resupply. was never in a hurry, but if i have 5 days of food i would like to be to the next town in 5 days, give or take a few hours.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cadenza View Post
    I understand through hiking the AT is a different kind of experience, but the whole concept of "getting to the next town" is so foreign to me.
    My whole reason for being in the woods is to get OUT OF TOWN.

    Back in 2009 and 2010 my best friend spent a year camping continuously in the Cherokee National Forest. Though he has returned to civilization (if you can call the New York City area civilized!) he still reminisces about being in the woods.
    I'm thinking about dropping out of the rat race and retiring to the woods. For as long as I can function, manage my gear, cook, gather firewood, and survive,.....I see little point in getting to the next town.
    I thought about making the same comment as yours---but then I realized this is a Class of 2015 AT thruhike thread and ya gotta remember, the AT folk love to carry minimal food and seem motivated solely to reach the next town and the next hot pizza. This is foreign to me also but it's the way thruhikers roll as we will never get them staying out with 21 days worth of food and avoiding yellow blazing and hitching as much as possible.

    Frequent resupply and very frequent motel stays and hot restaurant food (and the UL packs which go with such hiking) is the norm nowadays, especially for winter backpackers. It's really a form of "snippet backpacking" whereby they take tiny bites of uninterrupted "wilderness" travel and then bail for resupply, motel stays and laundry mats.

    I read a book called Awol On the Appalachian Trail by David Miller and was blown away by his near constant town visits, motel stays and frequent slackpacking. Of course, here's an apt quote from him on page 122---

    "Sometimes I want to be done faster . . . ." DAVID MILLER.

    And this jewel---

    "Why did I leave town? I could still be sleeping in a comfortable motel bed in Front Royal." DAVID MILLER, page 147.

    It boggles the mind.

  18. #18
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    the one thing about winter camping that too often gets overlooked (imo) is the incredible amount of downtime in the winter when it gets dark at 5 - 6 PM. I don't like night hiking so I like to set up about an hour or so before dark.When temperatures gets to freezing and below, a fire that is generated by the sticks and twigs one can collect around a campsite doesn't generate sufficient heat. I take a headlamp and try to read some but I have been in my bag as early as 5PM. I have woken up to handle the inevitable "nature call" at night thinking it was probably around 1 or 2 am but my watch tells me it is only 9:48 PM or so. That makes for a very long night. And the one thing I most dislike about winter hiking. I do love the absence of bugs. and people.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by 4shot View Post
    the one thing about winter camping that too often gets overlooked (imo) is the incredible amount of downtime in the winter when it gets dark at 5 - 6 PM. I don't like night hiking so I like to set up about an hour or so before dark.When temperatures gets to freezing and below, a fire that is generated by the sticks and twigs one can collect around a campsite doesn't generate sufficient heat. I take a headlamp and try to read some but I have been in my bag as early as 5PM. I have woken up to handle the inevitable "nature call" at night thinking it was probably around 1 or 2 am but my watch tells me it is only 9:48 PM or so. That makes for a very long night. And the one thing I most dislike about winter hiking. I do love the absence of bugs. and people.
    You're right about the down time. There's still many hours of daylight for hiking though, but then again, the hardest part of winter backpacking is packing up in the morning. It tests the feet and hands right off the bat from a sitting state and winter is all about the feet and hands.

    I have no trouble with the added hours of darkness as I like to read so I take books or "internet book rolls" to read and BURN BABY BURN. Nothing is carried for long but in the meantime I get in some good reading. And then there's the little Sangean radio with the headphones and/or speaker. Then there's the trail journal which requires some effort to keep up to date. And then there's the camera to ponder and review.

    And food galore---always snacking or cooking up something---morning tea with honey, evening pot cozy meal---no-cook foods the rest of the time.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    You're right about the down time. There's still many hours of daylight for hiking though, but then again, the hardest part of winter backpacking is packing up in the morning. It tests the feet and hands right off the bat from a sitting state and winter is all about the feet and hands.

    I have no trouble with the added hours of darkness as I like to read so I take books or "internet book rolls" to read and BURN BABY BURN. Nothing is carried for long but in the meantime I get in some good reading. And then there's the little Sangean radio with the headphones and/or speaker. Then there's the trail journal which requires some effort to keep up to date. And then there's the camera to ponder and review.

    And food galore---always snacking or cooking up something---morning tea with honey, evening pot cozy meal---no-cook foods the rest of the time.
    Nothing worse than having to put on frozen boots in morning after you break them free from the ground. The first mile is like walking on a 2x4 until the thaw out.
    AT15
    OT15

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