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  1. #1

    Default Mid. Feb. start - weather and other things...

    I plan to start on or about the 18th of Feb. 2015.
    Yes, it is winter and I know the weather could be ruff. It could also be blue sky an just a little cold...(ha,ha)
    I have the gear for sleeping warm ( hammock,uq,tq,liners,etc. ) got down jacket and water/wind breaker. got the greatest winter boots ever made with wool socks, liners, gators, and water proof over pants, etc. Got dynema backpack and pack liner/cover.
    got 3 ways to start a fire. stove and all the high $ (non-cotton) cloths. Been doing the hiking thing for some time now.....

    WHAT I DO NOT HAVE IS GOOD INTEL ON WHAT THE WEATHER IS GOING TO BE LIKE AND THE OPENESS OF RESUPPLY PLACES THIS EARLY IN THE PRE-SEASON...

    If anyone knows about the open/close of the main resupply places from Springer to Fontana in Feb. let me know.
    I have seen some do not start opening till Feb. 20th or even a little later. I am looking for detail......thanks....
    There are wonders out there, now to find them.

  2. #2
    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    You can check various weather data at Weather Underground. As far as if various resupply will be open, get your copy of the Thru-Hikers Companion or AWOL's AT Guide.
    Blackheart

  3. #3

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    Resupply should not be a problem and most hostels are open for your start. Check out Hudsons Trailjournal. He started February 3rd this year.

    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=442067
    Order your copy of the Appalachian Trail Passport at www.ATPassport.com

    Green Mountain House Hostel
    Manchester Center, VT

    http://www.greenmountainhouse.net

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by hikehunter View Post
    got the greatest winter boots ever made
    What kind of boots do you have?

  5. #5
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Most resupply is in towns at regular grocery stores, like in Hiawassee or Franklin, and they will be open. Enough hikers are starting in February these days that the hostels and other services should be open, too.

    Expect cold nights, cool or cold days, snow, and freezing rain. Temps will be all over the place from day to day; I've had lows in the single digits and highs in the 70s. March is the most common month for heavy snow, so just be aware of that as you enter the Smokies.

    Have fun, it's a great time to be on the trail.


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    Our Long Trail journal

  6. #6

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    So, what's the greatest winter boots ever made? Do you have a brand name?

    Forecasting the weather for February is a pipe dream. Just tackle it with the best winter gear you're willing to carry. There are 3 scenarios---

    ** Pleasant sunny conditions at around 45F during the day and 20F at night.
    ** Hell blizzards with 2 feet of snow on the ridgetops causing postholing and "snowdowns"---whereby the green tunnel of the trail collapses due to snow weight and you have to crawl on your hands and knees for a couple miles here and there to get thru it.
    ** Deep cold events like the Polar Vortex of last January whereby the temps dip to 0F or below. Ever camp in -10F?

    Postholing sucks, of course, but nobody I know in the Southeast carries snowshoes. We do carry Kahtoola microspikes and they are worth their weight in gold when the trail turns slick and icy. There's no solution to snowdowns and crawling except to pull a couple blizzard days in your tent as zeros. Most backpackers quickly bail to the nearest town when conditions go south---deep snow and severe cold events.

    Why bail? I mean, you're on a winter backpacking trip. Take it all in and sit put and DON'T BAIL!

    My February trips always include my full overkill winter kit---spikes, down parka, overkill down bag (WM Puma -15F rated), high Rvalue sleeping pad, four season tent for ridgetop camping in 60mph blizzards, down pants, down booties, two warm hats with balaclava, two pair of gloves, etc. You get the idea. The harsher the cold, the more your pack will weigh. It's simple geometry.

  7. #7

    Cool

    Red Wing had been doing hiking and work boots for more than 40 years. They are some of the best for hiking in rough cold and wet. I have used other "super brand" names; they do a very good light summer type...and trail runner. I am talking about a full on winter/wet boot that does not leak....
    Yes, they are on the heavy side... winter gear is all on the heavy side......

    Case & Point:

    I was hiking with a BSA group in the GSMNP a few years ago after the big winds.


    We were past Clingmans Dome... and going down to Elkmount.

    Rain had started sometime in the early morning before breakfast...
    We started the last 18 plus miles....in the rain. This was not a drizzle..... it was a full on let us water the lawn down pour... After the first few miles we found that the trail was GONE!...wind and rain had taken it away.... climbing over and under trees and crap...we found part of the trail....still in the rain...
    6 to 8 inch water in the trail....it was like walking in a stream.....my feet still dry....everything else soaked into the bone...
    My son had the same boots....still feet dry...
    Just before we got to the old railroad bed part of the trail...we had to climb over a massive tree.............
    on the other side a small pond almost knee hight and covering more than and acre in front of us,
    I had no choice... had to take the plunge....(well up and over went the water)......
    same for my son.... everyone else had been wet to the toes for hours before....I had been toe dry till the big dip....
    By the way...my boots were more than 5 years old... my son's were only a few months old....they preformed the same..... till the water got too deep.... gaters would have been washed away....
    Heavy - leather boots with gaters....that is the way I roll in the cold wet winter.

    There are wonders out there, now to find them.

  8. #8

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    Many serious winter backpackers have found boots which work for them and generally they are not Red Wings. Many companies make good winter boots like Baffin boots, Asolo, Kamik, North Face, Zamberlan, etc. For an example, see---

    http://woodtrekker.blogspot.com/2013...ing-boots.html

    My go-to winter boot is a lightweight goretex Asolo Fugitive, good enough down to 0F with Kahtoola microspikes.

    When you say Red Wing, you may be talking about Vasque boots as Red Wing makes Vasque.

    http://www.vasque.com/USD/activities...H3BFbtDqE69Jsd

    All these boots are made by Red Wing.

  9. #9
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    I wear Sorrels for winter hiking in the Whites. But that's day hiking, not long distance hiking. I really have trouble imagining a thru-hike through snow, in the dead of winter.

    In the Whites I usually carry multiple traction devices. Microspikes, crampons, and ascent snowshoes. When trail is unbroken, the going gets to be really slow. If you're on a well traveled, "broken" trail you may get by with just the spikes or crampons, or maybe just the boots.

    If you're looking for weather predictions (IMO) you're already on the wrong track. You need to be prepared for the worst, and expect extreme variations in weather and temperature at least through the first few weeks of April.

  10. #10

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    Yes, it is winter and the weather WILL BE rough.

    Starting out in Georgia in Mid Feb, the weather will be not too bad most of the time. Your far enough south and the ridge line isn't at too great an elevation. But then you hit the high elevations of North Carolina at the beginning of March and it's a whole different world. It's not really the snow you have to worry about, it's the near freezing rain which cuts to the bone and there will be plenty of that to deal with.
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  11. #11
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rafe View Post
    I wear Sorrels for winter hiking in the Whites. But that's day hiking, not long distance hiking. I really have trouble imagining a thru-hike through snow, in the dead of winter.

    In the Whites I usually carry multiple traction devices. Microspikes, crampons, and ascent snowshoes. When trail is unbroken, the going gets to be really slow. If you're on a well traveled, "broken" trail you may get by with just the spikes or crampons, or maybe just the boots.

    If you're looking for weather predictions (IMO) you're already on the wrong track. You need to be prepared for the worst, and expect extreme variations in weather and temperature at least through the first few weeks of April.
    This.

    We northerners don't do long-distance hiking in the winter. We switch to doing day trips, overnights, short weekend jaunts, mostly peakbagging. I bring the same gear rafe does.: pac boots, snowshoes, crampons Also, if you need crampons and not just spikes, you need an ice axe and the training to use it. (You can't just pick up self-arrest by reading about it! You need to practice with a teacher.)

    Here in NY it's illegal to be out without snowshoes or skis in the State Forest Preserve once there's 8 or more inches of snow on the trails. The rangers will look the other way if you're using crampons when they're warranted. But too many people going barebooted pack the trail into a skating rink and leave tripping hazards for everyone.

    The part I hate is when the snow is melting and the trail turns to a monorail, with packed snow and ice a foot over the surrounding terrain. Travel winds up being impossible late in the day, because the ice turns to slush and crampons simply won't grip. Here's the monorail on an old logging road,. I could see snowshoe prints sticking up out of the ice, because there's more snow in the prints. (The wind blows in and they wind up level with the surrounding snow, and then the next hiker comes along and packs them down again, and so on.) You can also see that it was getting to be just about time to go home - my boots were starting to break through the 'snowcrete'.

    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  12. #12

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    The main reason I posted was to get folks to respond.... Yes, the are a few great producers of hiking boots....
    Some are better than others..... some are made for winter, some for summer, some for a hybrid.... VERY few hybrid work well.... and even fewer for a long term use. The "old school" hard leather upper boots offer a better "waterproofness" than the lighter woven material boots. I like warm and dry feet. In the summer...yes! lighter, more breathable can do fine... remember, that most of what is out there had been marketed very well.... just because and add says it will do this or that......could be a bit of a "fib"....
    "tried and true" if it works....and has worked for many, many years... it might be worth taking a look at it....

    There are wonders out there, now to find them.

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