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  1. #1
    Registered User dangerdave's Avatar
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    Default Changing Thru Plans to Save the AT

    Ok, let's discuss changing departure plans to mitigate the Bubble. For many, it might not be easy.

    How many of you who are planning a NOBO in the Bubble (late March or early April departure) would be willing to change your plans to help protect the AT and the wilderness it passes through?
    AKA "DANGER" AT Thru-Hiker Class of 2015

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    With all the talk about the crowd in March/April, I'm thinking of a flip flop instead starting at the DWG here in NJ. It makes sense not only to avoid the bubble, but the DWG is only 90 minutes from my house.
    Simple is good.

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    I have already made the decision to start in the first week of May, 2016. The route will be Harpers Ferry, W.Va., north to Katahdin; Harpers Ferry, W.Va., south to Springer Mountain. I would rather start early April at Springer because I love company and the Harpers Ferry, W.Va., north to Katahdin route will certainly put fewer folks on the trail.

  4. #4
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    Already wrestled with this beast for months now and came up with a flip as a best fit for me, the trail and the legacy of both as I see it. I hope more join the flippers in some fashion. It would be nice to see the bubble shrink to a manageable size for all concerned.

  5. #5
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    Are you helping the AT by avoiding the bubble?

    The bubble concentrates usage (much like shelters do), making it easier to repair high use areas.

    Also the type of people who consider changing their hike to avoid the bubble for the reason to lessen impact are the type of people who could lower overall impact by hiking in the bubble as they can influence others by their actions.

    Now if one wants to avoid the bubble because they don't want the crowds, yes go for it, but in terms of helpfulness to the cause you may be much more valuable in then out.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Starchild View Post
    Are you helping the AT by avoiding the bubble?

    The bubble concentrates usage (much like shelters do), making it easier to repair high use areas.

    Also the type of people who consider changing their hike to avoid the bubble for the reason to lessen impact are the type of people who could lower overall impact by hiking in the bubble as they can influence others by their actions.

    Now if one wants to avoid the bubble because they don't want the crowds, yes go for it, but in terms of helpfulness to the cause you may be much more valuable in then out.
    Hike in the bubble and talk about hiking out of the bubble? Sounds like Chinese boxing, the art of fighting without fighting.

  7. #7

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    I'm starting 12/30, that should help. It doesn't matter what you do, it's not going to help. You can blame part of it on the movie Wild.
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  8. #8
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    Well I'm now pretty certain I'm going to start on the Benton Mackaye Trail at Springer and rejoin the AT at the beginning of the Smokies. Maybe it's not accurate to say I'm primarily motivated by a desire to "save" the AT, though I like the idea of diffusing the impact a little and I did become aware of this hike as an option through all the recent hooplah about overuse.

    There's a few other factors contributing to the decision. I'm not thrilled about how big the AT crowds are likely to be at the beginning. While I'll be rejoining the bubble in the Smokies it'll be a little thinner anyway as everyone who bailed at Neel's Gap will be long gone. I'm becoming drawn to the quietness of the BMT both as a personal challenge and to learn about what I like for future hikes. I've felt lonely on a quiet section hike before but I think some of that was because I was expecting there to be more people, I'm curious to see what the experience is like if I go into it knowing I'm really going to get my introvert on. Also I recently came to realize that I don't much care if I pass every single white AT blaze and what that might mean to anyone else.

  9. #9
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    Do what works for you-
    I applaud any hiker who realizes starting a hike April 1st at Springer isn't necessarily the best way to do it, just the most common.

    That said- if the pack of fools is still the best trip for you- Maybe the pack of conservation is the better slogan. Get together and put a little peer pressure on your fellow hikers. Pick up your ****, and the stuff others leave. Put your feces in a hole. Don't burn your un burnable trash, keep the drinking in town, the dope discreetly in the woods, and be prepared to move on or use an alternative camp when one is full.

    Challenge each other to haul out the most trash, spend the least number of nights in a shelter, educate the most hikers. Be an ambassador for the trail and a good citizen in the towns the trail passes through. Learn and follow the regulations of each park you visit, realize you are a guest.

    Maybe you are the NOBO's who set an example, maybe you band together as a group, educate each other, respect the trail- and make the whole thing go away.

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    Good Points Just Bill but I do feel if your a hiker that respects the trail changing your plan to avoid the bubble isn't the right thing to do.
    Danger - you are a firefighter/EMT. Your a respected person in society. If anything you could be one of the people hiking in the bubble that could influence the young people your traveling with by teaching the LNT and other trail ethics.
    I think if anything will change the trail is those that respect it and try and teach others to respect it.

    I personally will be starting the trail in the bubble because I plan to fish parts of the trail which will delay my timeline. Yes, I know many will attack my wanting to fish the trail but it is what I love! Walking over a stream filled with fish to reach a town will most likely haunt me after my hike.

    Some hike the trail in 4 months and are hero's others and enjoy the trail in their own way for 6 months. Thats what I plan to do and if you're a day behind me the trail magic might be something to look forward to.

  11. #11
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    Looks like our little group of Flip-floppers unite is growing, Supposedly the ATC will be doing a flip-flop workshop May 2, at Harpers Ferry I suppose we'll head North the next day. Might turn into a small bubble that would split fairly quickly. So far about 6 people sound interested. So join us for a May 1 Harpers Ferry start. Check out the 2015 flip floppers unite, thread

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
    - if the pack of fools is still the best trip for you- Maybe the pack of conservation is the better slogan. Get together and put a little peer pressure on your fellow hikers. Pick up your ****, and the stuff others leave. Put your feces in a hole. Don't burn your un burnable trash, keep the drinking in town, the dope discreetly in the woods, and be prepared to move on or use an alternative camp when one is full.

    Challenge each other to haul out the most trash, spend the least number of nights in a shelter, educate the most hikers. Be an ambassador for the trail and a good citizen in the towns the trail passes through. Learn and follow the regulations of each park you visit, realize you are a guest.

    Maybe you are the NOBO's who set an example, maybe you band together as a group, educate each other, respect the trail- and make the whole thing go away.
    What a great suggestion Bill !!!
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  14. #14
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    All that JB and Johnnysnock posted.
    I would love to hike in the bubble and still may. The main reason I would plan to start at Harpers Ferry in May is because I retire May the 1st. I will lose a great deal of money if I retire before that time and my wife has the say so there. Leading by example has always been my deal and I now feel an internal struggle to walk with the masses. I will think about this over the next few months.

  15. #15
    Registered User dangerdave's Avatar
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    Yea, that's my dilemma. Abandon the bubble, or wade through it with an attitude (good attitude, that is). I have no problem dealing directly with the public, so confronting the ignorant is right up my alley. It would be great to have backup, though, in the Bubble. The Pack of Fools thread is pretty slim. It seems that most sensible people are making plans to avoid the crowds.

    My original thoughts were spot on with Bill's comments above. What to do?
    AKA "DANGER" AT Thru-Hiker Class of 2015

  16. #16

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    For years it seemed as though April 1 was the most used starting date. Then people started earlier and earlier to avoid the bubble and still have enough time to finish. The problem there, of course, was lots were doing it to the point the Kick Off is in early March and creates its own bubble.

    If one started in May and was a strong hiker, they'd have no problem finishing.

    A slower hiker could start in May, leap in the mid-Atlantic and finish after reaching Katahdin. There's two benefits to the latter, one doing northern New England before the snow flies and then having another month of easy hiking to unwind.

    The last two scenarios also offer another benefit of working two more months to help insure you don't go broke before finishing.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boots and Backpacks View Post
    I'm starting 12/30, that should help. It doesn't matter what you do, it's not going to help. You can blame part of it on the movie Wild.
    This early in the game I am not sure that I would blame the movie Wild. If I were going to blame anything it would be the following:
    1. Helicopter parents that finance their children forever
    2. The amount of financial affluence of young adults in the United States
    3. Hiking the AT as become the cool thing to do for young adults much like attending one of the many musical festivals

    If young people were expected to get a job, move out of the house and fully support themselves after school we would not be having this discussion.

  18. #18
    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
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    Lots of good ideas here, but I still meet many hikers who've never heard of WB.
    Sleep on the ground, rise with the sun and hike with the wind....

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbg View Post
    This early in the game I am not sure that I would blame the movie Wild. If I were going to blame anything it would be the following:
    1. Helicopter parents that finance their children forever
    2. The amount of financial affluence of young adults in the United States
    3. Hiking the AT as become the cool thing to do for young adults much like attending one of the many musical festivals

    If young people were expected to get a job, move out of the house and fully support themselves after school we would not be having this discussion.
    I guess it depends on one's social circle, but I don't know anyone who thinks that hiking is "cool" in general and the people I know who are more affluent than average tend to opt for much more expensive and sedentary vacations - with "backpacking in Europe" being perhaps the most adventurous. Going hiking for five months is still not a mainstream idea and is somewhat counter-cultural. I don't really ever talk about my hiking plans with people I don't know well because the general reaction is that I'm nuts, at that's even when talking about a hike like the JMT or Colorado Trail. I haven't really mentioned my PCT plans to anyone except close friends and family and I don't think that even they understand... But then I'm over 40, not a young person, so maybe hiking is in fact the trendy thing to do for the young...
    HST/JMT August 2016
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  20. #20
    Registered User Joe Rogowski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbg View Post
    This early in the game I am not sure that I would blame the movie Wild. If I were going to blame anything it would be the following:
    1. Helicopter parents that finance their children forever
    2. The amount of financial affluence of young adults in the United States
    3. Hiking the AT as become the cool thing to do for young adults much like attending one of the many musical festivals

    If young people were expected to get a job, move out of the house and fully support themselves after school we would not be having this discussion.

    I may not be the most in younger person and I won’t speak for anyone else but me personally I have been saving for two years and have enough money to live on my own right after the trail and already have plans for a job. And when I tell some of my friends about the trail they do think it’s awesome but they would never do it and if they say they would one of five would stick with it. In the end I think the 20 year olds hiking the trail are more put together and have a plan for after the trail then the ones who live on their own working at McDonalds or the mall while trying to find a job in their field of study. Everyone’s to blame for the trail degrading we can all do something to help whether its trail work teaching lent donating actually practicing lent and telling people who are doing things that go against that to get their **** together and be responsible. If you’re out there it’s all about respect. And to those who say hyoh about doing things that affect the trail and people around you they are using the saying wrong and they are just being lazy. In the end it is all about respect treat the trail like you would someone’s house that you just met. If everyone did this we wouldn’t be talking about it in the first place and there are always going to be people who refuse to do it and no matter what you say will change it might seem unfair but that’s part of hiking if you see trash pick it up even if it’s not yours and so on there is always something you can do without blaming a group of people or one person and the people who do are the people that are part of the problem.

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