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Thread: Nobo count

  1. #1
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    Default Nobo count

    Anyone have a decent - and acccurate - count of NOBO's so far? I hear everything from < 20 per day, to up to 150 in a day. Some of the numbers just seem sort of inflated.

    Anyone have knowledge of an accurate count?

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    Sounds Cray-Cray! Glad I'm and old guy doing a flip-flop & starting north farther. :-)

  3. #3

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    I've been seeing 40 average a day in the smokies the last two weeks. Every shelter has been full for two weeks as well.

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    The Hiker Hostel Facebook page has been reporting NOBO counts. They said the average was 63 per day March 1 - 31 with total NOBO starts from Jan 1 to March 31 of 2260 and they feel their counts are probably low.

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hiker-Hostel/46668647990
    Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, the Trail beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.


  5. #5

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    Based on the Amicalola thru-hiker roster numbers, our voluntary thru-hiker registration, information and conversations with ridgerunners and an old-timer working at Neel Gap, and the Georgia A.T. Club it appear that the northbound thru-hiker numbers are similar to last year or a little bit higher. Last year our estimate was that 2500 northbound thru-hikers started from Georgia.

    However, there is also reportedly a very significant amount of traffic from Springer to Neel Gap from spring breakers and section-hikers. When there are so many people starting on some days, it's very difficult to get comprehensive counts. Some days ridgerunners report the majority of overnight hikers they see are thru-hikers, some days it's shorter-term hikers. Some days there are more than 50 day-hikers in the mix and totals well over 100, but we don't have totals from every overnight site every night.

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    Here is an interesting entry from Today at 0815, from thru named MattJV89, who is journalling from Top of Ga Hostel. Interesting read:
    "Well today is the beginning of day 9 for me starting at top of Georgia and I honestly have yet to see any of the "craziness" that gets so much attention on here. I read so many times that there would be 50-70 people at every shelter, every night, was even told that by a ridge runner. Has not happened a single time, probably the most crowded night so far was about 25 at lance creek due to the bear canister zone bottlenecking people. I never sleep in the shelters but often tent near them for the company and haven't been out of a pitching spot once. I suppose if you are hellbent on getting a shelter spot you are going to have to hike early and fast but outside of that no concerns. Bring a proper trowel, there have been one or two over full privies so far. Yes maybe 50 people a day start but they fan right out. Day one the crowd was pretty evenly spread between springer shelter, stover creek and hawk depending on where they started and ability, so the crowd fans right out. Although I wasn't there I am 99.9% confident calling that 150 number a gross exaggeration. The other thing I have not seen a ton of yet is littering. It is out there, but like the crowds I was led to believe every shelter and the trail would be paved with garbage which just hasn't happened yet. Interestingly the most littered spots I've seen are not shelters, they are the well established trail side campsites. The best I can figure is people are less bashful about littering in the absence of an audience. Every day there are periods where I'm hiking basically by myself for hours at a time then see some folks when I stop for food. Starting March 26 I think it's fair to say I'm in the bubble too. It does seem that some of the overcrowding may be more at hostels. Top of Georgia was my first stay and i tented on the lawn, as I sit here writing at 815 AM they are already telling callers the overflow house across town is full. Well easy fix there, sleep in the woods and stay away from hostels till ya really really could use the shower. I could go on and on but so far I'm just not seeing the god awful rat race littering crowds reading on here made me brace myself for. I have absolutely no regrets starting in the bubble and the company has been fantastic. The party scene is really not hard to avoid either, those folks are just starting to emerge and it's been pretty easy to just not follow them. A few less than legal puffs at shelters is the most I've seen in the woods and those folks have all asked if anyone minds before lighting up."



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    Modern math is affecting perception. Not everyone stops at the same shelter. Some people pass multiple shelters before they stop. Some people stealth.
    Last edited by BirdBrain; 04-03-2015 at 12:50. Reason: Corrected English to the best of my abilities.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

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    Quote Originally Posted by BirdBrain View Post
    Modern math is effecting perception. Not every stops at the same shelter. Some people pass multiple shelters before they stop. Some people stealth.
    "Modern" math? Like .... counting?
    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

  9. #9

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    I wounder why MapMan hasn't chimed in yet i always get a kick out his reports, personally i would stay away from springer MT from march 1st to may 1st i would either start early or late.

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    Quote Originally Posted by full conditions View Post
    "Modern" math? Like .... counting?
    Is that a serious question? Do I need to explain it? Okay...

    Some people assume if 50 people start at the same location, there will be 50 people at the same end location. That thinking is flawed and leads to confusion amongst some. The law of large numbers does not apply. There are too many variables. People quit. People stealth. People section hike. If my point is not clear, no words I say will help. All that can be derived by start numbers is how many people started. It is not an indicator of how many people will arrive at any given shelter. The trail is not a container. What goes in does not necessarily stay or arrive at the same spot.

    As far as counting goes, consider a person behind a cash register in 1975 and one in 2015 and you will observe differing counting abilities.
    Last edited by BirdBrain; 04-03-2015 at 12:25.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

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    Modern english is affecting communication.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    Modern english is affecting communication.
    I can use all the help I can get in that department. In person, my accent gets in the way. In print, my abilities get in the way. I use effect as a verb all the time. It is not as obvious when I am talking.
    Last edited by BirdBrain; 04-03-2015 at 12:37.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

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    Quote Originally Posted by BirdBrain View Post
    Is that a serious question? Do I need to explain it? Okay...

    Some people assume if 50 people start at the same location, there will be 50 people at the same end location. That thinking is flawed and leads to confusion amongst some. The law of large numbers does not apply. There are too many variables. People quit. People stealth. People section hike. If my point is not clear, no words I say will help. All that can be derived by start numbers is how many people started. It is not an indicator of how many people will arrive at any given shelter. The trail is not a container. What goes in does not necessarily stay or arrive at the same spot.
    Sooooo......the raw data are affecting peoples' perceptions? OK, if that's your point, I get it (though I'm still unclear how modern math figures into this). But, I dont entirely agree with it. I've lived within a two hour drive of Springer for nearly 40 years now and have regularly hiked that part of the trail (though not in the spring) and watched the steady degradation of the trail environment as each year the spring hoard gets bigger and bigger and destroys a little more of the vegetation around shelters and campsites along the first 100 miles of the trail. Not just my perception - ask any of the regular, long-time trail maintainers from either the GATC or the NHC - they can no longer keep up with the vegetation damage or the litter or the ever burgeoning piles of ....ummmmm human waste. Things have exceeded carrying capacity and that, my friend from Maine, is why the raw data matter - as those numbers go up so does the impact (no matter how much dispersed camping occurs) not to mention the aesthetic qualities of turning a trail that was once described as "remote for detachment ..... " into a pedestrian freeway. So, IMHO, the raw data do matter.
    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

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    Quote Originally Posted by full conditions View Post
    Sooooo......the raw data are affecting peoples' perceptions? OK, if that's your point, I get it (though I'm still unclear how modern math figures into this). But, I dont entirely agree with it. I've lived within a two hour drive of Springer for nearly 40 years now and have regularly hiked that part of the trail (though not in the spring) and watched the steady degradation of the trail environment as each year the spring hoard gets bigger and bigger and destroys a little more of the vegetation around shelters and campsites along the first 100 miles of the trail. Not just my perception - ask any of the regular, long-time trail maintainers from either the GATC or the NHC - they can no longer keep up with the vegetation damage or the litter or the ever burgeoning piles of ....ummmmm human waste. Things have exceeded carrying capacity and that, my friend from Maine, is why the raw data matter - as those numbers go up so does the impact (no matter how much dispersed camping occurs) not to mention the aesthetic qualities of turning a trail that was once described as "remote for detachment ..... " into a pedestrian freeway. So, IMHO, the raw data do matter.
    We are in violent agreement. The people are there. They are doing damage regardless of where they stop. I was just addressing the apparent discrepancy between start numbers and what is being observed at the shelters. My point was trivial. The real effects that you list are not diminished by the nuance I debate. The real effects that you list are the important matters. My OCD got in the way of my better judgment.

    Moving on to threads where I can hopefully place helpful comments. I thought it would be helpful to reconcile the 2 observations.
    Last edited by BirdBrain; 04-03-2015 at 12:56.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

  15. #15

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    A few comments:

    1) The voluntary registration process does seem to be helping spread out the start dates of northbound thru-hikers, at least among those who register. The latest 2015 nobo thru-hiker graph of registered hikers is so much flatter than any graph of start dates ATC has ever generated before, whether it was from numbers at Amicalola Falls or start dates of success thru-hikers who've reported their completions to ATC.

    Compare the registered nobo thru-hikers as of 3/29/15 with the last chart I generated prior to the 2015 season.

    The latest graphs for all categories of thru-hikers are at www.appalachiantrail.org/thruhikeregistration.

    This is by no means the solution to managing the large and anticipated-to-grow numbers of thru-hikers (and other hikers); it is just one part of the strategy.


    2) A huge amount of trash has been carried and/or driven out by ridgerunners, ATC and trail-club volunteers, and trail angels--even shuttle service providers. Check out this blog by a volunteer about trash on the Trail: http://jfetig.com/2015/03/. In one photo you can see him carrying 35 lbs. of trash in addition to his pack.
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    after looking at your chart.... it looks like anytime in May is a good time to start lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by BirdBrain View Post
    As far as counting goes, consider a person behind a cash register in 1975 and one in 2015 and you will observe differing counting abilities.
    You mean cashiers still know how to count? I thought they just let the register do that for them (until they enter the wrong amount you give them).

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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyGr View Post
    You mean cashiers still know how to count? I thought they just let the register do that for them (until they enter the wrong amount you give them).
    Give one $11.27 for a $6.27 sales and watch the smoke pour out of their ears.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

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