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  1. #1
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    Default Good Starting Town/Location For A June 1 Start?

    Hi Friends,

    Still debating on where I would like to start my thru-hike. My original thought was to flip-flop by beginning in Harper's Ferry and hiking North starting on June 1st, get to Katahdin, head back to HF and hike south. However, I feel like I would be missing out on much of that NOBO experience by beginning so far north, and have been thinking about starting a bit further south, so I would hike most of the trail in the NOBO direction (preferably 75%), and then the rest of the trail in the southern direction. I'm anticipating a 5.5 month hike, and obviously want to get to Katahdin before October 15th. Ideally, I'd be starting in the same area where most of the late April/early May starts would be. Where would you recommend a great starting location? Damascus, perhaps, or somewhere further up in Virginia?

    Thanks for the help!

  2. #2

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    It kinda doesn't matter. There are hikers spread out between Springer and northern VA right now. No matter where you start, your going to be passed by the seasoned hikers for a couple of weeks before you can start to keep up with them. The early April NOBOs will be showing up in HF around June 1st. Right now most of them are in central NC and there are quite a few of them.
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  3. #3

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    Somewhere in Virginia.

    If you want to fall in with the late-April/early-May starters, make it Damascus.
    If you want to hike 75% of the trail NOBO, make it Atkins.
    If you want to start in an easy place to fly to, start at Daleville (with close access to the Roanoke airport)
    If you want to start in the heart of the NOBO pack, make it Waynesboro.

    If you think there is any chance you might need significantly longer than 5.5 months for the whole trail I would not start as far south as Damascus, though. I would start at Daleville or Waynesboro thus alleviating potential time pressure to get to Katahdin.
    Life Member: ATC, ALDHA, Superior Hiking Trail Association

  4. #4
    Registered User johnnybgood's Avatar
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    The hiker bubble at that time will be approaching the southern terminus of Shenandoah Nat'l Park.
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  5. #5
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    Pearisburg, if you want to be in the thick of it. I shuttle and I am familiar with several options of travel to get here. Feel free to call me anytime @540-921-7433

  6. #6
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Random thoughts:

    The crowd of northbounders is very spread out, but you'll find lots of them all over VA. But there are plenty even in Harper's Ferry at that time. I've done most of my solo section hikes in early June, and had lots of company in northern Virginia.

    If I wanted to do a flip flop hike starting June 1 and wanted to maximize enjoyment and weather, I'd start at Harper's Ferry -- you are young enough and likely fast enough to get through the mid-Atlantic before it gets too hot, and then you get the perfect northern summer in New England and Maine, and flip back to HF around Sept 1 or so, just in time for some slightly cooler early fall temps in northern VA. Finish by Thanksgiving and go home and devour a whole turkey all by yourself.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  7. #7

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    I would start at HF. HF is the psychological mid-way point and is not that difficult to access with public transportation. When I did both my thruhikes starting around April 1, I was up to the Shenandoahs by Memorial Day weekend, so you'll meet other hikers right away. You'll have time to get to Katahdin before it closes, even if you start relatively slowly. In September, you'll be able to meet other southbounders as you make your way south. If you start a lot farther south, you'll miss meeting other thruhikers and you'll have to push to get to Katahdin in time.

  8. #8
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    Thanks guys for your help! I think I'll stick with my original plan and begin at Harper's Ferry.

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