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  1. #1
    Registered User Taylor's Avatar
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    Default Advice for July Start

    Hi All,

    I plan on beginning my hike in mid July this year. I need some advice on logistics.
    I can either begin in Maine and go SOBO the entire way. The advantages include starting with a group in the beginning and having someone to hike with during the 100 mile wilderness. However, I worry about the difficulty all of the guide books warn against. I am physically fit and have hiked in the past, but want to set myself up for success and not push my body too hard, too soon.

    Alternatively, I was thinking of starting in northern VA in July headed north bound and then flip-flopping to head sobo to finish.

    Any advice/ recommendations/ or personal experience would be more than appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
    Taylor

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    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    The flip flop is a good idea, but a mid-July start might be pushing it to make Katahdin before it closes. If it were me I would probably start at Delaware Water Gap or maybe the NY/CT state line. That will get you in shape for the Whites and Maine, then when you flip south in mid to late September you'll be able to fly through the mid-Atlantic.
    Ken B
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    Our Long Trail journal

  3. #3
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    I'm looking at a July start also. I've been hiking many times, but I'm not what I would consider physically fit right now and I doubt I'll have enough time to get in an OK condition before I start(10 miles a day sounds fine, I shouldn't push more than that though). I am worried about starting at Katahdin also. Debating between using AT Lodge in Millinocket for food drops and just taking my time through the 100 mile wilderness or looking at doing a short flip-flop like you. I'm waiting to see what others have to think as well.

  4. #4

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    Spin classes help me prevent injury lower body wise. It is a great way to train

  5. #5
    Registered User Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigcranky View Post
    The flip flop is a good idea, but a mid-July start might be pushing it to make Katahdin before it closes. If it were me I would probably start at Delaware Water Gap or maybe the NY/CT state line. That will get you in shape for the Whites and Maine, then when you flip south in mid to late September you'll be able to fly through the mid-Atlantic.
    Thank you for the advice! I will definitely look into that. I like the idea of starting farther north and going at a slower pace to begin so I can adjust and acquire my trail legs before taking on Maine.

    Brew- 10 miles a day to begin, especially in the northern states sounds reasonable to me! I read to expect mileage to drop by a third once you hit New Hampshire. Right now I'm thinking a short flip-flop is the way to go.

  6. #6
    Registered User soy nuts's Avatar
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    I am glad to see that there are people starting in July and I am not the only one starting so late in the year. I was going to start in August but the more I read this forum the more I realize that August is too late. I still have a lot of planing to do and not enough time.
    BTW the idea of flip-flopping sounds good. I'm interested to see what other people think. Thanks Taylor for starting this thread.

  7. #7
    Registered User Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rojotide View Post
    Spin classes help me prevent injury lower body wise. It is a great way to train
    I love spin class, I also train with a trainer 3x a week and will be hiking the trail to Machu Picchu in early June. I've done a 30 day hike down the Baja coast of Mexico for a NOLS (national outdoor leadership school) course, and a 10 day hike with one other friend in Western Australia. That is however the extent of my backpacking experience. And I have never done a long distance hike solo before. I know everyone is different and you do not know me, but in your experience do you feel that is enough to start SOBO solo or is it best to acclimate to trail life a bit first by starting further up and heading north?

    Soy Nuts- I couldn't have said it better. I also feel like I have tons to do and not enough time. But this forum has been a tremendous help already. I'm glad others are in the same boat and looking to start in July as well. My only worry about starting later than July would be hitting inclement weather by the time you hit the Smokies. We will figure this all out, planning is part of the adventure I guess!

  8. #8
    registered user namaste7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewyet View Post
    I'm looking at a July start also. I've been hiking many times, but I'm not what I would consider physically fit right now and I doubt I'll have enough time to get in an OK condition before I start(10 miles a day sounds fine, I shouldn't push more than that though). I am worried about starting at Katahdin also. Debating between using AT Lodge in Millinocket for food drops and just taking my time through the 100 mile wilderness or looking at doing a short flip-flop like you. I'm waiting to see what others have to think as well.
    If you do want to start in Maine, the AT lodge will do food drops that will make your pack lighter. I'm starting 16 july SOBO and will have them do a food drop for me so the 100 miles is more enjoyable. They do say SOBO is the harder way to start especially if a person is not in shape, so flip flop may be the way to go for some who are worried about injuries. I just did not want to start in the middle and then have to go back to where I started. Such a psychological thing for me, I think. LOL
    Hope to see you a Taylor out there.

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    I did a 7 mile prep-hike with a 30lbs pack today and the idea of a short flip flop sounds like a good idea. Whats some good places with good transportation options?

  10. #10
    Registered User Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brewyet View Post
    I did a 7 mile prep-hike with a 30lbs pack today and the idea of a short flip flop sounds like a good idea. Whats some good places with good transportation options?
    How'd the prep hike go?

    I have decided to start SOBO during the first week of July and just go slower in the beginning to acclimate. I liked the idea of a short flip-flop but the added logistical planning adds difficulty and cost. I hope to not be alone out there, and look forward to meeting everyone else headed south!

  11. #11
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    Prep hike went well. I went to Clark Creek in Mississippi. It was short but they go straight up and straight down every hill. It had lots of muddy climbs, rocks in the creeks, and even ticks(I had 2). One thing that got me was the heat. I was only out for 6 hours but I drank 7 liters of water out there. Hoping Maine (or where ever I start) is a bit cooler.

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    So any opinions on starting at the NY/CT border (Pawling, NY) around mid July NOBO, then coming back and heading to Springer. I've never been to New York so that should be fun too.

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    I was actually going to due a flipflop but decided to go SOBO. I'm a little nervous about it too but I really can't wait! Make sure you remember to book a campground at katahdin! Summiting on July 1 and plan on doing the resupply in the 100 miles as well. I plan on taking it slow in Maine and letting the trail train me! Remember no rush! Its the beauty o a SOBO. Hopefully see you out there! Let me know if you need any help planning!

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    I am also planning my sobo starting at Katadin July 14th. I am wondering just how hard is it to go up Katadin? Are there plow trucks half way up shoveling people off the rocks that couldn't make it, just joking. I can and do often 12 mi a day on hilly ground and feel in pretty good shape, but that climb is still the question and factor in starting there or a flip a little further south. I just like hiking one direction for no apparent reason. Thanks

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    The ascent/descent of Katahdin is doable, but very difficult. Average time this year seems to be about 9 hours, some are taking 12. You need to be in very good shape and get an early start. Do not plan on hiking out of the Park the day of your climb.
    Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. -Kahlil Gibran

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    I will start from DWG Nobo on July 22nd and hopefully make it to kathadin (and back to new york by yet undefined means) before my flight leaves back to germany on the evening of October 2nd. I'll see you Sobos on the trail then!

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by SaltyBiscuit View Post
    I was actually going to due a flipflop but decided to go SOBO. I'm a little nervous about it too but I really can't wait! Make sure you remember to book a campground at katahdin! Summiting on July 1 and plan on doing the resupply in the 100 miles as well....
    SB - how is a resupply done in HMW? Not having to carry 8-10 days of chow sounds very interesting.

  18. #18
    Registered User mudsocks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuknees View Post
    SB - how is a resupply done in HMW? Not having to carry 8-10 days of chow sounds very interesting.
    The AT crosses a number of pulp roads. The most accessible choice would be to cache or have food delivered to you at the KI or Jo Mary crossing.

    But that takes a bit a fun out of it.

  19. #19
    Registered User Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nuknees View Post
    SB - how is a resupply done in HMW? Not having to carry 8-10 days of chow sounds very interesting.
    The AT lodge offers a food drop service for around $25 I think. Other places in the area both north and south of the HMW offer similar services.

  20. #20
    Registered User Taylor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaltyBiscuit View Post
    I was actually going to due a flipflop but decided to go SOBO. I'm a little nervous about it too but I really can't wait! Make sure you remember to book a campground at katahdin! Summiting on July 1 and plan on doing the resupply in the 100 miles as well. I plan on taking it slow in Maine and letting the trail train me! Remember no rush! Its the beauty o a SOBO. Hopefully see you out there! Let me know if you need any help planning!
    I'll be a day behind you! I'm summiting on the 2nd and heading south on the 3rd. Hope to see you out there.

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