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  1. #1
    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    :banana Help me in deciding what trail is right for me??

    Hey everyone I would like to start off by introducing myself to the forum my name is Steffen and I am what most of you would call a internet hiker. I will admit it..I am from the east coast but moved out to Kansas for school and its so flat out here I am going insane. I am finally moving back home to MA where I am from and I am taking the summer off of classes to do some hiking to not only find myself but loose some weight too. I was wondering if its possible to thru hike the NET or if I should section hike the AT or lastly considering the VLT as well. I would ultimately like to do all 3 but don't know where to start please help.

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    How long do you have to hike? The Long Trail takes about three weeks or so. You could do a lot of nice AT sections as well.
    Ken B
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    Our Long Trail journal

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    Quote Originally Posted by steffen.johnson View Post
    Hey everyone I would like to start off by introducing myself to the forum my name is Steffen and I am what most of you would call a internet hiker. I will admit it..I am from the east coast but moved out to Kansas for school and its so flat out here I am going insane. I am finally moving back home to MA where I am from and I am taking the summer off of classes to do some hiking to not only find myself but loose some weight too. I was wondering if its possible to thru hike the NET or if I should section hike the AT or lastly considering the VLT as well. I would ultimately like to do all 3 but don't know where to start please help.
    I would recommend starting on the AT in southern MA (Great Barrington) and hiking northbound on the AT. That would allow starting on somewhat easier terrain and ease you into hiking shape as the trail will increase in difficulty terrain wise as you head north. Regarding the AT vs the NET - The AT is much more established than the NET. You would have the company of more hikers than you would find on the NET, better blazing, navigation, information available, easier resupply, etc. Once in VT, you could then decide on whether to continue NOBO on the LT at Maine Junction, or stay on the AT and head toward Hanover NH if you don't feel up to tackling the more demanding challenges of the northern part of the LT. If you feel southern VT is enough of a challenge, continue on the AT toward NH. The northern part of the LT is quite difficult hiking.

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    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    I am just starting to think about it but I think to start I am looking at about 2 weeks or so. How long does the NET take?

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    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    I would recommend starting on the AT in southern MA (Great Barrington) and hiking northbound on the AT. That would allow starting on somewhat easier terrain and ease you into hiking shape as the trail will increase in difficulty terrain wise as you head north. Regarding the AT vs the NET - The AT is much more established than the NET. You would have the company of more hikers than you would find on the NET, better blazing, navigation, information available, easier resupply, etc. Once in VT, you could then decide on whether to continue NOBO on the LT at Maine Junction, or stay on the AT and head toward Hanover NH if you don't feel up to tackling the more demanding challenges of the northern part of the LT. If you feel southern VT is enough of a challenge, continue on the AT toward NH. The northern part of the LT is quite difficult hiking.
    Thanks for the reply I think the MA section of AT would be a great start and I appreciate the words of wisdom. Any idea on how long it would take to do the MA section? I am interested in the NET but it doesn't seem like there are enough places to camp/sleep that are legal yet to do a thru hike? is the LT the hardest of the 3?

  6. #6
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    Funny, I just wrote a blog on this very subject. I list a few things to take under consideration when trying to decide where to hike and how long. Check out my blog on it. Lots to choose from!







    Hiking Blog
    AT NOBO and SOBO, LT, FHT, ALT
    Shenandoah NP Ridgerunner, Author, Speaker


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    Quote Originally Posted by steffen.johnson View Post
    Thanks for the reply I think the MA section of AT would be a great start and I appreciate the words of wisdom. Any idea on how long it would take to do the MA section? I am interested in the NET but it doesn't seem like there are enough places to camp/sleep that are legal yet to do a thru hike? is the LT the hardest of the 3?
    If you're going to start doing sections on the AT and other trails close to home in MA, I'd suggest getting the AMC trail guide for your area http://amcstore.outdoors.org/massach...trail-guide-9e

    Also of help for AT planning for the entire trail would be the ALDHA companion http://www.aldha.org/companion.html or AWOL's guide http://www.theatguide.com/

    Don't plan or expect to make big miles in the beginning, especially if you're not in good physical condition. 8 to 10 miles of hiking per day is a lot harder in the mountains than many assume. And if you do more, consider it a bonus. You also may need to develop or catch up on skills like setting up and breaking camp, cooking, hygiene, etc. if you haven't been hiking lately. Allow time for the learning curve. Try to pick sections with reasonable distances between "bail out" points (access to roads/towns) in case of really bad weather, injury, equipment failure, etc. It's a safety net of sorts. While I love the trail in VT, there aren't any easy bail out points in the 40 mile section between Bennington and Manchester Center - there is one dirt road and it isn't well travelled. You might be better off planning to do the 125 mile section from Kent, CT, to North Adams, MA or +/- a bit for whatever time you have. That would be about 10 miles per day on easy to moderate terrain with lots of places to stop, resupply, etc. To answer your other question, most people would consider the northern part of the LT extremely difficult - as tough or even tougher than the AT in western ME and northern NH. It's 270 miles total and most people take 3 weeks to a full month to hike it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steffen.johnson View Post
    Hey everyone I would like to start off by introducing myself to the forum my name is Steffen and I am what most of you would call a internet hiker. I will admit it..I am from the east coast but moved out to Kansas for school and its so flat out here I am going insane. I am finally moving back home to MA where I am from and I am taking the summer off of classes to do some hiking to not only find myself but loose some weight too. I was wondering if its possible to thru hike the NET or if I should section hike the AT or lastly considering the VLT as well. I would ultimately like to do all 3 but don't know where to start please help.
    Kansas is pretty flat and boring, at least via interstates ive driven.

    But..its reasonably close to colorado, missouri, and arkansas.

    Your lack of hiking isnt due to location. Its due to other factors. Plenty of people travel to hike, anywhere in a days drive (14 hrs or so ) is game to me for minor trips. Airplanes are for major. Heck Ive finished a week long hike at 4 pm after a 18 mile day, got in truck and driven 12 hrs home.

    The best trail, is the one you can spend the most time on. Logistically, and from a documentation standpoint, he AT is the easiest trail there is. You cant go wrong with it.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 01-10-2016 at 22:59.

  9. #9
    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blissful View Post
    Funny, I just wrote a blog on this very subject. I list a few things to take under consideration when trying to decide where to hike and how long. Check out my blog on it. Lots to choose from!
    Thanks! I just checked it out and book marked it, thanks for the article it is very helpful!

  10. #10
    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    If you're going to start doing sections on the AT and other trails close to home in MA, I'd suggest getting the AMC trail guide for your area http://amcstore.outdoors.org/massach...trail-guide-9e

    Also of help for AT planning for the entire trail would be the ALDHA companion http://www.aldha.org/companion.html or AWOL's guide http://www.theatguide.com/

    Don't plan or expect to make big miles in the beginning, especially if you're not in good physical condition. 8 to 10 miles of hiking per day is a lot harder in the mountains than many assume. And if you do more, consider it a bonus. You also may need to develop or catch up on skills like setting up and breaking camp, cooking, hygiene, etc. if you haven't been hiking lately. Allow time for the learning curve. Try to pick sections with reasonable distances between "bail out" points (access to roads/towns) in case of really bad weather, injury, equipment failure, etc. It's a safety net of sorts. While I love the trail in VT, there aren't any easy bail out points in the 40 mile section between Bennington and Manchester Center - there is one dirt road and it isn't well travelled. You might be better off planning to do the 125 mile section from Kent, CT, to North Adams, MA or +/- a bit for whatever time you have. That would be about 10 miles per day on easy to moderate terrain with lots of places to stop, resupply, etc. To answer your other question, most people would consider the northern part of the LT extremely difficult - as tough or even tougher than the AT in western ME and northern NH. It's 270 miles total and most people take 3 weeks to a full month to hike it.
    I will be sure to pickup those guides ASAP. Thanks! Hmm all of that information if very helpful and interesting seems like I need to do some more homework/practice, and exercise. As far as choice goes I am planning more on the MA section of the AT to start and NET to practice some day hikes? Leave the VT for last when I am looking for something to do after my eventual thru hike. Thanks!

  11. #11
    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Kansas is pretty flat and boring, at least via interstates ive driven.

    But..its reasonably close to colorado, missouri, and arkansas.

    Your lack of hiking isnt due to location. Its due to other factors. Plenty of people travel to hike, anywhere in a days drive (14 hrs or so ) is game to me for minor trips. Airplanes are for major. Heck Ive finished a week long hike at 4 pm after a 18 mile day, got in truck and driven 12 hrs home.

    The best trail, is the one you can spend the most time on. Logistically, and from a documentation standpoint, he AT is the easiest trail there is. You cant go wrong with it.
    You are right, I have actually drove to CO and did some hiking but nothing like I would like to. Looks like I need to plan some more hikes here soon within a 10hr radius! And yea I am leaning more towards the NET for practice, AT for thru and VT last.

  12. #12

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    I'm not sure where in MA you're living, but if you want tune-up hikes, the Blue Hills Reservation has a nice network of trails. I can go there easily on one day, put in 8 miles and about 2500 vertical feet. It's got great views of Boston and the harbor islands, too.

    Another option is the Monadnock-Sunapee trail in New Hampshire. It's also relatively easy to get to. I've camped on it. There are plenty of bail-out points along it.

  13. #13
    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHuth View Post
    I'm not sure where in MA you're living, but if you want tune-up hikes, the Blue Hills Reservation has a nice network of trails. I can go there easily on one day, put in 8 miles and about 2500 vertical feet. It's got great views of Boston and the harbor islands, too.

    Another option is the Monadnock-Sunapee trail in New Hampshire. It's also relatively easy to get to. I've camped on it. There are plenty of bail-out points along it.
    I have actually heard a great bit about them so I will be sure to check out the blue hills when I go home. I am from southern MA near providence RI. How long are the trails on the blue hills? What is a bailout point? Thanks!

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    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steffen.johnson View Post
    ... What is a bailout point? Thanks!
    A road crossing/trailhead or intersecting trail that takes you back to a road where you can abandon a hike if something goes wrong. Could be illness, injury, really bad weather, severe equipment damage or loss, etc.

  15. #15
    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    A road crossing/trailhead or intersecting trail that takes you back to a road where you can abandon a hike if something goes wrong. Could be illness, injury, really bad weather, severe equipment damage or loss, etc.
    Thanks! I am slowly learning lingo and wording haha

  16. #16
    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    My brother was just telling me about the blue hills today as well for training. Ill be sure to check it out I am going hiking tmrw in Kansas its going to be 60 should be going for my first hike in over 6 years. About 6-8 miles with a friend.

  17. #17

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    Blue Hills reservation:

    There's a pretty big network - if you want to piece together trails, you can easily get 10+ miles and 3500+ vertical feet. The Skyline trail is probably the best for getting lots of ups-and-downs in. I've gone there to train for a hike in the Alps - plus good to visit periodically to shake the rust off, particularly when I don't have a lot of time to travel. It's probably about an hour from where you live - just shoot up I-95 and then a quick run east (north) on I 93.

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    "Don't hike a trail if you feel sudden dizziness or shortness of breath. If these symptoms persist, get medical care immediately. Hiking a trail is not for everyone. Ask Whiteblaze which trail is right for you!"

  19. #19
    Registered User steffen.johnson's Avatar
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    Cool! Thanks for all the info to EVERYONE! I am currently in the process of picking a pack and my big 3. Man on man is this a hard decision haha!

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