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  1. #1
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    Default planning SOBO in June 2016

    Hello, my name is Zak, I am 40, a single father of three boys, and I live in Western N.Y. STATE lol not city! I have an opportunity to free myself for about 110 days from June to October. I have wanted to hike the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails since grade school, and the AT seems logistically and possibly financially feasible now. I am fit, and training more now that I know this is a possible reality. I am a fast hiker with plenty of experience. I hike and camp in local mountain areas of NY and PA in all 4 seasons. 2000+ miles with a 35 pound pack in 110 days doesn't sound impossible...but very ambitious. Am I wrong?

    I have been reading many posts here, and from many other resources as well. It seems the more I read the less I know.
    These are some questions I cannot find straight answers to;

    Do I need permits for a through-hike south? I don't plan on using shelters.

    I am doing this alone, should I be worried about defending myself against psychos, and or, wild animals? More the former than the latter.

    I am buying all new gear, mine is old and outdated. Biggest gear concern is carrying/finding adequate water sources. I have experience mountain camping in all 4 seasons, but any solid gear recommendations would be appreciated. I'll go ultralight as much as possible.

    5 months to plan this...I'm very excited, any nudge in the right direction from an experienced through-hiker or SOBO would be appreciated. Thanks everyone!

  2. #2
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    10-18-2014
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    You will want to reserve a campsite for a couple days at Katahdin stream campground in Baxter State park. You can do an online reservation 4 months in advance. The campsites go pretty fast. Expect to feed black flies and mosquitoes until late July in the Northeast.

    You dont need any permits until, probably, Shanendoah National Park.

    110 days is very ambitious. Dont expect to finish it. Enjoy your hike.

  3. #3

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    Shenandoah permits are free, and you fill them out on the trail as you enter the park. No worries for this.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by egilbe View Post
    110 days is very ambitious. Dont expect to finish it. Enjoy your hike.
    Really? Aren't you being a tad quick to pass judgement? We were passed by a 63 year old who finished in 96 days this year.
    AT15
    OT15

  5. #5
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    Hey, zak75, hope you have a fabulous hike. Don't worry too much about water -- get one of the thru-hiker guidebooks (the ATC Companion or the AT Guide), they have all the sources listed. Not a big deal for the most part.

    It's not hard or expensive these days to have a base weight in the 15 pound range (all your gear minus food and water). Just takes some research and a willingness to buy some gear online from small cottage industry shops like Zpacks or ULA. Lots of threads here on WB about gear.


    (Re: mileage and speed. 110 days is 20 miles per day, every single day, no zeroes. That's a pretty stiff pace. Sure, there are some hikers who can keep that up, but I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I suppose that many cannot. Zak, don't worry about this, just hike. Don't put undue pressure on yourself at the beginning, that's one way to get hurt and get off the trail.)
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boots and Backpacks View Post
    Really? Aren't you being a tad quick to pass judgement? We were passed by a 63 year old who finished in 96 days this year.
    Given that most years, only about 20% of prospective thru hikers finish, that just seems like a reasonable heads up to me - not negative, just an awareness raising moment.
    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

  7. #7
    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
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    Welcome to !

    Five months will give you plenty of time to plan your hike. Like the hike, it is merely a matter of taking things one step at a time. Doing the trail in 110 days is possible – It just means you will have to average higher mile days and take fewer zeros. It all depends on you and your desire to complete the trail. There are those who have done it and those who haven't. It all depends on the individual.

    I am not sure what research you have done, but before you start buying new gear, I would encourage you to check out the homepage of this website. This website is a great resource for providing you with information for planning your hike. There are spreadsheets out there where people have already mapped out the mileage per day you will need to do to get to your goal.

    One can be found on the White Blaze homepage and another can be found on AWOL’s website (theatguide.com). Both examples are for NOBO hikers, but it does give you a better idea of what you are facing.

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/cont...t-15-mile-plan
    http://theatguide.com/PlanNobo2010-18.html

    Once you get through Maine and New Hampshire, your miles per day will likely increase. You will want to start slow to avoid injury and then increase the mileage as your body allows.

    Pick up AWOL’s Guide for a SOBO hike. He has a great PDF & book package (The A.T. Guide 2016 Southbound PDF & Book) that will be available any day now. Wait for that one to show up on his site. (http://www.shop.theatguide.com/) That way, if you lose any pages you have backup on your phone/tablet/iPod.

    I don’t know if you are being dropped off at Katahdin. If not, talk to Ole Man at the Appalachian Trail Lodge, in Millinocket. He has an awesome sounthbound special that he runs. He can also get you from the bus station to Katahdin and give you a last minute gear shakedown (if you want/need it). The people at the AT Lodge have good advice to give. http://appalachiantraillodge.com/

    Have fun with planning!

  8. #8
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    02-20-2013
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    Cool

    ULA (backpacks)
    TarpTent (single & double wall tents)
    Zpacks (sleeping bags, packs and shelters)
    LightHeart Gear (single wall shelters, rain gear)
    Enlightened Equipment (quilts)
    Western Mountaineering (sleeping bags)
    Good To Go (backpacking food from a couple in Maine)
    All of the above are highly regarded and offer excellent customer service. Being small companies, there may be some lead time schedules (weeks, not months) that you need to be aware of.
    There are many other cottage companies. The internet will find them.
    Great Smoky Mountains National Park has some very specific rules for thru-hikers. All of the information is on their web site.
    Good luck! Have a great hike.

    Wayne
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
    https://wayne-ayearwithbigfootandbubba.blogspot.com
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by zak75 View Post
    Hello, my name is Zak, I am 40, a single father of three boys, and I live in Western N.Y. STATE lol not city! I have an opportunity to free myself for about 110 days from June to October. I have wanted to hike the Appalachian and Pacific Crest trails since grade school, and the AT seems logistically and possibly financially feasible now. I am fit, and training more now that I know this is a possible reality. I am a fast hiker with plenty of experience. I hike and camp in local mountain areas of NY and PA in all 4 seasons. 2000+ miles with a 35 pound pack in 110 days doesn't sound impossible...but very ambitious. Am I wrong?

    I have been reading many posts here, and from many other resources as well. It seems the more I read the less I know.
    These are some questions I cannot find straight answers to;

    Do I need permits for a through-hike south? I don't plan on using shelters.

    I am doing this alone, should I be worried about defending myself against psychos, and or, wild animals? More the former than the latter.

    I am buying all new gear, mine is old and outdated. Biggest gear concern is carrying/finding adequate water sources. I have experience mountain camping in all 4 seasons, but any solid gear recommendations would be appreciated. I'll go ultralight as much as possible.

    5 months to plan this...I'm very excited, any nudge in the right direction from an experienced through-hiker or SOBO would be appreciated. Thanks everyone!
    Allowing 7 zeros and 3 spares, you will be averaging over 21 miles every day. Not for the faint hearted but doable.

    Injury and illness aside, your success depends on you training for reality. This training includes the conditioning part; day in day out hiking the distances and terrain that you will find on the AT. Bike riding, gym work and a couple of weekends hiking will not cut it (IMO). The first two States are brutal and you need to be ready because if you are not, it means that you will have to make up this lost time further South. Go as lightweight as you can afford and is practical. I completed my sobo thru in 120 days and I could have knocked more time off that but not much and I did a 550 mile thru hike in Scotland as training before flying to Maine. Sounds extreme but I would do the same again, I got through the 100 miles of wilderness in 4.5 days and I could not have done this without the type of training that I did. Last piece of advice, keep your resups a frequent as possible, carrying a couple/few days and use powdered maltodextrine in your water.

    I have been where you are now and I am so envious!)))

    Grab the AT by the balls and make your Sons proud as I did mine.

    Best of Luck friend.

  10. #10
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    To my way of thinking, its not hiking the entire AT in 110 days that is such is big deal, it is HAVING to.

    A non-negotiable but aggressive schedule can put a great deal of pressure on you from day one. Not sure that is all together bad, but just somethings to consider.

    Probably stating the obvious.

  11. #11

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    Hey Zac! When are you planning on starting? My partner and I are aiming for June first and have a similar pace (about 20 a day). We also live in NY (in the city). Maybe we can meet up for a practice run when you get your new gear, otherwise see you on the trail!

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