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  1. #1
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    06-22-2016
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    Nashua, New Hampshire
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    Default Thru-Hiker looking for advice on time to hike

    Hey guys my name is Chad, I'm from New Hampshire, and dream of doing the Appalachian Trail someday with my 2 buddies.
    We are college freshman and will be starting in the fall, all of us are 18 years old and thinking about the best time to attempt a thru-hike.
    We have two options:
    Plan A: Wait until after graduation in May of 2020. We would not start our Northbound hike until April 2021.
    Plan B: Take off fall semester of junior year and do it early May of 2018, then finish our degrees one semester late.

    What are your thoughts on this, hikers?

    Chad

  2. #2
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    Default

    If you have your funds and equipment together, I like plan B. Once you graduate, you've got serious adult stuff ahead of you that will be pulling you in other directions.

    Plan C would be to do some of it one summer, and the rest of it the next summer.

  3. #3

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    Since I have a kid your age, I will advise you how I would advise him.

    A "thru-hike" is not the be all, end all of hiking. Taking a semester off, delaying employment, etc. is a big decision. I'd hate to see you make a decision like that only to find out that the thru hike isn't quite what you thought it would be.

    I say get together with you buddies next summer and find a nice long section ... like 4-6 weeks. Get out there together and experience a long AT hike. You'll know at the end of that if it is an itch you are going to have to scratch, and if the choices you'll make to delay education or employment will be worth it.

    If it is, and again, if you were my kid, I'd push you to get ahead with your coursework (take courses over the summer, an extra course during the semester) so taking a semester off won't be such a big deal.

    So, get out there and test it out is a short answer to your question!

  4. #4
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    03-13-2016
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    Rock island, Tennessee
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chado12898 View Post
    Hey guys my name is Chad, I'm from New Hampshire, and dream of doing the Appalachian Trail someday with my 2 buddies.
    We are college freshman and will be starting in the fall, all of us are 18 years old and thinking about the best time to attempt a thru-hike.
    We have two options:
    Plan A: Wait until after graduation in May of 2020. We would not start our Northbound hike until April 2021.
    Plan B: Take off fall semester of junior year and do it early May of 2018, then finish our degrees one semester late.

    What are your thoughts on this, hikers?

    Chad
    That's a lot of wasted time in both of those plans, unless you find an internship.

    Does it have to be northbound? Assuming you graduate early May (when most schools around me have graduation, at least), you could be a late NOBO (and hope you make it to ME on time) or do a flip flop.

    Or you could do half the trail between semesters, which is what several hikers I met last weekend are doing.

    I don't think I'd take a semester off, unless you spent most of the time working at an internship or something tangentially related to your degree. Plan B makes no sense to me; do you mean to take off Spring semester? Depending on your school, make sure the classes you'll need to graduate will be offered in the fall (some smaller schools only offer classes on an alternating schedule).

    I don't know what you're studying, so different industries have different hiring rates, but as a college senior in engineering, I would either:

    1. plan a flip flop or SOBO hike right after you graduate (May 2020)
    2. Be a LASHer and hike the trail in the summers between semesters
    3. If you're dead set on a NOBO bubble hike, then get an internship your junior year (either the entire year and graduate a year late or the spring semester and only work Jan-April) and work it out with your company to leave late April. Not uncommon.

    I would 100% avoid not doing anything except working some crap part-time job before you hike, especially if you're taking time off school.



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