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  1. #1

    Default hardest day on your AT hike

    Describe the hardest day you can remember on the Appalachian Trail...

    could be a series of steep climbs, bad weather, injury, losing the AT, longest day, most miles etc...

    so?

  2. #2
    Lazy Hiker Nokia's Avatar
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    Default Hardest Day

    The day I got off.

  3. #3

    Default

    Got sick in Mahoosuc Notch. Tossed my cookies in Speck Pond Shelter. Ugh!

    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=87815

  4. #4
    Addicted Hiker and Donating Member Hammock Hanger's Avatar
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    It is kind of like childbirth, I can only remember the greatness of the hike.

    There were plenty of hard days but seems my memory wanes... I guess it would be climbing Cube Mt. completely dehydrated during a NH heat spell. By the time I got down I had no voice and kind locals took me into their home.
    Hammock Hanger -- Life is my journey and I'm surely not rushing to the "summit"...:D

    http://www.gcast.com/u/hammockhanger/main

  5. #5

    Default September 2, 1975

    The date when several Baxter State Park rangers prevented the 19-member 1975 Appalachian Trail Circle Expedition from completing the last 5.2 miles (55 degrees and slight drizzle) of their unprecedented group thru-hike (i.e. 109 days).
    Warren Doyle PhD
    34,000-miler (and counting)
    [email protected]
    www.warrendoyle.com

  6. #6
    Registered User jimmyjob's Avatar
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    my first day of my first section hike. i had never done any hiking for more than three days but was heading on a seven day trip...i took the train from my home to harpers ferry and had planned to hike up and out of the park south bound that afternoon until dark…the only problem was my connection to harpers ferry got delayed 4 hours in DC…needless to say I got to harpers ferry late right near dusk (now I used to live near harpers ferry so I was somewhat familiar with the area itself and knew direction I needed to follow) the big problem arose when I got across the Shenandoah bridge and into the woods. It slowly but surely got dark and I slow but surely got lost(at least I thought I was, oh yeah did mention I had never night hiked before) I somehow made it just outside the harpers ferry park ground and as soon as I did I through out my tent ate a little food and went to bed. Well, because I couldn’t see when I set my tent up and the ground I found to set it up was quiet rocker than I had originally seen and at a slight slant….lets just say a slept in the shape of an S and in the lower left corner of my tent….


    Lessons learned:

    • don’t rely on mass transit to be on time
    • know when something is too much to tackle
    • buy beer by the KEG ( okay so that makes no sense, but always wanted that to be a lesson learn
    Where are you going, Where have you been...???

  7. #7

    Default

    The two days I passed through Mahoosuc Notch and over the Baldpates. The Mahoosuc Notch to Baldpate Shelter stretch sucked the life out of me, lots of psychological strain that day and the day before (I got slightly lost the day before for the first time in my hike, and was downright ticked off about it). When I arrived at Speck Pond shelter and realized I was going to have to hike fuirther that day than I expected to get to the next shelter (Grafton Notch Shelter having been removed without much notice that Summer), I was a bit miffed as I had shaved my day's plan pretty tight anyhow to finish hiking by nightfall. I spent the night alone at the shelter under glowering skies, (I hate camping alone), and woke the next morning to fog and drizzle and high winds. Climbing over the Baldpates pretty much did me in. I was getting knocked around so hard by the wind and soaked and frozen by the rain, that I just ran out of psychological resources and decided to go home at Andover. Fortunately by the time I got to the road crossing, sat down, thought it out and ate a few granola bars and snacks while waiting for someone to pass by, the sun came out. It's amazing what a little sunshine can do for you. Someone did come by and asked if I needed a ride into town. I said thanks, but I'm moving on. I never thought about quitting again. It was at that point that I realized how much I needed to have other people around and the fellowship of other hikers. Turned out I wasn't half the loner I thought I was.
    Andrew "Iceman" Priestley
    AT'95, GA>ME

    Non nobis Domine, non nobis sed Nomini Tuo da Gloriam
    Not for us O Lord, not for us but in Your Name is the Glory

  8. #8
    Registered User RLC_FLA's Avatar
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    Default

    The two worst days on the train for us during our thru in '89 were
    1. Leaving the Damascus after trail days
    2. Leaving Shaw's

    RLC_FLA
    GAME->89

  9. #9
    Registered User Tim Rich's Avatar
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    Usually it was the third day of each of my section hikes, when the soreness and fatigue of not being trail hardened started to show, and the pack weight hadn't started to sufficiently lighten.

  10. #10
    Registered User jimmyjob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icemanat95
    Turned out I wasn't half the loner I thought I was.
    its funny you point that out...the lonelyness was my worst enemy during my first three days, but once i got used to it...it was wonderful (hell i just let my mind wonder, i remembered things that i hadn't thought about in years old songs, old friends, old teachers names from 1st grade all sorts of weird stuff)...infact after being on the trail for only eight days...i have to say it took a little adjusting going back out into civilization...i can't wait untill my next section hike...
    Where are you going, Where have you been...???

  11. #11
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    ...the day before !!

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nokia
    The day I got off.
    Couldn't have said it better myself.

  13. #13

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    I can't remember where in Connecticut I started on this particular day, but it was in 2001, in the middle of a freakish heat wave, when I hiked into Kent, Connecticut. Not enough water, dehydrated as I could be. Miserable and chafing to boot.

    B A Turtle

  14. #14
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    Hiking the Appalachian River through the Smokies in a downpour in 35 degrees and having to make 28 miles due to being out of food.
    GA-ME 04
    GA-VA 05

  15. #15
    Registered User Big Dawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hustler
    Hiking the Appalachian River through the Smokies
    LOLOLOLOLOL!!

  16. #16

    Default

    Not only the worst day of my Thru-hike, but one of the worst ever. I approached the fire-tower at Mt Albert(NC) I was attacked by an unleashed Rockweiler while the owner and company where at the top of the tower sightseeing. I suffered the destruction of a $100+ jacket and several lacerations to my legs, hands and arms before they could get down and restrain the mutt. They, with day packs left quickly saying, "sorry, but he's never done that before" I asked for help and for reimbursement, they picked up their pace to exit as fast as possible. I had to get to Franklin for stitches and treatment after slogging to rock gap to catch a ride. Thus, I hate hikers with dogs, leashed or not, they are a problem and should be banned from the trail, just as it is in the GSMNP and Baxter/Katahdin. If the SOB's read this I want to let you know I have a can of woop-ass waiting!

  17. #17
    "freewinds" GA-ME 95' colbys's Avatar
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    Default wild day in pennsylvania!!!

    in my thru in 1995,a couple of miles from the road crossing with the most direct route into gettysburg,i got stung by a yellow jacket(im allergic),my leg swelled up and i broke into hives after about 30 min.made it to the road crossing and decided i wanted to see gettysburg with my fellow thru hiking buddy,sam-i-am,we tried to hitch for about 1 hour with no luck,all the while im delerious with hives and light headed,finally a car stops to pick us up and its single gal in her early 40s with wild red hair..
    we jump on in and she proceeds to drive off with us towards gettysburg,im sitting by the window trying to get all the air i can when i notice she has a bottle of jack daniels between her legs and shes ****-faced drunk...and smoking like a chimney..
    she begins to tell us her life story and i didnt really get all of it except that here boyfriend just kicked her out or beat her up or something and that she want "to party"with us and take us both back to a motel room and "get busy"...
    all the while while on the road to town shes all over the road(2 lane hwy) and drving like 85 mph with 2 scared to death hikers and one(me)feeling down and out with an allergic reaction to bee stings...all the while with my head stuck out the window feeling like i just took 5 vicodins.
    we make it to town,jump out of the car,and race into the nearest supermarket,leaving our drunk, trailer trash ,ride giver to her own devices..
    didnt find a room in town for cheap,so hitched back to at and set my tent up with a ankle the size of a thanksgiving turkey and tried to get some sleep on a night where the temp didnt drop below 78...
    after that the rest of the trail was a snap.

  18. #18
    Registered User Singe03's Avatar
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    Default

    I realized I wrote a novel, sorry folks but I'm leaving it intact.

    This is an easy one for me...

    We camped around Cody gap the night before, coincidently this is this place and night I got my trail name after a stove incident. Boomhouser and Tom could smell the singed hair from my arm (almost all of it) several feet away and the name "Singe" stuck...

    Anyway, we had camped early there because it was a nice spot and there was yet another band of thunderstorms blowing in (2003 thru attempt) so we could cook and set up camp while it was still somewhat dry. It stormed all night, lots of thunder and lightning (I happen to like a good light show but this was a little close) and got relatively cold. We broke camp and started walking the 4 miles towards Cable Gap shelter as the storms grew worse. By Cable Gap, the trail was like a small creek and the rocks were very slick. I had taken a fall that ripped my knee open pretty good (still a nice L shaped scar).

    We met up at Cable Gap shelter and stayed a while, hoping for a break in the storm, eventually Boomhouser and Tom hiked on towards Fontana. I thought of staying because my knee was throbbing and the bleeding would never quite stop but the wind was whipping the rain right in to the shelter so I bandaged up my knee and hiked out as well, figuring I had most of the day to cover the miles to Fontana.

    The next miles were probabily my worst on the AT, the trail itself was running with several inches of water, the force of the wind and rain nearly knocked me down a few times and I was starting to get cold despite keeping up a pretty good pace. Lightning was hitting relatively near, I'd guess visibility was down to 20 feet or so with the mist and rain. I fell going downhill a little too fast (spurred on by lightning hitting close enough to make the hair on my arms stand up) ripping the knee open again and jammed my thumb so bad I feared I broke it, it was actually numb until I popped the knuckle.

    I made the first parking lot at Fontana and went in to the bathroom to try to wring things out a little and see if I could warm up a little, I dumped my boots out, put on my Tevas and went to find the shuttle phone that was listed in WF's guide, only to find it dead. The stop had let my body chill a little, and I was shivering and starting to get a little worried about hypothermia. I knew the dam was only a mile away and from there I could get to the village and a room to warm up and dry out so I set out again, thinking it would be an easy stroll through a parking lot...

    That hill, between the parking lot and the dam is one of the cruelist jokes on the trail! I think I got over it fueled by sheer frustration :-) I was losing sunlight at this point and feeling colder but I made the dam and found the phone. I think I was hypothermic at this point because I literally had to think my way through how to use a telephone and had trouble dialing.

    It was a pretty bad day... But the memory that sticks out was a place where I stopped to add layers and eat a little snack. I dont know exactly where it was, but there was a creek, which I could distinguish from watery trail by the fact it had a bridge and ALOT of very tall, thick trees. The undergrowth was all ferns it seemed, a very lush and beautiful area. I think I remember a fire ring there, the trees just disappeared up in to the mist, the area actually haunts me a little in a very good way, I wish I could describe the feeling I got there better. This was, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful spots and moments on the trail and I'm thankful that I found it, on that of all days, it was a few momements of absolute peace and beauty on a day that was otherwise so bad.






  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by hustler
    Hiking the Appalachian River through the Smokies in a downpour in 35 degrees and having to make 28 miles due to being out of food.
    I thought the Appalachian River in the Smokies was bad until I hiked the Appalachian River in ME! But that day in the end was kind of fun, in a twisted sort of way. One of my worst days was the day I crossed the NY/NJ border. It was in the middle of the wicked heat wave this past summer.

    If I recall correctly, I started at the shelter in NJ up on top of the hill where the water source is the empty house that some agency owns just past the road walk/wetland area. I got an early start and made good time getting to the long wooden boardwalk and stopped to eat sitting on the rock wall at the parking lot where the road to Vernon(sp?) was. I decided to skip the hostel and keep on trucking, as it was early. Big mistake. The heat/humidity hit in a big way. Then, the NY border with that wonderful rock hit. Slick rock, boom, sliced my wrist (have a scar from that one). Passed that turn off path that goes off to town and kept on going. Figured that I'd find a place to camp as the shelter wasn't looking good. Passed up one spot just past a stream, as it was a little too close to the water and it was still a bit before dark. Rock, rock, rock, almost to the road. Found a place with power lines, PI everywhere, no go. Found the road, pretty well dark now. No ice cream for me, as the place was closed before I hit the road. Night hiking, slick rock, not too bad, then those stupid rocks with the blazes going straight up the center. Did the first ones. At really late hour and exhausted, I said to heck with Cat rocks, as I didn't think I could make it over them in the dark/wet without killing myself, so I took the blue blaze. The shelter was set back and the path not well marked. Easy to find in the daytime, all I could see were the tents down below at night--wandered around a long time. Finally in the shelter, too tired to setup a tent. Wake up, leave late, get eaten alive by the skeeters as I pumped water.

    Hit the next day of killer weather and do a super short day that took all day to complete. The message I left for my wife from the phone at the entrance to the park was "I'm having a low morale day today." The trail angel with the pickup truck full of goodies happened to catch me soon after and it was a nice pick me up--I must have looked half dead though.

    The next worst day was two days after I finished. Cloud nine and a perfect day to finish. Ride to PWM the next day to meet my wife, perfect. Day after, missing the trail...

  20. #20

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    Not really the hardest day, but a really hard moment occured way back in the early part of my hike in Maine. Mike and I stopped by the white house landing and had lunch w/ the joes hole posse. We decided to save some money and head back in to the woods. Just as the guy dropped us off on shore, a huge front moved in and within a half hour it was pouring! We were only a half mile or so from the shelter and we decided to run the last bit. We got their succesfully and we were quite delighted to find the shelter clean, empty and rainproof. It was still early in the day and so we strung up all our clothes etc and warmed up. no problem

    by night the tempature had dropped and we were cold in our 40 degree bags. Mike and I were both carrying 'space blanket' sleeping bag liners, the tinfoil thing. We slipped our sleeping bags inside the foil liner. We warmed up pretty promptly and fell asleep.

    I remember waking up that next morning thinking I had 'wet the bed' I was soaked! I rolled around trying to decide if this was a bad dream. I poked Mike, and he looked up at me. His shirt was soaked, his bag was clearly WET. He had the same reaction I did. We quickly realized that had kept us so warm, had also trapped all our body heat and so the condensation quickly followed. It was one of those many moments on the trail that if you didn't laugh, you were going to cry. We packed up like two wet dogs and headed out.

    oh and for weeks after that my sleeping bag had a nasty silvery stain all over it.

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