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  1. #1
    Registered User Hoofit's Avatar
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    Default The year of the Southbounder

    With all the upheaval(germs),on the trail this year, I was curious to know how many 'northbounders', are now considering a southbound hike as it looks like it may well be late May or June before the AT, and other trails, are reopened.
    I see this as a viable alternative, especially for retired folk who don't have to return to school in the fall.
    Any takers ?

  2. #2
    illabelle's Avatar
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    We're not doing a thru. Our section hikes for the year are scheduled in August, September, and November. Hoping everything is cleared up by then, and we can move on to whatever the "new normal" might be.

    For sure, I do see SOBO for thrus as a valid alternative. Probably a smart move.

  3. #3
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    My wife and I are planning to NoBo thru the PCT. I'm certain our original start date of April 7th isn't going to happen, but start dates are lenient this year. If we can start before April 20th we'll still NoBo. If we can't start before the 20th then we'll consider a SoBo or we'll try a NoBo in 2021.

    I'm curious about the number of people doing SoBo on all of the long distance trails this year.

  4. #4

    Default Sobo on A.T. is not automatically a good alternative to nobo if your timing changes

    No one knows when the pandemic will be over and Trail use will be encouraged again. No one knows if a southbound hike will be a viable option from the standpoint of the A.T. even being open or a wise decision from the perspective of reducing spread of the COVID-19 if it is. More and more places along the A.T. are being temporarily closed to overnight or all use (see www.appalachiantrail.org/updates and www.appalachiantrail.org/COVID-19).

    It's natural that this year's thru-hikers, after all they've been through--whether they had to get off or were never able to get on--will hope that the pandemic will be over soon (however unlikely that may be) and are thinking about other ways to thru-hike.

    All that aside, for this year and any year in the future, a southbound thru-hike is not recommended by ATC unless you are are an experienced, fit hiker who is well prepared for the climb of Katahdin, the 100-mile wilderness, and the rugged, remote terrain that characterizes the A.T. throughout Maine.

    Also, Baxter State Park, the volunteers managing the 100 Mile Wilderness, and the Maine State Warden Service and local rescuers have found impacts from unprepared southbounders in recent years have been straining their resources. A big influx of more hikers could be quite problematic from multiple standpoints.

    To understand more, please see http://appalachiantrail.org/home/exp...ing/southbound. And here is the intro to the Southbound page on our thru-hiking page:

    Starting a thru-hike in Maine is by far the most challenging way to tackle the Trail. Katahdin, the Trail's northern terminus, is regarded as the most difficult mountain on the entire A.T. The route through Maine involves extensive climbing and scrambling over steep, rocky, root-covered and muddy terrain. A heavy pack is required due to the distance between resupply points. Itís best undertaken only by experienced and fit hikers.

  5. #5
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    Having completed 344 miles of the southern AT this winter, I hope that is a good base to head SOBO. But a flip flop is also being considered depending on when we can get back on the trail.

    Laurie. Most of the Thru hikers I spoke with do not believe the ATC will take the risk to tell us it is safe to return to the trail. We will be watching the state and local governments for signs they are reopening and will then restart our hikes wherever it makes sense. Do you think the ATC will make any statements to "reopen" the trail?
    Last edited by SkeeterPee; 03-26-2020 at 16:53.

  6. #6

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    Kind of an insulting way to ask a question...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    Kind of an insulting way to ask a question...
    Good point. I've reworded.

  8. #8

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    For updated SoBo20/SoBo21 info, please see this:

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthr...2020-2021-info

    At the present time Baxter has closed their winter camping season early and all HQ staff are working remotely. The online reservation system is still up. The AT Lodge in Millinocket plans to open on Memorial Day, Cyr Bus line service is suspended, the Bangor airport is still open. MATC has postponed all trailwork until further notice.

    Unknown at this time: Hostels in Monson, the Kennebec River ferry, and shuttle services.

    I believe hikers should be seriously considering that even a late August start may not be possible this season.

    Updated, thanks WaterRat.
    Last edited by TJ aka Teej; 03-26-2020 at 19:24.
    Teej

    "[ATers] represent three percent of our use and about twenty percent of our effort," retired Baxter Park Director Jensen Bissell.

  9. #9
    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
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    It is probably waaaay too early for the ATC to even comment as to when they think things will be "safe" again. We have only started to deal with this virus. Unless people take it serious...and stay home...it is moving in for a while. Not the roommate anyone wants!

    I feel for everyone who has had to give up their hikes, their vacations, their dreams - for now. If we are lucky, this will only turn out to be an inconvenience for the majority.

    With that, even if people begin taking this serious and start staying home, there are some things one needs to consider before they consider embarking on a SOBO hike in 2020. While things will (hopefully) change before June, there are new variables one should consider before thinking about a SOBO hike.

    - There is a reason most people do not start their hikes in Maine. While this does not apply to everyone, people should really ask themselves if a Maine start is the best start for their hike. Will a Maine start hinder your chances of becoming a thru-hiker? If the answer is anything but an instantaneous "no," you need to do more research. Maine has a way of weeding out those who are not up to the challenge right off the bat. Not just because of terrain, but also because of the lack of services to help those who need a bit more assistance in getting started.

    - Buses are not currently running between Boston and Bangor. Buses are also not running between Bangor and Millinocket. While this is likely to change, it is best to double check this status before making concrete plans. As of now, there are no dates established for the continuation of these services. Shuttles are an unknown. While you could rent a car in Bangor, there is no place in Millinocket to turn in the rental. If the buses are not running by the time of your chosen hike, and shuttles are not offered, how do you plan to get to Baxter State Park (if it is open)? Definitely something to look at while making plans.

    - Baxter State Park is currently closed. That will change at some point, but there is no word as to when the park will re-open. Cases have only just started to be reported in Maine. Though, many have been unable to get tested for the virus... Maine is about 3 weeks behind New York (for cases). That means Maine is not likely to see the first "peak" of cases until May. Who knows how long that will last, especially with the daily influx from travelers from "away." Yes, the summer people are heading to Maine early from places like Florida, New York, New Jersey, etc. With every new tourist brings the opportunity for more cases of the virus to appear in Maine. This means there will most likely be "waves" of the virus hitting Maine. It would really be a bummer to travel all the way to Maine, only to contract the virus and have to end your hike before it really begins.

    - If all services are open in Maine, please know the virus will probably still be in Maine. Please make sure you have a plan to get yourself off the trail. It is not yet known how many hostels will open this season. It is not yet known how many people will be operating shuttles. It is probably a good guess there will be far fewer people willing to pick up hikers off the side of the road this season, so how do you plan to get yourself to town? No need to answer - this is just something for you to consider for your hike. The trails do not take you straight to town. Make sure you have a solid plan in place.

    - Please know that many of the trail towns in Maine do not have medical facilities that are able to help if you do contract this virus. You would be transported to a larger hospital in Bangor, or Portland. An ambulance ride would be costly if it should come to that. Maine is a bit more remote than many states. There really aren't many large hospitals for people to turn to if they need advanced hospitalization. Please note the hospitals in Bangor and Portland could easily be overwhelmed by the many other tourists who also come to the state every season. This is in addition to the people who live here and are already starting to be hospitalized. Where would you go if you needed to go to the hospital? Boston will likely be facing the same issue for a while, as they also see many summer tourists.

    For anyone considering a SOBO hike this season... There are many new variables to consider. These are early days - please wait to make a decision as to whether you will attempt a SOBO hike. Please take the time to do your research before you head to Maine. This is not the normal trail year and appropriate considerations should be taken.

  10. #10
    Registered User Water Rat's Avatar
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    Please check the Cyr Bus website (https://johntcyrandsons.com/) for updated information between Bangor and Medway.

  11. #11

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    And once you make it through Maine, you next have the White Mountains in NH.
    Beatiful scenery, but not the best two states to start with if you are not prepared.

    There is a reason they tell NoBos that once you get to NH you have done 80% of the trail with only 20% of the effort.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Water Rat View Post
    .........Maine is about 3 weeks behind New York (for cases). That means Maine is not likely to see the first "peak" of cases until May. Who knows how long that will last, especially with the daily influx from travelers from "away." Yes, the summer people are heading to Maine early from places like Florida, New York, New Jersey, etc. With every new tourist brings the opportunity for more cases of the virus to appear in Maine. This means there will most likely be "waves" of the virus hitting Maine. ........
    Great point. We are ready seeing 14 day voluntary quarantine advisories for people traveling from the northeast to other states. It is possible that these quarantine advisories will expand into the summer as the virus becomes much more prevalent in other areas like a wave moving across the country. Here in Houston officials are expecting cases to surge shortly. Even if you get to Maine, you may be expected to quarantine yourself for 14 days once you get there.

    https://www.crainsnewyork.com/corona...ers-quarantine
    If you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.

  13. #13
    Registered User 1234's Avatar
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    May be in 2021, this year is done. Not even close to peaking.

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