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  1. #21
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    I wonder if they will have some type of "health screening" before issuing the AT permits next year? I know the permits are not mandatory to attempt a thru-hike, but this might just be reason to start this??

  2. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by PGH1NC View Post
    This year there has been much discussion about the trail including the H F bridg​e, Corona virus, trail head and various closures, trail town economics, one's right to hike the trail regardless . . and so on. A recent thread addresses the possibility of overcrowding in 2021. The ATC has suspended trail maintenance at this time. We have no idea what the conditions will be this summer, much less even next spring. Wear and tear on the trail and facilities may suffer from minimal attention by the many volunteer trail maintaining clubs due to the Corona-19 virus. Over crowded shelters and camp sites may be a problem in 2021, especially at the start of the hiking season.

    Over the past many decades thru hiking A T has seemed to be the epitomy of hiking goals in the backpacking/AT community.
    Folks plan and dream for years thinking ahead about their thru hike. They discuss gear and stratigies on this forum extensively. Their trail journals, books and YouTube videos allow those unable to hike the chance to see it vicariously and many to relive memories of hikes gone by. Yet, over crowded shelters and campsites and trails may be a problem for 2021 as expressed by another thread.

    I expect this will be a very sensitive suggestion and ask any moderators to block this thread if necessary.

    What I am suggesting is not to start a battle between groups but a rational way to over overcome crowding and allowing many hikers to experience the Appalachian Trail. Maybe even allowing the trail itself to relieve some of the pressures on the trail.

    However, thru hikers are not the only persons who enjoy a hike on the A T. Many day and section hikes like to enjoy ther trail as well. My thought:

    What if the A T community were to emphasize section hiking rather that thru hiking for a year or two.

    Lets say, for example, if only 10 potential thru hikers (who would have completed the trail) completed 500 miles (a 4-year thru hike completion) the would leave about 15,000 trail miles (10 X 1500 miles not hiked) that could allow 150 hikers to experience a 100 mile section. 100 thru hikers less would open up 15,000 hiker miles for others. That would allow 1,500 hikers a 100 mile section with the same impact on the trail.

    I can imagine what the discussion and objections will be here.

    Just a thought! That's all.

    Many of us cycle and have used the mantra and seen signs along the roads "share the road."




    I don't think section hiking would make all that much difference since thru-hikers are not all that many really and you basically only have a problem in March. You would still have basically the same number of people hiking on the most popular areas.

  3. #23
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    If you want to avoid the crowds and don't mind winter hiking start in early February. You will stay ahead of the bubble and by the time you are to VA hopefully you can do 15-20 miles per day. That should keep you a head of most for a long time. Now this year that meant 4 snows, ice, and lots of rain. Be prepared.

  4. #24
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    There is no way to predict the future , but your going to have a certain percentage of society from here on out that will be germaphobics and won't put themselves in social situations ever again. you will have people such as myself that put off this years thruhike until next year . You will have the group that who initially were going to start in 2021 . You will definitely have the group that planned either this year or next and don't have the resources due to the economy taking a dive . Add to that the resupply points ,hostels , hotels and such that either go out of business for financial reasons or health reasons . If I had to take a long shot guess I would say numbers will be down slightly in 2021 and be way up in 2022 , as people get back to financial and mental stability. Only time will tell . Dan

  5. #25
    Registered User The Old Chief's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=THEDON;2267341]I don't think it will be too crazy.

    2. Folks that don't have jobs won't be able to afford the costs associated with a thru hike. Unemployment checks will only go so far with other bills to cover--car payments, cell phone, insurances etc.

    During the economic crisis of 2009-11 plenty of folks lived on their unemployment checks and never seriously looked for work until their benefits were expiring. On section hikes back then I met several hikers, young and old, who were doing just fine on the trail. Their biggest problem was needing to call their unemployment office once a week and tell the lie about looking for work. And with the current stimulus of $600.00 per week for four months above regular unemployment benefits a future hiker could save more than enough money to hike the trail. Heck, I've even met young hikers who borrowed enough on their student college loans to hike the trail.

  6. #26
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    Never predict anything, especially the future

  7. #27
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    I've been planning my AT thru-hike, with regard to real prep, since December '19. I'm one of those "old farts" that are retired and been wanting to hike the AT all my life. I don't care how crowded it might be. I think that early spring will see a mass of people but the further one gets from Springer Mtn, the less crowded it will become. There are other options such as a SOBO trip or a flip-flop. I expect new "lifetime" friendships will be made and with the possibility of more people on the trail.

    With regard to the virus, I'm not overly worried about it. It's killed less people, so far, than the regular flu; abet, it seems to be more contagious and more deadly. We'll see how it all turns out. I'm not a professional in that regard, nor do I play one on TV.

    My concern is in the logistics! The AWOL guide may be undergoing a big update for 2022! We don't know who will still be in business in 2021 or what new providers might be identified. Is there a place on this board (or any board) for providers to make themselves known? I do know that I hope to sell my house in Texas before my thru-hike and plan to look for a house that borders one of the national parks so that I can provide support in some capacity along the AT.

    Regardless, here's a toast to all who can make the AT in 2021!

  8. #28

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    Indeed, why be overly concerned with a contagion with a mortality rate of approximately 3% that has killed 30,000 people (likely more) in 6-weeks since February 29th (first COVID 19 related death), that can be transmitted by asymptomatic people just breathing the same air or in casual conversation, that can unknowingly be carried by asymptomatic people into rural communities and those simply passing on a trail who happen to breathe in just as the carrier exhales. Versus "regular" flu and pneumonia (not necessarily flu related) having a fatality rate of 0.1% over a full year.

    I can see why the potential 2022 AWOL guide update is of high concern.

  9. #29
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Indeed, why be overly concerned with a contagion with a mortality rate of approximately 3% that has killed 30,000 people (likely more) in 6-weeks since February 29th (first COVID 19 related death), that can be transmitted by asymptomatic people just breathing the same air or in casual conversation, that can unknowingly be carried by asymptomatic people into rural communities and those simply passing on a trail who happen to breathe in just as the carrier exhales. Versus "regular" flu and pneumonia (not necessarily flu related) having a fatality rate of 0.1% over a full year.

    I can see why the potential 2022 AWOL guide update is of high concern.
    Well said. It's kind of weird and disturbing that folks STILL use that flu comparison "argument" the result being some being "not overly concerned about it" will delay the reduction of the spread. We're seeing good progress in the last couple of days, but it will be for naught when quite a bit of the country jumps the gun and relieves our effective distancing practices too early.

    Anyway, yeah, 2021 is a huge TBD on trail conditions, but I'm still hopeful.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Indeed, why be overly concerned with a contagion with a mortality rate of approximately 3% that has killed 30,000 people (likely more) in 6-weeks since February 29th (first COVID 19 related death), that can be transmitted by asymptomatic people just breathing the same air or in casual conversation, that can unknowingly be carried by asymptomatic people into rural communities and those simply passing on a trail who happen to breathe in just as the carrier exhales. Versus "regular" flu and pneumonia (not necessarily flu related) having a fatality rate of 0.1% over a full year.

    I can see why the potential 2022 AWOL guide update is of high concern.
    Thumbs up on this post! Jumping the gun on "reopening the country" could have us starting over from scratch with social distancing and closures, stretching out the "lockdown" for many months.
    humor is the gadfly on the corpse of tragedy

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by greensleep View Post
    Thumbs up on this post! Jumping the gun on "reopening the country" could have us starting over from scratch with social distancing and closures, stretching out the "lockdown" for many months.
    We do need to reopen the country. Contact tracing and testing with isolation is how we keep this under control. The lockdown was only to get this knocked down enough to allow contract tracing.

    Social distancing is the new normal. It does not go away when we begin to ease the current restriction. It will be how we go about our lives for the next several years.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Indeed, why be overly concerned with a contagion with a mortality rate of approximately 3% that has killed 30,000 people (likely more) in 6-weeks since February 29th (first COVID 19 related death), that can be transmitted by asymptomatic people just breathing the same air or in casual conversation, that can unknowingly be carried by asymptomatic people into rural communities and those simply passing on a trail who happen to breathe in just as the carrier exhales. Versus "regular" flu and pneumonia (not necessarily flu related) having a fatality rate of 0.1% over a full year.

    I can see why the potential 2022 AWOL guide update is of high concern.
    The problem occurs in that no one actually knows the real percentage - what is being calculated is the number of deaths (which is pretty easy to determine) vs. the number of people known to be positive (which is quite likely lower than the actual number that were or are at some point, since not all are being checked in most locations).

    So, the current % is a maximum, but most likely the real % is somewhere below (possibly well below) that.

  13. #33
    Registered User Nolan "Guido" Jordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Indeed, why be overly concerned with a contagion with a mortality rate of approximately 3% that has killed 30,000 people (likely more) in 6-weeks since February 29th (first COVID 19 related death), that can be transmitted by asymptomatic people just breathing the same air or in casual conversation, that can unknowingly be carried by asymptomatic people into rural communities and those simply passing on a trail who happen to breathe in just as the carrier exhales. Versus "regular" flu and pneumonia (not necessarily flu related) having a fatality rate of 0.1% over a full year.

    I can see why the potential 2022 AWOL guide update is of high concern.
    Plus, the question that should be asked is "How high does the death percentage have to go in order for everyone to quarantine and lockdown?" The economy is suffering greatly because of this.

  14. #34

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    2021 Trail Crowding?

    The AT is not the only game in town. If the OP has a big block of time to go backpacking and doesn't want the possible swarm of humanity, he/she can still pull a long backpacking trip and explore the 900 miles of trails in the GSMNP or the 400-500 miles of trail south of the Park in Slickrock wilderness and Citico wilderness and Bald River/Upper Bald wilderness and Big Frog and Cohutta and along the Benton MacKaye trail.

    And currently the Cherokee National Forest is open for hiking and backpacking so have fun---

    https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE...eprd714556.pdf

    Boat launches, most trailheads, and the general forest area, including trails and river corridors,will remain open to hiking, biking, boating, dispersedcamping, hunting, fishing,etc.

  15. #35

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    Keep it to 2021 thoughts and not on specifics of today unless projecting that out. Dropping right into day to Covid-19 stats and figures isn't what the thread is about. Do you see the trail being crowded, state why, move on. Thanks.


    The best ways to avoid overcrowding (outside of permits or not going) are staggered starts and flip-flopping. If you distribute the total number of hikers more evenly over time and space along the trail, the size of the wave at each point along the trail in both time and space will be reduced. It's similar to the idea of flattening the curve but also chops the curve up by moving people further along the trail (social distancing). For a moment, consider the argument without the virus. If you split up start times and locations this way, it would prevent crowding and provide more steady economic activity for business owners as it wouldn't be so much feast or famine. The ATC has done some work promoting these ideas but when they decide to support some form of reopening of the trail, they should emphasis and seriously work towards these two. IMHO.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
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  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    my first thru hike was 3/22 of 1986. so 3/22/22 i need to make another attempt
    Go for it! As a very wise man has said "It's only walking"
    The older I get, the faster I hiked.

  17. #37

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    The general assumption was that this would be an inconvenience for a while and then disappear and that probably still is for a lot of people. A vaccine would be available by spring and off you go. But now seems the vaccine hope is more like 2 years if lucky. I think overcrowding will not be a problem at this point.

  18. #38

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    Thread moved to Straight Forward forum.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan

    Whiteblaze.net User Agreement.

  19. #39
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    More to the point of 2021 crowding. I have 2 AT hikes planned for this year. Before all this mess, I only had 1 planned. Now, my first hike will begin on 6/4/2020 and take me from Springer to Fantana. This was to be a shakedown for a 2021 thru. Now, the second hike (1st part of Sept?) will continue on from there for 200miles-/+. That will put me well into VA. I would then continue to Maine from there, theoretically keeping out of much of a bubble.
    The trail is crowded in GA in the spring. It was this year before the shutdown. I think 2021 will be no different.

    Just my opintion YMMV
    Last edited by Alligator; 04-25-2020 at 17:01. Reason: Not SF enough
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