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  1. #1
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    Default Southbound?Northbound?

    My entire plan since I have known about the AT has been to hike it north. Recently, because of financial reasons I cant leave in spring. I had never really considered a sobo before but now it is a real possibility. I cant stand the thought of having to wait another year. One of the thiings I was looking forward to were the social aspects of the trail. Im worried this wont be the same on a sobo. Anyone planning on starting june 1st that is looking for someone to hike with? I live and hike a lot at the Grand Canyon so I am in good hiking shape, but I am not interested in hurrying through this. My motto is slow and steady.

  2. #2

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    start in Harper's Ferry and head north then flop back to HF and head south after K

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Probably, given your age and early start date, you'll find people to hike with.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  4. #4

    Default Southbound

    I had a similar situation as you, my friend Blake (RITBlake) and I wanted to go NOBO in 2005 and we were gonna leave in june and go north, but then relized how rediculous that was and that we would have major time constrants, so we decided to flip flop, and then relized that it would end up being to dificult and expensive to arrange all of teh transportation, so we settled on going SOBO, it was teh best decision we ever made. we had a great trip, and truely enjoyed teh close relationships we created with our fellow SOBO's. I could go on and on abotu teh advantages, but if you think that going SOBO is somekind of a letdown, take a look at teh pictures on our website (www.Maine2Georgia.com) and read teh journal entries. I think you will see that going SOBO is not a second or 3rd best option to a thru-hike.
    Maine2Georgia.com
    A Southbound Adventure


  5. #5
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    Default An Alternative Itinerary!

    See ATC's page on alternative itineraries. I will find and add a link to a thread to which I contributed some time ago in which others and myself proposed what seemed a good itinerary to someone with a window of opportunity similar to your own.

    Hog on Ice has already proposed essentially what I would recommend in post #2, although I would consider hiking the 2nd leg northbound, ending at Harpers Ferry. I believe I've recently recommended the same or nearly the same to someone else. I'm returning to my search for that thread, but you may find the thread Hypothetically speaking... on an alternative thru-hike proposed for 2007 worthy of your consideration.

    Click on the thread title Some reasons for and against hiking SOBO? to link directly to my post #43 from the thread just named. You may want to read the remainder of the thread too.
    Last edited by emerald; 01-24-2007 at 00:52. Reason: Added paragraphs 2 and 3.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Since you mention the social aspect of the AT as being important to you, I'd argue that flipflopping would lessen your connection to your "classmates."
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  7. #7

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    I'd say the same thing. If you want a peer group for the entire trip, I'd think it would be disconcerting to loose them halfway through your hike when they finished at Katahdin. I ran into a couple of flip-floppers during my SOBO, and they all said it was a big adjustment.

    Go SOBO grasshopper. Join the darkside!

  8. #8
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    Default Not necessarily so!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marta View Post
    Since you mention the social aspect of the AT as being important to you, I'd argue that flipflopping would lessen your connection to your "classmates."
    Marta, et al.,au contraire! wildernessman can expect to meet more of the "class," since the class travels both directions at many paces, albeit the relationships may be more superficial than might be expected by travelling with a group the entire length of the trail. I'm talking about the number vs. the depth of relationships.

    From my 3rd link above:

    This hike may offer the best of what both a northbound and a southbound hike have to offer. It would put you at Harper's Ferry at about the same time as an early start from Springer Mountain, you'd connect with some earlier and faster NOBOs for your northbound leg on which you would meet southbounders you'll later rejoin for the southbound leg. You'll still be hiking with spring, you should get considerable relief from the heat in July and August, by the time you reach northern New England the blackflies should no longer be an issue and you get to hike south with fall too!

    How many "classmates" will you meet?

    People travelling at a typical pace in one direction only meet the least number of their "classmates."

    Those travelling in both directions or hiking later+faster or earlier+slower than the norm meet more of their "mates."

    Probably the way to meet the most members of the class would be an early, slow SOBO.

    I would also argue that the class also includes section-hikers, multi-day (making up a word) and day-hikers and everyone else on the A.T that year, but I expect some of the elitists will disagree with me.

    I'm not done with this yet or giving up. I'll be back.
    Last edited by emerald; 01-24-2007 at 13:03.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    [quote=Shades of Gray;308801]I'm talking about the number vs. the depth of relationships.



    I absolutely agree. But while it's fun to run into large numbers of hikers and chat with them, the people you will end up feeling closer to are the ones you walked through fire--or ice--with.

    SOBO Pride!
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  10. #10
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    Default Yes, do take the time to experience the fire!

    Quote Originally Posted by Marta View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Shades of Gray View Post
    I'm talking about the number vs. the depth of relationships.


    I absolutely agree. But while it's fun to run into large numbers of hikers and chat with them, the people you will end up feeling closer to are the ones you walked through fire--or ice--with.

    SOBO Pride!
    Well then, start in the south early or end at Katahdin late, but be certain to spend summer somewhere between Tennessee and Vermont.
    Last edited by emerald; 01-24-2007 at 15:44. Reason: Changed VA to TN which is what I was thinking.

  11. #11

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    The trail starts MAINE to Georgia. All the sign say it and Northbounders know it. A Southbound thru-hike is the way to go. Southbounders RULE!!!

    Wolf

    P.S. Baltimore Jack knows he always wanted to hike the AT southbound but never could quite make it.

  12. #12
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    Default

    If you start in June or early July you'll probably have enough company. There are, for sure, a lot less SOBOs, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. You'll be hitting the most beautiful (and some of the toughest) parts of the AT from the get-go. If you're still on the trail in November or December, it might get a bit lonely. I agree with others that a SOBO thru-hiker has to be a bit smarter and well-prepared.

  13. #13
    Registered User stuco's Avatar
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    Default

    My sister and I were planning a NOBO for next year but it looks like I won't be done with school yet so we will likely have to do a SOBO. I think doing either one has it's advantages. No biggie.

  14. #14

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    Hi Wildernessman,

    Last year, I hiked for just over a month NOBO (March 14 - April 18), then stress fractured out. Once healed, I hiked SOBO 97% of the trail starting at K June 27 ending at Springer Dec 12. (Thought you should know what my opinions are based on.)

    You'll certainly meet fewer people SOBO, but you'll still make some life-long friendships. If your hope is that the trail is a 20 mile a day party at every town, then NOBO is the best. Walking SOBO there's still beer in towns, but 5 SOBOs in one place is a "crowd". If you want 30+ in your trail family, NOBO is the way to go. If using a shelter more than once or twice in the first month of your hike or getting away from large groups is your goal, then hike SOBO. If I were to do it again? Either SOBO or late & fast NOBO would be my way.

    If your experience is like mine, either way you hike though, the people you get to know will become family or closer friends than you've had before. Something about sharing a challenge so big that "wondering if it's possible" makes you above average... "Regular" people can't even imagine a thru; so I guess it comes down to deciding if you want to share that un-possible-larger-than-life hike with lots of others or just a few.

    Once you've decided a thru is for you, there's no time that's soon enough to leave for it. Any time you hike the AT, it's a social thing. Even a tuesday in december when you see no one else, the registers and the people you meet on wednessday... Well, it's true what they say, the people are the trail.

    Clear skies at the terminus, where ever it is for you.

    --Pi

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Well put, Pi!

    How's post-Hike life treating you?
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
    http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?trailname=3277

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  16. #16
    Savoring Happy!
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wildernessman View Post
    My entire plan since I have known about the AT has been to hike it north. Recently, because of financial reasons I cant leave in spring. I had never really considered a sobo before but now it is a real possibility. I cant stand the thought of having to wait another year. One of the things I was looking forward to were the social aspects of the trail. I'm worried this wont be the same on a sobo. Anyone planning on starting June 1st that is looking for someone to hike with? I live and hike a lot at the Grand Canyon so I am in good hiking shape, but I am not interested in hurrying through this. My motto is slow and steady.
    Grand Canyon??? Haven't read that for awhile on WB. I did a non-supported 35 day hike through GC in Feb and Mar of 2003 and I haven't been the same since . Just got back from the North Rim on what was suppose to be a week long snowshoe trip. Ended up with a tan and heat stroke.

    Don't think of an SOBO as a second choice unless you're a party animal. You'll find allot more "content" hikers on the SOBO and your start won't look like that kitty stampede super bowl commercial like it does on a NOBO during March. I'm leaving Baxter on June 8th in 2008 or I'd share the trail with you for awhile. Slow N Steady is GOOD.

    Savor Happy!

  17. #17

    Default SOBO for me too

    I also can't leave 'til June. I'm considering starting NOBO near Roanoke, Va where I left off my last section. I haven't calculated days yet, but may have to flip up to Katahdin to hit it in time. So, doing Harper's Ferry to Katahdin, then Harper's Ferry south might work.

    My longest section so far was 4 weeks from Roan Mountain to Roanoke. My partner and I hiked in 4 sections, the last SOBO. That was nice because we got to "revisit" the NOBOs who had outpaced us.

    Mssnglnk

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