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  1. #1
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    Default how crowded are the trails/shelters going SOBO

    Is it likely that going SOBO alone i might not run into people for long lengths of time if i leave july 1st?

  2. #2
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    or will the shelters be really crowded?

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    Very uncrowded, I'll bet, except maybe in the Whites, or when you crash against the NOBOs somewhere in New England. I was a few weeks ahead of the SOBO herd last summer and had the shelters to myself most nights.

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    You will see TONS of Northbounders for your first 6-7 weeks and then the trail will get pretty empty. I'd imagine you could run into weekenders, scouts and groups in the fall during weekends but the shelters will be virtually empty during the week, except for your fellow SOBO's, for which there will be some.
    Anything's within walking distance if you've got the time.
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    If you want it less crowded, sleep in a tent or hammock on the weekends and use the shelters during the week days.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by beastxc View Post
    Is it likely that going SOBO alone i might not run into people for long lengths of time if i leave july 1st?
    There are about half a dozen other WB members who have posted that they are leaving SOBO July 1 as well, and it's the traditional start date for a SOBO hike, so I doubt you'll be alone. About 200 attempt a SOBO each year and most of them probably start within a week or two either side of July 1. There will be other people on the trail - probably more than you might expect. You'll run into early/fast NOBO's and sectioners first, and then you'll start running into the NOBO "herd" from late July trough August depending upon your pace. Plus the Whites in NH can literally be crowded(from a hiking standpoint) all summer, especially on nice weekend days. Past Labor day it should thin out wherever you may be by then.
    "That's the thing about possum innards - they's just as good the second day." - Jed Clampett

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    Since you are starting with the SOBO traffic you will see a bunch at first. After the 100 mile and some of the rocker sections, you will start seperating. Down in Tenn, I haven't see more than 3-4 people on a section. You will only probably have to fight for space with sectioners.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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  8. #8
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    My experience was that shelters were full until Labor Day, which translated into full most of the time in Maine, NH, and Vermont. Through September there were some other hikers. In October, November, and most of December there was nobody else out there, even on weekends. (A lot of hikers don't hike during hunting season.) Except in Maryland. For some reason, people in Maryland like to get out on weekends. When colleges let out for Christmas, a few holiday hikers started showing up.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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  9. #9
    Registered User Peaks's Avatar
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    No matter where you are, and what direction you are hiking, expect to share shelters on Friday and Saturday with the weekenders.

  10. #10
    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
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    My experience was similar to Marta's. People in the shelters in Maine, with some full ones in southern ME and NH. By the time I was in VT I was seeing the last of the northbounders. From VA on I think I was at a shelter 10 times that had other people in it I wasn't hiking with.

    After a certain point people who only go out a couple times a year don't go out. This is the best time to be out. The people you do meet are really cool and/or interesting.

    A lot of the southbounders I was hiking with last year or reading in the registers send their shelters home and was only carrying a piece of plastic to wall off the front of the shelter. I was still carrying my tarp that I could do the same. We figured if we had to we could make a lean to or something out of it, but never had to. It did dictate the miles a lot, but that wasn't too big of a deal. We were in shape and usually went for the longer option.

    Oh and I wouldn't start without a shelter with bugnetting. They can get pretty bad at times in Maine.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammock engineer View Post
    Oh and I wouldn't start without a shelter with bugnetting. They can get pretty bad at times in Maine.
    Ditto.

    I carried a tarp or tent the whole way, though I didn't sleep in it after Vermont. As HE said, I also used mine occasionally to block wind or rain from the shelter.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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  12. #12
    Registered User naturejunkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marta View Post
    My experience was that shelters were full until Labor Day, which translated into full most of the time in Maine, NH, and Vermont. Through September there were some other hikers. In October, November, and most of December there was nobody else out there, even on weekends. (A lot of hikers don't hike during hunting season.) Except in Maryland. For some reason, people in Maryland like to get out on weekends. When colleges let out for Christmas, a few holiday hikers started showing up.
    My friend who works at the Maryland DNR said that guns and therefore hunters are not permitted on the Maryland AT or within 150 yards of the AT, which I did not know. I think the result is hunters avoid the area and hikers feel free to hike. (Please do not read this as a political statement of any variety about guns)

    Anyway, I'm headed sobo in two weeks. I'll see you peeps on the trail. Cheers!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by naturejunkie View Post
    My friend who works at the Maryland DNR said that guns and therefore hunters are not permitted on the Maryland AT or within 150 yards of the AT, which I did not know. I think the result is hunters avoid the area and hikers feel free to hike. (Please do not read this as a political statement of any variety about guns)

    Anyway, I'm headed sobo in two weeks. I'll see you peeps on the trail. Cheers!
    Most areas(where hunting is allowed) have AT corridors where hunting is not allowed - but it's a very narrow corridor (like the 150 yards you mentioned) - hardly outside the lethal range of a high power rifle. Still a good idea to use extra caution during hunting season, including wearing some blaze orange. Just like with hikers there are all sorts out there. Most hunters are really responsible, identify their targets, line of fire, etc. Some wind up shooting livestock and even people. During hunting season there are always a few a**holes in the woods with guns.
    "That's the thing about possum innards - they's just as good the second day." - Jed Clampett

  14. #14
    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by naturejunkie View Post
    My friend who works at the Maryland DNR said that guns and therefore hunters are not permitted on the Maryland AT or within 150 yards of the AT, which I did not know. I think the result is hunters avoid the area and hikers feel free to hike. (Please do not read this as a political statement of any variety about guns)

    Anyway, I'm headed sobo in two weeks. I'll see you peeps on the trail. Cheers!

    I hear what you are saying and know it is the law throughout the trail. But I lost count of how many hunters I saw standing on the trail, parked at trailheads, or blood/hair/drag marks on the trail from dragging the deer out on the trail.

    I would not count on that stopping anyone. Plus in PA the trail goes through some game areas where hunting is allowed. I thought hunting was big in ohio, but in the south it takes on a whole new definition.

    Most of the hunters I met were pretty cool though. Just smile say hi, and move on. When it gets to bear season, leave the dogs alone. That really bugs them.

  15. #15
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by naturejunkie View Post
    My friend who works at the Maryland DNR said that guns and therefore hunters are not permitted on the Maryland AT or within 150 yards of the AT, which I did not know. I think the result is hunters avoid the area and hikers feel free to hike. (Please do not read this as a political statement of any variety about guns)

    Anyway, I'm headed sobo in two weeks. I'll see you peeps on the trail. Cheers!
    There is a no-hunting corridor along the AT in Maryland, but hunters use the AT to access the backcountry. They are supposed to carry the guns unloaded and broken...which not ever hunter I ran into was doing.

    Really, though, hunters are not such a problem. Wear lots of blaze orange, and treat them the way you'd want to be treated.

    Good luck on your hike!
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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  16. #16
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    Default Shelters

    So, back to the topic. I know that I am expecting mostly empty shelters towards the end of my hike. I think in large part Sobos have better luck getting shelter space because there just aren't that many of us. So, beyond the overlap with the small horde of Nobos and the occassional weekend crowd, I am thinking shelter space will not be too much of an issue.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by naturejunkie View Post
    So, back to the topic. I know that I am expecting mostly empty shelters towards the end of my hike. I think in large part Sobos have better luck getting shelter space because there just aren't that many of us. So, beyond the overlap with the small horde of Nobos and the occassional weekend crowd, I am thinking shelter space will not be too much of an issue.
    I think you'll find shelters pretty crowded in New England in the summer.
    "That's the thing about possum innards - they's just as good the second day." - Jed Clampett

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