WhiteBlaze Pages 2022
A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
$5 for printable PDF, AVAILABLE NOW. $9 for interactive PDF(smartphone version)
Read more here WhiteBlaze Pages Store

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 34
  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-13-2009
    Location
    Dallas, TX
    Age
    36
    Posts
    11

    Default Does a SOBO get lonesome?

    I'm planning on starting a solo SOBO from Maine around July 1. My biggest concern (actually, all my friends' biggest concern too) is that there won't be anyone on the trail to hike with by the time October/November/December rolls around. Does anyone who has hiked SOBO before comment a bit about what the SOBO community is like? Can you really go for weeks at a time without seeing another thru-hiker?

  2. #2
    Registered User YoungMoose's Avatar
    Join Date
    09-14-2008
    Location
    Everett, WA
    Age
    28
    Posts
    637
    Images
    51

    Default

    From what ive read in a couple of books alot of people say that if your going sobo you definetly have to like being by yourself. Some parts are defnietly busier then others but sometimes you would only see 1-5 people a day. im not sure if thats correct but i read that a couple of times.


  3. #3
    Wheeler Wheeler's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-31-2009
    Location
    Stonington,Ct.
    Age
    47
    Posts
    212
    Images
    25

    Default

    I finished my sobo this past jan. There aren't many people on the trail, but there are still a few. I was in a group of 4 hikers. We grouped up when the weather started getting pretty cold. There were two groups in front of us that did the same. Each group seemed to finish about 2 weeks apart. Twice, I went about a week without even seeing another person on the trail,but that seemed rare,usually you will at least bump into a hunter. But the weather had turned pretty ugly. Once I went almost two week's without seeing anyone,but I did go in to town for resupply. This was before I grouped up. Had I hiked faster(not so late in the year),obviously there would have been more people around. You will have ample time up north to meet people you are comfy hiking with. As far as seeing other thru-hikers goes, I didn't see any, but like I said,I knew of groups ahead of me.I didn't see a single NOBO,though I heard from locals,Hostels, etc... that they were crossing my path. Funny that we didn't see a SINGLE one. They must have all been night hikers. You don't have to be alone, but I think it's good for you to take some time alone.

  4. #4

    Default

    Im flying from NC up to Bangor on june 8th. Its getting pretty close and this question, among many other worries, come to mind often. However try to think of the positives and don't think your planning it. YOUR DOING IT! Also I am really into spirituality/philosophy so if you are into it or not maybe you can try it out. It helps the most during lonsome times and sadness. When I say spirituality I don't mean religion, there is a large line between the two. Try out Alan Watts on for size, he has some really good books that are small and light! The nature of non-dualistic ideas and false individuality are my favorite dwelling places and plan on coming back to these truths on the trail... it is a primary reason for my hike.

  5. #5
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-21-2007
    Location
    Swedesboro, NJ
    Age
    67
    Posts
    5,339
    Images
    25

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by robertbrowder View Post
    I'm planning on starting a solo SOBO from Maine around July 1. My biggest concern (actually, all my friends' biggest concern too) is that there won't be anyone on the trail to hike with by the time October/November/December rolls around. Does anyone who has hiked SOBO before comment a bit about what the SOBO community is like? Can you really go for weeks at a time without seeing another thru-hiker?
    NOBO this winter i'd see maybe a total of 2 people from mon-fri and maybe 6 on a weekend day. i hated the weekends.
    maybe its my age, but i loved it. going to finish my hike SOBO. you have a great hike. take a book
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    11-20-2002
    Location
    Damascus, Virginia
    Age
    63
    Posts
    31,307

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by robertbrowder View Post
    I'm planning on starting a solo SOBO from Maine around July 1. My biggest concern (actually, all my friends' biggest concern too) is that there won't be anyone on the trail to hike with by the time October/November/December rolls around. Does anyone who has hiked SOBO before comment a bit about what the SOBO community is like? Can you really go for weeks at a time without seeing another thru-hiker?
    you'll be around plenty of folks. SOBO is the way to go

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by robertbrowder View Post
    I'm planning on starting a solo SOBO from Maine around July 1. My biggest concern (actually, all my friends' biggest concern too) is that there won't be anyone on the trail to hike with by the time October/November/December rolls around. Does anyone who has hiked SOBO before comment a bit about what the SOBO community is like? Can you really go for weeks at a time without seeing another thru-hiker?
    I haven't thru-hiked, but it stands to reason there will be less opportunity to meet and interact with other's heading Southbound on a thruhike, as from what I understand about 85% of people who thruhike go Northbound, so right there you will be starting out with less people. As far as not seeing people for weeks at a time, I doubt that, this being the heavily populated East Coast, however as far as thru-hikers go you will be in the minority. In my opinion, being young and most likely very social, you would be better off going Northbound.

  8. #8

    Default

    We finished in mid November. Very few days if any went by without seeing other hikers on the trail. Now having said, chances are you won't be in a big 'pack' of fellow thru hikers. Sobo's tend to form much smaller, tighter groups. People tend to appreciate that more when they see photos of 30 nobo thru hikers jammed in to a shelter.

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    03-02-2009
    Location
    St. Stephen, NB, Canada
    Age
    46
    Posts
    627

    Default

    I'm kicking off the beginning of my section hike of the AT heading SOBO this year in Maine. I'm going SOBO specifically to reduce the number of people I hike with.

  10. #10
    Ron Haven's Avatar
    Join Date
    03-15-2007
    Location
    Donating Member in Franklin,NC
    Age
    64
    Posts
    1,626
    Images
    81

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by robertbrowder View Post
    I'm planning on starting a solo SOBO from Maine around July 1. My biggest concern (actually, all my friends' biggest concern too) is that there won't be anyone on the trail to hike with by the time October/November/December rolls around. Does anyone who has hiked SOBO before comment a bit about what the SOBO community is like? Can you really go for weeks at a time without seeing another thru-hiker?
    robertbrowder,keep in mind that we have a Hiker Christmas Party gathering on the 1st weekend of December in Franklin,NC and south bounders are sure welcome.

  11. #11
    Registered User D-wreck's Avatar
    Join Date
    05-31-2008
    Location
    South of the border.
    Age
    47
    Posts
    58

    Default

    I started my SOBO hike on July 1st 2008 without knowing anyone. Ran into lots of SOBO's and NOBO's until Glencliff, NH. It thinned out after that, and I hiked alone a lot in Vermont, Mass and Conn (and then I ran into Wheeler!) I ran into others in New York and New Jersey, and finally ran into the Vermont Mafia and hiked the rest of the way to Georgia with them. We continued to meet other SOBO's along the way, but it was rare. We picked up Bearwalked in Virgina, Bookworm in North Carolina, and One Gallon on Springer.

    If you leave around 7/1, you will get the chance to meet as many SOBO's as you want. You can slow down / speed up to hike alone / hike with others as you choose. You'll only be as lonely as you want to be. There will always be lots of day hikers and section hikers to keep you company too.

    I was nervous about going SOBO, but it couldn't have turned out better. OK, the weather got stupid cold in December, but it was worth it.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
    Join Date
    01-30-2005
    Location
    NW MT
    Posts
    5,468
    Images
    56

    Default

    There is a SOBO "pack," mostly composed of guys about your age. It's small, compared to the herds of NOBOs, but it exists. You can be alone, if you wish, or you can join up with one or more other hikers. Your choice.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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

    Instagram hiking photos: five.leafed.clover

  13. #13
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-14-2009
    Location
    chagrin falls ohio
    Age
    38
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    NOBO this winter i'd see maybe a total of 2 people from mon-fri and maybe 6 on a weekend day. i hated the weekends.
    maybe its my age, but i loved it. going to finish my hike SOBO. you have a great hike. take a book
    when are u going to finish your sobo hike. i am planing on hike the at in june from harrisburg pa south to springer

  14. #14
    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-27-2005
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Age
    44
    Posts
    2,079

    Default

    I finish in Jan. It definitly seperated out by PA, if not before. There was a big group in from (12 or 18 if you belive it) than I was always a week or 2 back. If you are looking for a group for most of the way I would do it early.

    I figured I did about a third of the trail solo, half with 1 other guy, and the rest in a small group. Solo I went 4 days with only seeing someone in a car at a road crossing. I joined a group just before Damascus. The funny thing is by that point you saw someone and it wasn't a big deal or hard to start hiking with them for awhile.

    The cold definitly thins people out. Enjoy. When you get used to hiking alone or in a very small group, it's hard to beat.

  15. #15

    Default

    I'm starting to wonder how often I'm going to be all alone, too, since I'm not starting until July 12th. Seems like everyone is heading out a week or two before that (or more) and I'm REALLY slow so the odds of catching up are pretty slim. I am looking forward to having some alone hiking time for sure, and avoiding the crowds, but I think I am going to miss the camaraderie that I had going northbound, at least starting out when I'm still nervous.

    Sugargrits
    "Too much civilization around here! Remember when the woods used to be woods, Harry?"

  16. #16

    Default

    If you go SOBO do you miss a lot of trail magic compared to going NOBO? If you go SOBO are a lot of the hostels closed in the south when you get there? Do you miss anything by going SOBO?

  17. #17

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by THEmapMAKER View Post
    If you go SOBO do you miss a lot of trail magic compared to going NOBO? If you go SOBO are a lot of the hostels closed in the south when you get there? Do you miss anything by going SOBO?
    Trail Magic: To quote the movie Office Space... " I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob."

    Yes there is a lot less trail magic for SOBO's. But I would argue that when you do come across it it's more 'magical' because it's so much more unexpected.

    This year I saw a video of a guy that set up a camp on the trail w/ a huge tent, food, drinks, cots, etc.... That's a bit ridiculous if you ask me. Not saying I wouldn't stop in if I was hiking, but come on. Towns arn't THAT far apart. Add on that the hiker feeds, the people at road crossings... it softens you.

    Hostels: We went from June - November and only came across two hostels that were closed for the season. If trail magic and hostels are your thing, then you should be going NOBO.

    Do you miss anything by going SOBO?
    Crowds.

  18. #18

    Default

    I like to "hike" more than "camp" so I tend to hike till (almost) dark. I'd go stir crazy doing a SOBO with the shortened days near the end of the hike.

  19. #19
    Registered User hammock engineer's Avatar
    Join Date
    10-27-2005
    Location
    New Orleans, LA
    Age
    44
    Posts
    2,079

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mindi View Post
    I'm starting to wonder how often I'm going to be all alone, too, since I'm not starting until July 12th. Seems like everyone is heading out a week or two before that (or more) and I'm REALLY slow so the odds of catching up are pretty slim. I am looking forward to having some alone hiking time for sure, and avoiding the crowds, but I think I am going to miss the camaraderie that I had going northbound, at least starting out when I'm still nervous.

    Sugargrits
    Blake said it best. All about what you are looking for. If you want to hike around tons of people, have tons of people everywhere, feel cheated if people don't give you things all the time, than go North. If you want to spend time alone or with less people (a couple people I hiked with where never alone), spend more time hiking and less with the hiker feed scene, hike through 2 months of leaf changing, and into Winter than go south.

    Basically most of this boils down to if you think you need a lot of people around to enjoy your hike go north if you don't go south.

    In the end it is all about what you are looking for. I think in the end you would enjoy whichever one you choose. Have a good time and don't pay attension to all the anti-southbounder stuff you are going to read here. Never saw any of it actually hiking. Man I usually don't get caught up in this.

  20. #20
    Registered User sasquatch2014's Avatar
    Join Date
    08-19-2007
    Location
    Pawling NY
    Age
    53
    Posts
    1,986
    Images
    785

    Default

    While you may hike with less folks during the day you tend to pass a few of the Nobo through out and it's an easy way to find out who is ahead of you quickly. Depending on your time frame I may bump into you when I do my fall Sobo section down in VA this year.

    By the time you get down my way you will be in true thru hiker shape but if you want company for the day give me a shout I'll run out for the day. I can also help with the resupply in Pawling or a lift to the train station. It is easier it seems with the Sobo crowed to help out as it's not as crazy as in the middle of the summer.

    One issue depending on the year is as you enter into the late fall some of the springs can be pretty dry by then if we have not had much rain. I know a lot of folks help out by setting out water near road crossing etc. Who knew that simple water can be a form of trail magic until you have been hiking on empty of a while.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •