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  1. #1
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    Default what's would be your ideal time to start from Springer?

    Back in 1978 we didn't have to worry about crowds on Springer Mt. when my wife and I started our attempt at thru-hiking. Today, from all that I have read and I've done a lot of reading lately, the AT can be quite crowded on April 1. For those of you who are familiar with the trail now, what would be the worst time to start and the best time to begin. Third question being....what do you think would be the average number of days you could get some good hiking in if you started March 1, considering weather, blow-downs, etc. How was March this year for instance?

  2. #2

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    From reading Trail Journals and on here, this March was a doosie. Abby-Normal to say the least. Storm of the century in the south. 4 foot drifts in the smokys, etc.
    Lots of people either delayed, or got off for a few weeks.
    Are you going to thru? How's your health? (I see your are 60). Plot back from Katahdin perhaps. Number of zero's, time off for family, figure to finish third week in September, and work back from that. Then, maybe start a week or two before what you calculate.
    For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away Bryan Adams....
    Hammock hangs are where you go into the woods to meet men you've only known on the internet so you can sit around a campfire to swap sewing tips and recipes. - sargevining on HF

  3. #3

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    The crowds don't bother me. I enjoy the company of others so I like to hang around the shelters, but I do occasionally need a night to myself and there are plenty of unoccupied mountaintops starting in April

  4. #4
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    We are going thru and our health is good. Right now my wife needs to take care of her bunions before we do this. Her knees are a little weak but she will be carrying less weight than she used to and using treking poles, which really helps with balance, pace and a little weight.

  5. #5
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    if we were to do it again we'd probably go nobo starting either before february 1st or after may 1st
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

    amongnature.blogspot.com

  6. #6
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    Default February or May

    if we were to do it again we'd probably go nobo starting either before february 1st or after may 1st
    The Solemates - What are the reasons for your preferred start months?

    Thx

  7. #7
    The internet is calling and I must go. buff_jeff's Avatar
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    May 1.

    I sectioned GA-Harpers Ferry starting May 10 and the combination of phenomenal weather and fewer people made it the best possible time to hike, for me. There were hardly any bugs, I didn't have to deal with uncomfortably cold or warm weather, and the NOBO herd was well ahead and thinned out by that time.

    There were still a decent amount of thrus left, though, and many of them went on to finish with time to spare.

  8. #8
    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    This March was atypical for sure. But I would still start when I did in '07. First week of March.







    Hiking Blog
    AT NOBO and SOBO, LT, FHT, ALT
    Shenandoah NP Ridgerunner, Author, Speaker


  9. #9
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    "What's would be your ideal time to start from Springer?"

    April Fool's Day, I think. It seems that "in the old days" many if not most started in May, though many in April.

    For me, I don't see any reason to start in March, which can still be brutal winter at altitudes.

    RainMan

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    ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: ... Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit..... Numbers 35

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  10. #10

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    I began my thru on May 15 and I was very surprised at the large number of hikers setting out to do the whole trail. There were so many hikers that the shelters were full and folks had tents set up all around the shelter areas. I will add however, that once I got to the Nantahalas, the numbers thinned out dramatically and from there to New England there were only a handfull of us in my peloton.

    That said, if I had to hike NOBO, I would probably leave Springer again in mid April to avoid the largest part of the herd and that would still leave me plenty of time to get to Katahdin before mid October.
    Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

  11. #11

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Man View Post
    If it were me... SOBO - mid-July
    If so, what would be your expected completion date?
    Roland


  13. #13

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    Yeah... it really depends.... the crowds are very large currently... so, if you want the masses, the crowded shelter with lots of newbies on thier cellphones, ect, then start away! But, yes... by FONTANA... Id say 25% are done with hiking, and by then it does begin to thin out... the party hard crowd who realizes that flush toilets aren't available every 5 miles, and that hiking each day is just not what they really want.... Starting FEB 1 - FEB 20th you will have thin crowds... and then by May 1st, it thins once again...
    "Reach Farther" ~ SOLACE

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    If so, what would be your expected completion date?
    Everyone is different, so 3-6 months similar to NOBO. For me, I probably would not push it or set a hard deadline - 5-6 months... or more likely, split the hike over two years, and just SOBO for 3 months starting at the end of August: ME-WV year 1; WV-GA year 2. But then I am a simple section-hiker, so what do i know?

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Man View Post
    Everyone is different, so 3-6 months similar to NOBO. For me, I probably would not push it or set a hard deadline - 5-6 months... or more likely, split the hike over two years, and just SOBO for 3 months starting at the end of August: ME-WV year 1; WV-GA year 2. But then I am a simple section-hiker, so what do i know?
    Thru-hiking is over-rated. All NOBO'ers I have met in New England chant 'gotta do the miles'... they don't appear to be having fun by the time they reach VT or NH. I would prefer to do longer sections than I do now and pick the season rather than let the miles determine my experience - hot, cold, buggy, etc. Again, just my opinion.

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=Tin Man;997859]Thru-hiking is over-rated.

    Tin Man, Have you thru-hiked? If you have, I would be interested in why you believe it is over-rated. If you haven't no need to reply but I do appreciate your addition to this thread.

  17. #17

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    The best date to start a thru for an average hiker is 4/15 in my opinion; although I wouldn't disagree with anyone who says 4/1 thru 4/15.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Man View Post
    Thru-hiking is over-rated.
    Do one first and then give us your opinion.

  19. #19

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    re:thru-hiking... no offense meant... just my opinion as i stated

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Man View Post
    Thru-hiking is over-rated. All NOBO'ers I have met in New England chant 'gotta do the miles'... they don't appear to be having fun by the time they reach VT or NH. I would prefer to do longer sections than I do now and pick the season rather than let the miles determine my experience - hot, cold, buggy, etc. Again, just my opinion.
    [QUOTE=lloyd528;997926]
    Quote Originally Posted by Tin Man View Post
    Thru-hiking is over-rated.

    Tin Man, Have you thru-hiked? If you have, I would be interested in why you believe it is over-rated. If you haven't no need to reply but I do appreciate your addition to this thread.
    i'm with tin man. i've thru-hiked. it is overrated. fantasy is much better than reality

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