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  1. #41
    Garlic
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    I'd suggest April 15, tax day. Two reasons to celebrate.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  2. #42
    Peakbagger Extraordinaire The Solemates's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBthal View Post
    The Solemates - What are the reasons for your preferred start months?

    Thx
    the post just below this one pretty much sums it up. with a february start date you meet all my criteria for hiking: no people, no bugs, no hot. with a may start date you would have fewer people (mainly just dayhikers/section hikers) and the luxury of nicer weather (albeit hot at times). for what its worth, we started 1 feb on our thru.
    The only thing better than mountains, is mountains where you haven't been.

    amongnature.blogspot.com

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Solemates View Post
    the post just below this one pretty much sums it up. with a february start date you meet all my criteria for hiking: no people, no bugs, no hot. with a may start date you would have fewer people (mainly just dayhikers/section hikers) and the luxury of nicer weather (albeit hot at times). for what its worth, we started 1 feb on our thru.
    Solemates, Feb. 1 seems pretty early.....of the 8 weeks of Feb. and March, how many days would you guess you were not able to hike due to the weather. I know this varies from year to year but I would be interested in how tough you thought it was being in the mountains of Ga. and N.C. during that time.

  4. #44

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    I'd start no earlier than April 15, and probably as late as May 1. That's assuming a 4 month thru-hike though.

  5. #45
    Registered User cowboy nichols's Avatar
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    4 hours from now!!!! I WISH!!!!!!!

  6. #46
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rain Man View Post
    For me, I don't see any reason to start in March, which can still be brutal winter at altitudes.

    RainMan
    I fear the heat I would encounter in the summer, from starting late, more than the cold in March.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  7. #47
    AT NOBO Thru-Hike - Mar 2011 centsless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lloyd528 View Post
    Marta, thanks for your insight. I appreciate the thought about changing direction and ending at Harper's Ferry. Do you know of hikers who have done that personally and were fulfilled? Somehow, after all that hiking, I pictured myself on top of a mountain after an uphill climb (like Katahdin). Ending it all in a town might seem anticlimatic after waiting 33 years to do it again. On the other hand, there may be something about ending it in Harper's Ferry that I am not seeing. Help me out if you can.
    The previous post my Marta brings an interesting aspect to it, however, i do agree in your viewpoint about climbing up to Katahdin... i think some element of mytique is lost if you were to break up the hike into sections like that. Then again, there are valid reasons to do so.

    Personally, i've explored those options as well, and as of now, i've decided to go right thru NOBO next year.

    Good luck!

  8. #48
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    Default columbus ohio??

    centsless, I'm in Gahanna, maybe we will run into each other next year....My wife and I teach at Columbus Academy...

  9. #49
    AT 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboy nichols View Post
    4 hours from now!!!! I WISH!!!!!!!
    ...that's pretty much what I wanted to say, since reading through all of the posts -- although I was going to say... TOMORROW!!! The truth is, I think it is a wonderful thing to be able to prioritize the time to take a long walk. any time. and the longer the better.
    Lazarus

  10. #50
    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by full conditions View Post
    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.
    Every year is different. But the summit ridges of the high mountains of Georgia and North Carolina have climate conditions remarkably similar to coastal Maine, where I live.

    But I agree mid April is an ideal starting time. The spring flowers are starting to bloom by mid-April. Serious snow is unlikely. The leaves are starting to emerge. It's an altogether beautiful time of years in the southern Appalachians. And better still, by the time one is likely to reach northern New England, the fall leaves will be in full color.

    Weary

  11. #51
    Registered User ChinMusic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lloyd528 View Post
    Do you know of hikers who have done that personally and were fulfilled? Somehow, after all that hiking, I pictured myself on top of a mountain after an uphill climb (like Katahdin). Ending it all in a town might seem anticlimatic after waiting 33 years to do it again.
    I have the same gut feeling.

    I would want to end at Katahdin and plan accordingly. If reasons made for this not to happen I feel something would be lost.
    Fear ridges that are depicted as flat lines on a profile map.

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by weary View Post
    But I agree mid April is an ideal starting time. The spring flowers are starting to bloom by mid-April. Serious snow is unlikely. The leaves are starting to emerge. It's an altogether beautiful time of years in the southern Appalachians. And better still, by the time one is likely to reach northern New England, the fall leaves will be in full color.

    Weary
    Weary, back in '78 when we made it 1500 miles (an injury the thru hike) we left on April 28th from Springer. It was perfect....but now we are probably going to be approved for a leave from the school we both teach at in mid March. We would both like to start the school year in September so I guess that answers it. We should actually start March 1, even if it's cold, if we want to have 6 full months..that's about 13 miles a day....when we were young, 28ish, we were doing 20 a day. That was too hurried. I know we missed out by doing too much. Can't believe we wore navy woolen pants then. Sure weighed a lot when they got wet.

  13. #53
    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lloyd528 View Post
    Marta, thanks for your insight. I appreciate the thought about changing direction and ending at Harper's Ferry. Do you know of hikers who have done that personally and were fulfilled? Somehow, after all that hiking, I pictured myself on top of a mountain after an uphill climb (like Katahdin). Ending it all in a town might seem anticlimatic after waiting 33 years to do it again. On the other hand, there may be something about ending it in Harper's Ferry that I am not seeing. Help me out if you can.
    Ordinarily I'd recommend a SOBO hike, but with your wife's physical issues, it's probably not a great idea to hit Maine and New Hampshire right out of the starting gate.

    Several hikers I've known have done flipflops, and were extremely thrilled to complete the Trail. One of the hikers is Mosey, one of the oldest women to have thru-hiked. A flipflop was pretty much a necessity for her because the hike took her 8 months.

    One fun aspect of a flipflop is that, when you are starting part II, you would be an experienced hiker amongst the novices, and they would look on you as a god walking amongst them. (Deep down underneath it all, people starting thru-hikes are usually very insecure about their chance of success...at least if they have any sense.)

    Another fun aspect is that, when the SOBOs you're hiking amongst are grappling with the fact that they're only halfway done, and winter is rapidly approaching, you will be done!
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

    ME>GA 2006
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  14. #54
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    Mid to late April is the best overall time to leave in my view (in terms of weather, crowds and blooming flowers), but it depends on your timeframes and how far you like to hike each day obviously.

    March potentially means snow and quite a bit of cold nights, which is cool, but I find those things taxing on a long hike personally. If I want 2 deg and snow, I'll go hiking in the Catskills of NY in January.

    Also with the crowds, if you avoid shelters and hostels, the trail can almost seem empty at times, even in thru-hiker season. Plus, most shelters are off the trail a couple hundred feet, so it's quite easy to pass by the side trail and never see the 22 hikers at that shelter, then camp up the trail alone.

    The earlier you leave, the more you are potentially going to face in terms of weather...but there are always the odd, warm, dry year...or so I'm told ha.

  15. #55
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    The best time to start is Daylight. I have walked a bit in the dark by necessity and by choice and it is just better when you can see stuff.
    My point would be 'just go'. That is much more important than a date on a calendar.

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