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    Default Going solo on Appalachian trail what's it like?

    Just wanting to hear from personal experience what it's like. My plan is to basically hike as far as I can go, an hopefully the whole thing. What's it like? Is it easy to get lost, or is there literally a trail to follow for 2100 miles? Are there usually open spots in the shacks for someone solo hiking to sleep in? How often will I run into small towns along the trail to restock on food? How often will I run into people along the trail? ((As I'd like to make sure I'm always around some sort of group of people, even if it's 1/4th a mile away, just in case I ran into a bear, plus I'd assume that if there's more people around, there's a less chance I'd run into anything like that. Thanks in advance for the answers.

  2. #2

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    There are no bears on the trail
    The trail is marked with incandescant lights the whole way
    There is always room in the shacks for up to 100 people
    And there are always people within a quarter mile. . .
    Have a great hike....

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    Default ATC link

    Click on http://www.appalachiantrail.org and start reading.

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    Although there is literally a trail for 2179 miles or so, it is fairly easy to get lost for short periods of time and easy to find one's way back when you realize that you haven't seen a white blaze. Depending upon when you are hiking, there may or may not be a space in the shelters. You should carry your own shelter such as a tent or hammock. you may not see many folks while hiking, but you will usually meet people at the shelters. You probably won't see a bear up close until around the Shenandoahs, and even then, they are usually in the distance.

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    Registered User The Cleaner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Concealed View Post
    Just wanting to hear from personal experience what it's like. My plan is to basically hike as far as I can go, an hopefully the whole thing. What's it like? Is it easy to get lost, or is there literally a trail to follow for 2100 miles? Are there usually open spots in the shacks for someone solo hiking to sleep in? How often will I run into small towns along the trail to restock on food? How often will I run into people along the trail? ((As I'd like to make sure I'm always around some sort of group of people, even if it's 1/4th a mile away, just in case I ran into a bear, plus I'd assume that if there's more people around, there's a less chance I'd run into anything like that. Thanks in advance for the answers.
    Failure to plan is planning to fail....Although the AT isn't the vast Alaska wilderness it is remote in places and you can get hypothermia in 50 degree temps.Even though it could be a mild winter in some southern towns ie. Knoxville,Atlanta, winter comes early and spring is late....

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    never thaught id be misspelling this but,.....read books.start with any.
    matthewski

  7. #7

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    Damn Matty that makes sense!
    E-Z---"from sea to shining sea''

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    Formerly thickredhair Gaiter's Avatar
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    like others said, just start reading, there are many different answers to your questions, so keep on reading, find what you think will work for you....
    Gaiter
    homepage.mac.com/thickredhair
    web.mac.com/thickredhair/AT_Fall_07

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by warraghiyagey View Post
    There are no bears on the trail
    The trail is marked with incandescant lights the whole way
    There is always room in the shacks for up to 100 people
    And there are always people within a quarter mile. . .
    Have a great hike....
    ...like he said...
    www.postholer.com/Turtle Feet
    Follow me as I crawl the A.T.
    Life is an adventure or nothing at all ~ Hellen Keller

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    Bumped into a Bear in NJ on the mtn top. He ran away as though I was tring to kill him - a beautiful memory of the bear running FAST. It was into a very red sunset that he ran. Not scary at all. I have enjoyed most shelters but many are full at popular points of the trail - Smokeys. so one needs a Tarp occasionally to sleep under. As u hike don't be suprised to LEARN as u go. For that reason it is suggested that u try a short bump of a hike - such as one week on the trail before u go a big bump.

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    Registered User John B's Avatar
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    Go to www.trailjournals.com Pick any of them -- some are from people who've finished, others from those who didn't; some hike solo, others in herds; some use mail drops, others use stores.

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    Could this be like one of those "Mystery Shoppers" trying to test all of us?

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    Registered User LoneRidgeRunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warraghiyagey View Post
    There are no bears on the trail
    The trail is marked with incandescant lights the whole way
    There is always room in the shacks for up to 100 people
    And there are always people within a quarter mile. . .
    Have a great hike....
    Now now warraghivagey.... LOL...

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    Registered User tawa's Avatar
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    You all are being played! lol

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    Registered User Grampie's Avatar
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    No reason to fear the AT. Even if you hike alone, most likely there will be others comming along.
    Do read as much as posiable about thru-hiking before you go. Much good information is available. Try to find a past thru-hiker in your area to talk to. I'm sure they will be willing to share their trail experience with you.
    Grampie-N->2001

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    Registered User weary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warraghiyagey View Post
    There are no bears on the trail
    The trail is marked with incandescant lights the whole way
    There is always room in the shacks for up to 100 people
    And there are always people within a quarter mile. . .
    Have a great hike....
    Okay. So you have demonstrated, warraghiyagey, that you know how to be sarcastic. But sarcasm when directed against someone who obviously knows nothing can be unwise. The guy might believe you.

    Anyway, here's the straight poop. Bears will occasionally try to steal your food and very rarely even attempt to chew on people, but never so far as I know, on long distance hikers.

    We call the "shacks" shelters and leantos. They typically hold 8, maybe 12, people. The shelters quite often are full, especially during the peak hiking seasons, so it is wise to carry a tent, tarp, or other device to protect yourself from the rain.

    The trail goes through towns with stores every few days until you get to the wilds of Maine, where stores are in short supply.

    The trail is pretty easy to follow, but people still get lost from time to time, so it's wise to carry a compass and maps and know how to use them -- especially in Maine.

    Always carry a flashlight. The lamp posts that warraghiyagey speaks of are all located down in the valleys, often miles from the trail.
    Last edited by weary; 12-05-2010 at 12:20.

  17. #17
    Registered User LoneRidgeRunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Concealed View Post
    Just wanting to hear from personal experience what it's like. My plan is to basically hike as far as I can go, an hopefully the whole thing. What's it like? Is it easy to get lost, or is there literally a trail to follow for 2100 miles? Are there usually open spots in the shacks for someone solo hiking to sleep in? How often will I run into small towns along the trail to restock on food? How often will I run into people along the trail? ((As I'd like to make sure I'm always around some sort of group of people, even if it's 1/4th a mile away, just in case I ran into a bear, plus I'd assume that if there's more people around, there's a less chance I'd run into anything like that. Thanks in advance for the answers.
    First of all..let me say this. Get that word "hopefully" out of your head and your plans. (That will doom you to fail.) You gotta have the attitude "I WILL hike the entire length!" I haven't yet did a thru hike but I have spent a considerable amount of time on the AT in the Great Smokey Mountains of NC and TN because I only live 130 miles from there. In the Smokeys Stevie Wonder could see and follow that trail but I can't honestly vouch for the other areas. I did see once where a blind dude did it with his seeing eye dog. (Now how that dog read maps and trail markers and signs is beyond me.) I have seen bears on and near the trail and in camping areas in the Smokeys on rare occasions when I was in the woods outside of winter and even a large sow with 2 cubs at 40 yards once but I have no teeth or claw marks on me and the bears also survived the incidents so I wouldn't worry too much about bears. Just hang your food at camp and never eat or keep food in your tent and don't pour peanut butter and / or honey all over your self and you should be fine in regards to bears. They are really cool people. (the bears) As far as getting lost goes, if you do get lost you won't be lost forever so don't get your drawers all in a wad if you do. LOL.. Always carry a tent in case you don't have room in a shelter or maybe just can't make it to one before time to sleep. I prefer to do most of my hiking in the dead of winter and at that time there may not be a lot of people so that should solve the shelter problem at least during that season. You can find on this website about small towns near the trails and you will probably never be more than a few days walk at least from a road that will lead to a town. More than likely the fartherest you will be from road or town access will be in the middle of the Smokeys. I would suggest doing some wilderness hiking for training to alleviate your fears before you begin your hike. Also, I worry more about the ill mannered dogs of other hikers who don't have sense enough to keep those unruly dogs leashed or leave them at home than I do bears. I have had closer calls with dogs than bears on the trails and then nearly had to kick a dog owners a** when his unleashed German Shepard charged me with his teeth bared, at which time I readied a Leki Trekking Pole and a large knife to defend myself, but the dog stopped short of his own death when the owner yelled at him. (They were 30 yards apart.)The bottom line though is the owner should have had an aggressive dog on a leash to begin with.

  18. #18
    Registered User LoneRidgeRunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tawa View Post
    You all are being played! lol
    That's possible tawa, BUT if you look at Concealed's join date you will see that it was only yesterday (yes, I know I only joined today) but I know the answers to his or her questions) so it's entirely possible that he or she really is interested and not very educated on hiking and therefore people here should be willing to help each other when and if it is needed. Unless you know this person you can't really be sure.
    When I began hiking I wish I had known of this site or at least other experienced hikers to educate me. Instead, I had to learn what I have learned through years of the "school of hard knocks", reading and trial and error.
    The guy who made the sarcastic remark about no bears, incandescent lights, etc....should get lost on the trail sometime and sleep in a snow storm because he carried no tent and there wasn't room in a shelter, and then maybe he would learn some manners.
    Years ago I got lost in the woods one night with no light, no tent, no back pack with me with warm clothing and it was very cold and windy and I was in a life threatening situation until I found the road. That is why I think there is no room for sarcasm when someone is asking for advice. And that's why I tried to answer his or her questions to the best of my ability.

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    I'm tellin' ya................. Mystery Shopper!!

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    Registered User tawa's Avatar
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    Excellent points. I agree with you ---better to be willing to help others. I'm a newbie as well and welcome help from anyone that is sincere and positive. We all start our hiking our hike from some point of interest and knowlege base. There is no such thing as a stupid question and that is how we learn and build a solid and successful foundation.
    Thanks again for sharing.

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