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  1. #1
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    Default Last Minute Nervousness

    Howdy All,

    Like all first timers I have some nervousness. I have a few questions unanswered, and I would love to hear from first-timers like myself that might know, and the experienced hands to whom this all seems old hat.

    Do I need to buy rope? The other day whilst researching "bear bags" to hold my food and other "picnic basket" sorts of items, I came across a site that recommended all sorts of ropes and accoutrements for the hanging of ‘bear bags”. Here I thought 50 foot of 440# parachute cord would work. I mean really do I need all this rope and ***** as well? Further, does anyone have a recommendation for a brand of “bear bag”? Also; should I hang my cooking gear, as well as my food and toothpaste?

    Next, I am looking at 2/27 as my start date. Is that too early? Will the park be open? Am I going to freeze my skinny a** off in cold temperatures? Will my 20 degree Cat’s Meow bag be adequate?

    Finally, (I am sure there will be more nervous musings), where can I get the maps? Do I contact the USGS? If so what maps in particular do I request, and what price can I expect to pay? (Ballpark estimate of course.)

    Anyway, I am done now. I think I will off to bed.

    Rob
    I swear -- by my life and my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

  2. #2
    Thru hike Done, working on a section hike. stickat04's Avatar
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    Default Howdy

    I am going to attempt another thru this year I made it about 900 miles last year and I am nervous again.
    You will need about 40 feet of some type of rope. When I did hang my food bag I hung my cooking gear with it never my toothpaste but some hikers did put there toothpaste in there food bags to hang.
    Don't leave your sweaty bandana's tied to your pack while you sleep the mice will chew holes in the for the salt.

    I am starting 3/1 this year with a 20 degree bag and a sleeping bag liner and plenty of warm clothes. I started 4/9 last year and had 1 very cold night no liner and few clothes so I am hoping I will be set for warmth. If you get real cold you can always heat water up and put a warm water bottle in your bag down by your feet.

    Maps some people use them some don't I am going to use them this year I didnt last year. Check ebay.

    Stick
    Last edited by stickat04; 01-25-2005 at 10:09.

  3. #3

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    We were a bit concerned at the price of the full set of maps...also the weight. We aren't doing mail drops as we are in the UK...it's a bit hard to organize them from here.

    The maps we did get look like they will do the trick. They are bandana maps...you can see them at www.antigraitygear.com They are $12.95 each and you need 4.

    As far as nervousness...yeah, definitely going through that! The more we pack the more nervous I get! Of course there is also the feeling of just wanting to "START ALREADY!!"

  4. #4

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    You can get the maps online through the Appalachian Trail Conference:

    http://www.appalachiantrail.org/

    The complete set of maps and guidebooks is $224 for ATC members / $280 nonmember. The maps alone they have listed at $162 for members / $203 for nonmembers.


    I have not seen the mapdana (sp) close up, but wonder if it would provide the detail necessary, particularly of surrounding areas in the event you needed to leave the trail and head in another direction. Haven't thru-hiked, but I am assuming that there might be times when you are looking for more than just the next white blaze. Can you see topogrophy, roads, etc on the bandana?

  5. #5
    Registered User oldyeller's Avatar
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    Default Nervous?

    Nervous? Yup. 2nd guessing equipment, weight, weather, pace, etc? Yup.

    At least 4 others starting on the 27 Feb (Approach or Springer). Some map sets offered 4 sale on WB - email me if you need more info.

    See you on the 27th.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart
    Can you see topogrophy, roads, etc on the bandana?
    It doesn't show topography like a normal map, but it does list elevation, distance between shelters, roads, rivers, water sources are clearly marked and also resupply recommendations, locations of ATM's, medical facilities with phone numbers, etc.

    I think they will be fine.

  7. #7
    GAVA '04; GAME '05
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    I'm like Stick and am making a second attempt after 700 miles last year. I don't think I'm really nervous, nothing to get nervous about, but I am certainly anxious.
    If you don't want to spend the money, you don't really need the maps, either just the Data Book or Wingfoot's book. Though if you're leaving that early you may also want a Thru-hikers Companion because you won't find many hikers in each town you stop at to tell you where everything is.
    Last year I left March 29th, was lucky to be in towns for both snows, and had about four shivering nights, mostly about 50 miles after the Smokies. I'd imagine hiking through March you could add maybe 20 days of cold weather to that figure.
    Best wishes on your hike this year.

  8. #8
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    If you decide to buy and utilize all of the maps, you could carry a state or two worth of maps and mail the rest ahead. Once you reach that first destination, take what you need and mail the rest forward. Sure it will cost you some dollars but you would have the maps without having to lug them all at once.

    I've heard both sides of the map discussion. I like looking at maps. I'm an Eagle Scout and there is just something about being prepared. Thus, I am taking the maps. They will also serve as a medium for memorialization of stuff like Great Campsites, Cool Waterfalls, Water, etc....

    Regarding the bear rope and bags. One summer I worked as a canoe guide up in Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. We always hung bear bags and kept a tight ship. Toothpaste, food...anything that had a scent was placed in a bear bag and hung each night. That summer was particularly dry which ruined the berry crop which happened to be a big part of their food source. We saw many black bear daily but my crews never had a problem with them.

    I've heard of folks using bear bags and not, along the AT. I've hiked sections in GA, TN and NC and have never used a bear bag and only stayed in a shelter once. I'm not planning on using rope or bear bags to start off. But am still considering it.

    by the way, I'm starting around March 1 so I look forward to meeting you all.

    Happy trails,
    TDS

  9. #9
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    Default Budgets

    Howdy All,
    Ok, I was wondering how much money folks are setting aside for their trek? I am sitting on $2000. I already have all of my gear, so this money will be for food, shipping costs, and unexpected contingencies.
    Any thoughts?
    Rob
    I swear -- by my life and my love of it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

  10. #10
    Geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by SalParadise
    Last year I left March 29th, was lucky to be in towns for both snows, and had about four shivering nights, mostly about 50 miles after the Smokies.
    What rating bag did you have?
    Frosty

  11. #11
    GAVA '04; GAME '05
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty
    What rating bag did you have?
    I've got a 30-degree high-fill bag. I'm also a cold sleeper.

  12. #12
    Geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by SalParadise
    I've got a 30-degree high-fill bag. I'm also a cold sleeper.
    That makes sense. I'm bringing a 20* bag, leaving Mar 20, and will switch to a 45* bag somewhere in lower VA. Probaly at Pearisburg.

    I also have a synthetic bag, but my 20* bag is 4 pounds (long and wide bag - I'm a big guy). I'm thinkng about getting a down bag, but I've bought so much gear lately, I fear my wife's reaction when the bill comes.
    Frosty

  13. #13
    Livin' life in the drive thru! hikerjohnd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pvtmorriscsa
    Howdy All,
    Ok, I was wondering how much money folks are setting aside for their trek? I am sitting on $2000. I already have all of my gear, so this money will be for food, shipping costs, and unexpected contingencies.
    Any thoughts?
    Rob
    I am in the same boat... On another thread I started, I asked the same question - My budget is a bit smaller, but the best advice I read said to divide the $ by the number of stops planned (plus 3-4 extra) and you will have a rough budget for what you can safely spend at each stop.

    My budget - $1200 (for lodging mostly - my food has to come in maildrops) for 17 planned stops + 3 extra = $60 per stop. I don't drink or smoke - my vices include Hershey's - so I think I'll be OK.

  14. #14
    Spirit in search of experience. wacocelt's Avatar
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    You folks should try and be conservative with spending the first month or two of hiking. I have known as many people to end thier hikes because of running out of cash as from injury or losing the will to continue.

    I understand that you'll have to watch your spending the entire hike, but I also know how hard it is to hike on a tight budget.
    Everything is exactly as it should be. This too shall pass.

  15. #15
    Geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by hikerjohnd
    My budget - $1200 (for lodging mostly - my food has to come in maildrops) for 17 planned stops + 3 extra = $60 per stop. I don't drink or smoke - my vices include Hershey's - so I think I'll be OK.
    Excellent idea, but don't forget that lodging appears to be cheaper in the south. It should be easier to get out for less than $60 in GA/NC/so.VA, but maybe not in NY/CT/MA/VT/NH. And some nights in the White Mtns could cost camping fees.
    Frosty

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