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  1. #1

    Default Northbound vs. Southbound

    Hi, I'm new to the site. My daughter and I have been planning a GAME thruhike. We're both down south, it's more traditional, and we'd have to come off trail for her college graduation in May (Warren Wilson College). Lately we've been questioning the possibility of waiting until after graduation and hiking MEGA. I'd like to hear the thoughts of some of you who've completed a SOBO and, especially anyone who's completed both a SOBO and NOBO. I read somewhere only about 1,000 people have reported completing a SOBO. Thanks in advance for your beta.

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    Administrator attroll's Avatar
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    Moved this thread/topic to the General forum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by melaniebk View Post
    Hi, I'm new to the site. My daughter and I have been planning a GAME thruhike. We're both down south, it's more traditional, and we'd have to come off trail for her college graduation in May (Warren Wilson College). Lately we've been questioning the possibility of waiting until after graduation and hiking MEGA. I'd like to hear the thoughts of some of you who've completed a SOBO and, especially anyone who's completed both a SOBO and NOBO. I read somewhere only about 1,000 people have reported completing a SOBO. Thanks in advance for your beta.
    i've thru-hiked both ways and prefer SOBO. the only thing i didn't like were the mosquitos in Maine. i started June 29th that year

  4. #4

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    If you go SOBO at least you are guaranteed to climb Katahdin and hike New England. Most people don't finish thru hikes so if you do fail, and you probably will, then at least you get to see the beauty of New England hiking. I have never thru hiked, but I just love hiking in New England. I am also a South Carolinian and I try to get up to New England every summer for hiking.

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    most NOBOs are burned out if and when they get to new england. all they care about is finishing. going SOBO you're fresh and excited and enjoy the scenery which there's plenty of up there

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    In the north you'll probably have a few bug/fly problems and in the south maybe a little hot weather and water source problems. The SOBO route may give you an incentive, since you'll be heading (getting closer on a daily basis) to your SC home.

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    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    I've only hiked SOBO, and am therefore prejudiced, but I think SOBO has a lot going for it. For one thing, you'd be hiking home. The year I hiked, a majority of the SOBOs around me were southerners, probably because, like me, they knew they could keep hiking as long as it took to get the job done.

    There are a number of old threads on this subject. If you use the Search function you can read dozens, maybe hundreds, of opinions from both camps.

    It would behoove you and your daughter, if you do start SOBO, to have your gear and fitness issues worked out ahead of time. SOBO is more challenging physically, and there are fewer hiker services and gear replacement opportunities in the first couple hundred miles.

    If you wait until early July to start, you should miss a lot of the bugs in Maine. You'll be in the north at the height of summer, which is gorgeous. You'll progress south into the fall leaf color season. It's gorgeous!
    Last edited by Marta; 10-10-2012 at 16:12.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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    AT 4000+, LT, FHT, ALT Blissful's Avatar
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    My daughter is finishing up her Sobo now and wouldn't have done it any differently. We summited Kathdin on June 20th. The bugs weren't too bad at all. She lost 2 weeks off the trail in early August with an infected foot but it has been a wonderful experience having met lots of great people. Plenty of other southbounders but not too many so the shelters were not crowded and she had plenty of opportunity for work for stay in the huts in the Whites. She's always wanted go sobo and glad she did.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shae View Post
    My daughter is finishing up her Sobo now and wouldn't have done it any differently. We summited Kathdin on June 20th. The bugs weren't too bad at all. She lost 2 weeks off the trail in early August with an infected foot but it has been a wonderful experience having met lots of great people. Plenty of other southbounders but not too many so the shelters were not crowded and she had plenty of opportunity for work for stay in the huts in the Whites. She's always wanted go sobo and glad she did.
    NICE!! Congrats to ur daughter for almost fininshing the trail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shae View Post
    My daughter is finishing up her Sobo now and wouldn't have done it any differently. We summited Kathdin on June 20th. The bugs weren't too bad at all. She lost 2 weeks off the trail in early August with an infected foot but it has been a wonderful experience having met lots of great people. Plenty of other southbounders but not too many so the shelters were not crowded and she had plenty of opportunity for work for stay in the huts in the Whites. She's always wanted go sobo and glad she did.
    going NOBO is so cliche' and easy nowadays. the adventure is SOBO

  12. #12

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    Thank you all for your advice. We're inclined to believe that SOBO just makes more sense for us. I'll be searching next regarding the logistics of getting ourselves and our gear to Maine!

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    Quote Originally Posted by melaniebk View Post
    Thank you all for your advice. We're inclined to believe that SOBO just makes more sense for us. I'll be searching next regarding the logistics of getting ourselves and our gear to Maine!
    if you've got the time and money, take AMTRAK.

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    for those who have SOBOed (is that the correct past tense of the verb form??), what about day length? Starting in July you are already past peak day length and the days will get shorter every day. I'm wondering what the typical SOBO hiker does when the days get short? Do you night hike? Sleep for 13 hrs? I was wondering how this affects you experience.

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    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    for those who have SOBOed (is that the correct past tense of the verb form??), what about day length? Starting in July you are already past peak day length and the days will get shorter every day. I'm wondering what the typical SOBO hiker does when the days get short? Do you night hike? Sleep for 13 hrs? I was wondering how this affects you experience.
    A watch helps so you don't wake up and start making breakfast at 2 AM.

    Candles used to be the rage in shelters at night, but that might be an anachronism.

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    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Odd Man Out View Post
    for those who have SOBOed (is that the correct past tense of the verb form??), what about day length? Starting in July you are already past peak day length and the days will get shorter every day. I'm wondering what the typical SOBO hiker does when the days get short? Do you night hike? Sleep for 13 hrs? I was wondering how this affects you experience.
    i did some night hiking, but mostly I relaxed and read and wrote in my journal. Part of my strategy throughout the hike was to allow enough recuperation time every day so that I'd start the next day fresh. For me that meant an eight-hour hiking day (or less), with sixteen non-hiking hours before I headed out again. As the hike progressed, I could get further and further in eight hours (20 miles, easily), but I rarely hiked for longer than eight hours, which is easy to accomplish during daylight, even in December in TN, NC, and GA.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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    Super Moderator Marta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rickb View Post
    A watch helps so you don't wake up and start making breakfast at 2 AM.

    Candles used to be the rage in shelters at night, but that might be an anachronism.
    From Nov. 1 onward I carried a candle lantern. It was useful for warming my hands during the evening, and I'd leave it burning when I left the shelter or tent site so I could locate it in the dark. It's pretty damn terrifying to walk away from your pack and sleeping bag to go get water or go to the privy, get disoriented, and be unable to see your camp.
    If not NOW, then WHEN?

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  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marta View Post
    From Nov. 1 onward I carried a candle lantern. It was useful for warming my hands during the evening, and I'd leave it burning when I left the shelter or tent site so I could locate it in the dark. It's pretty damn terrifying to walk away from your pack and sleeping bag to go get water or go to the privy, get disoriented, and be unable to see your camp.
    Great idea having the candle lantern. After getting out there hiking myself, I really wished for a "light" back at the camp, as well. I had a friend that was going to throw away all her pillar candles. I snatched them up so I could place them in the shelters around here instead of them ending up in the landfill. I hope some peeps have enjoyed having them there.....

  19. #19

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    I've never AMTRAKed before. Do you keep your pack with you, or do they stow it somewhere the way bus lines do it? And are there any parts of your gear that can't be transported, for example, fuel shouldn't go, right?

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    If you haven't done much hiking, or never hiked in NH or Maine, starting there might prove difficult and discouraging. If you finish there you will be in great hiking shape and maybe will enjoy it more? Also, starting in early Summer in Northern New England can be almost unbearable due to black flies and mosquitos. By September the bugs are gone and the weather tends to be better if not a bit cool. Foliage season can also be quite spectacular in the northern mountains.

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