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  1. #1

    Default Start NOBO May 1?

    If I start May 1st what are my chances of finishing before Baxter closes?

  2. #2
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Denver, CO


    Quote Originally Posted by matt923 View Post
    If I start May 1st what are my chances of finishing before Baxter closes?
    Sorry, not nearly enough information to judge. Since the overall completion percentage is somewhere around 20%, I'd sarcastically say: 20% or less! Seriously though, if you're relatively fit and keep it moving, I don't see a problem. you've got 5 full months to git 'er done. If you're running behind a bit at, say, Harpers Ferry or wherever, just do a flip up to Maine and head south. That's going to be my own personal scheme as I plan on taking 6 weeks or so off in the middle of my AT thru attempt to spend out west with my family and friends.

  3. #3


    Thats when I started and I finished the first week in Oct.

    When you get to Delaware Water Gap you should know if you're on track on not. If not, can always flip up to K and hike SOBO. DWG has access to public transportation to get you up to Maine.

  4. #4


    Thanks for the input. I was planning to start April 8 but may be delayed. I'm in good shape and carrying a light load, but don't want to rush.

  5. #5


    There are people who have started May 1st at Springer Mountain and have finished with a continuous thru-hike all the way to Katahdin in plenty of time. However, for most it would be pushing their luck with that kind of start date. Most are just not able to keep up that kind of pace required to reach Katahdin starting May 1st at Springer Mountain.

    Also, Baxter doesn't actually close permanently at October 15th. It closes to thru-hikers on days when the weather is too bad to summit Katahdin. People have finished their AT northbound thru-hikes in early November but I certainly would not plan to do that. If you have plenty of time and plenty of money to wait around, you may be able to stretch further into October but I wouldn't plan on that happening.

    Instead, I'd look at these possible options to consider:

    Option 1 -- Do a southbound and start at Katahdin at the end of July. Upside is you'll be alone quite a bit of the time and won't likely have any thru-hiking crowds (I personally enjoyed the thru-hiker crowd but many do not). Downside is you have the most difficult terrain right out of the gate -- people who are southbounders and complete their thru-hikes are a different breed of folk and for the most part, very hardy souls.

    Option 2 -- Do a flip-flop and hike from Springer Mountain May 1st to say Harpers Ferry and then flip up to Katahdin and head south back to Harpers Ferry. Downside -- Not exactly and continuous thru-hike experience but there are some who have done it and they are happy with their choice. Pluses -- you'll be in great trail shape when you reach Harpers Ferry so the northern extreme terrain of Maine and New Hampshire won't be near as big of a deal when compared to Option 1 above. Also, you can relax about timetable.

    Option 3 -- Start at Damascus, VA, head north to Katahdin, return to Damascus, VA and head south to Springer Mountain. Pluses are that you'll be hiking with the community of other hikers when heading north (if you're wanting a community) although it's unlikely you'll be able to keep pace with them until you reach maybe Maryland. Downside -- it's not really a continuous thru-hike experience and some people desire that continuity as part of their thru-hike.


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