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  1. #1

    Default Your input on a personal decision

    First let me say that I understand this is my decision to make, but I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

    Second a little about me. I'm a 23 yo college grad who will be finishing up my Americorps commitment in May of '14. I plan on thru hiking Nobo in Feb or March 2015. I need to finish before grad school classes begin in mid August 2015.

    Now the questions.

    Am I putting too much of a time constraint on my hike?

    What are some things I could do in my gap yearish (June 14- Feb 15) to make money, advance professionally (in the field of educational and social inequity) and to train for the trail?

    Thanks?

  2. #2

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    I'd consider going SOBO starting mid to late June and then you will have no time constraints at all.

  3. #3

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    I'm hesitant to go sobo for a few reasons. I'm currently in NM and I need some time to move back east to get settled (plus I want to travel and hike the west for a few weeks before I head back). I also could use the gap time to make $$ for the trail, which would be a better option than saving this year. Lastly, I THINK I really want to go NoBo as I like some social interaction But I could always use more info.

  4. #4
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    Certainly possible to finish in that time. There were NoBo's with me who had similar time constraints who pushed ahead, if that added or took anything away from their hike I'm not sure. All you can do is try it and let the trail decide.

  5. #5
    LT '79; AT '73-'14 in sections; Donating Member Kerosene's Avatar
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    My opinion is that you should get on the Trail as early as you can, and then hike as far as you are able and willing without trying to kill yourself. The experience will be memorable regardless of whether you have the time to summit Katahdin or not -- you can always come back to finish up someday. You'll be on the Trail long enough to establish the social bonds you seem to be looking for; in fact, you may very well end up hiking further than a lot of other aspiring thru-hikers.

    Your best training is to hike. Get out there and shake down your gear and build up your quads with frequent weekend trips. During the week, get out for an hour or more with your backpack on. If those don't work, the treadmill with varying inclines can help, but pretty much any gym-based cardio exercise will work. I'd also recommend that you not neglect weightlifting and your upper body so you start out strong, recognizing that your upper body will wither away as you go into calorie debt.
    GA←↕→ME: 1973 to 2014

  6. #6
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    For an entire AT thru-hike starting NOBO in early/mid March finishing up in mid Aug gives you 5- 5 1/2 months. Without getting into an overwhelm of details and debating the minutiae doable for most, IMHO.

    "What are some things I could do in my gap yearish (June 14- Feb 15) to make money, advance professionally (in the field of educational and social inequity) and to train for the trail?"

    Let's just stick with
    - "What are some things I could do in my gap yearish......to train for the trail?" Even though you have 5 - 5 1/2 months don't look at it that way. Build a little wiggle room into the time frame so if something should happen that slows you down significantly like a temporary physical injury requiring some time off healing, consistently nasty(wintery weather, deep snow, etc), you want to take more neros/zeros, etc. Understand, you don't need to do a gung ho hardcore speed hike. It isn't about creating undo stress to get something done either. Your time frame isn't that far outside the typical AT thru-hiker timeframes. Lots of ways to cut down on the the time it takes to do a thru-hike AND still happily have a sense of fulfillment. Here are links for you to start considering some of those techniques:

    http://andrewskurka.com/2006/how-to-...ast-thru-hike/
    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...l#.UjHt1byvUb0

  7. #7

    Default

    Unless you have cold weather camping experiance and the gear to go with it, starting in Feb or March is a mistake. Progress will be slower, challenges are more difficult and the expenses greater then staring in April. The early drop out rate is much higher for those starting Feb/March then April. Many have had enough of the cold and bad weather by the time they get to the Smokies.

    How to make money in your choosen field? Your on your own there kid, good luck. Being a waiter/waitress might be more productive in the short term.
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  8. #8
    GSMNP 900 Miler
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    It totally depends upon your experience and skill level.

    I've got a nephew who had a July wedding date and managed to hike the AT between Christmas and mid June. BUT, he had a lot of hiking experience, could easily do 20 mile days, and had grown up learning winter camping skills in GSMNP.

  9. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dmath010 View Post

    Now the questions.

    Am I putting too much of a time constraint on my hike?

    What are some things I could do in my gap yearish (June 14- Feb 15) to make money, advance professionally (in the field of educational and social inequity) and to train for the trail?

    Thanks?
    yes, too much time constraint. you'll rush thru the trail just to get back to school

  10. #10
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    At age 58, I started my AT hike this year on 3/21. I finished on 8/19 (days away from 59). I took 10 zeros. I didn't feel like I rushed the experience. My arbitrary goal was to finish before my birthday and preferably under 5 months. I did both. So, you could easily complete the hike in the proscribed time constraints. Being younger, you should be able to recuperate quicker from the daily fatigue. A Feb/Mar start could be cold and nasty. It was this year. Last year, it wasn't as bad.

    I met some hikers that had time constraints that caused them to push really hard at the end (school starting, weddings to attend, etc). Early in their hikes, they had a leisurely pace. They paid for it at the end.

    Note: I created a 5-month itinerary that included my first two zero days (Hot Springs & Damascus) but none after that. I got ahead of schedule. Added zero days as I needed them. And finished on the planned finish date: 8/19. Having a written plan as a template helped me considerably.

  11. #11

    Default

    You could start a SOBO in July or August, if you decide you don't want the hassle of settling in, finding a job, then packing up again to go hiking. Or you could hike a part of the trail after you finish your western wandering, work over the winter, and finish up the following late spring/summer. You wouldn't be able to stay with the same group of people for 5 months, but you would still enjoy the trail.

    Most important to get ready for a thruhike is to get out and hike and backpack as much as you can over the next year. Become comfortable with your gear, get in good physical shape, and find out whether you actually enjoy hiking all day every day in all kinds of weather and trail conditions. If you can, I'd spend a month or so on an eastern trail - not necessarily the AT, but perhaps the Long Trail or the Benton MacKaye. Eastern hiking with its frequent rain and seriously eroded rocky and rooty trail is a different from western hiking.

  12. #12

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    Hiking Nobo with the party crowd will probably slow you down.

    If you want to thru hike the AT, hike it.

    If you want to party with the crowd, settle for a partial hike.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Unless you have cold weather camping experiance and the gear to go with it, starting in Feb or March is a mistake. Progress will be slower, challenges are more difficult and the expenses greater then staring in April. The early drop out rate is much higher for those starting Feb/March then April. Many have had enough of the cold and bad weather by the time they get to the Smokies.

    How to make money in your choosen field? Your on your own there kid, good luck. Being a waiter/waitress might be more productive in the short term.
    A young waiter/waitress at an upscale place can make a lot more money than you might think. I have had a student that made over $100 a night in tips at Sonic, the next summer she took a pay cut to do a "professional internship". I knew growing up in Florida of guys who worked the nice places on the beach and made more money than they did after they graduated from college, and that was back in the 70-80s.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Hiking Nobo with the party crowd will probably slow you down.

    If you want to thru hike the AT, hike it.

    If you want to party with the crowd, settle for a partial hike.
    And if you are "enjoying" it too much, it probably also drive up the cost of your hike.
    The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
    Richard Ewell, CSA General


  15. #15
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    I had a 100 day time constraint when I hiked the PCT. I trained, prepared and accomplished the goal and it was the best 98 days of my life. Your goal is quite a bit easier. Whether you start in Feb or wait a bit longer you can do it IF you are goal oriented, prepare and actually enjoy walking. Have fun on your hike.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    A young waiter/waitress at an upscale place can make a lot more money than you might think. I have had a student that made over $100 a night in tips at Sonic, the next summer she took a pay cut to do a "professional internship". I knew growing up in Florida of guys who worked the nice places on the beach and made more money than they did after they graduated from college, and that was back in the 70-80s.
    I grew up on the beach in Fla also.
    Knew many people that made hundreds per night in tips in the 1980s
    Bartenders and waitresses. My sister was a waitress, commonly made 100-150 on friday/sat night back then.
    They worked part of the year. Because their employers were seasonal, they collected unemployment from Oct -Feb.
    I imagine its the same today, only some are probably bringing home much more.

    A friend of mine from HS , smart kid, dad is a doctor, decided to be a waiter for a living. Last I heard, he did very well at it.

    20 years ago we had an intern that was paid a starting engineers salary, about $40K /yr. She also worked at hooters at night that summer. She made more at Hooters, than she did working for us.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 09-12-2013 at 21:52.

  17. #17
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    If I were in your shoes the fact that I am questioning the time restraint would definitely raise a red flag. I would want to hike without the pressure of sticking to a tight schedule.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astro:1526833
    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Unless you have cold weather camping experiance and the gear to go with it, starting in Feb or March is a mistake. Progress will be slower, challenges are more difficult and the expenses greater then staring in April. The early drop out rate is much higher for those starting Feb/March then April. Many have had enough of the cold and bad weather by the time they get to the Smokies.

    How to make money in your choosen field? Your on your own there kid, good luck. Being a waiter/waitress might be more productive in the short term.
    A young waiter/waitress at an upscale place can make a lot more money than you might think. I have had a student that made over $100 a night in tips at Sonic, the next summer she took a pay cut to do a "professional internship". I knew growing up in Florida of guys who worked the nice places on the beach and made more money than they did after they graduated from college, and that was back in the 70-80s.
    $500 hundred a week is a slow week at a decent restaurant if you have the skills

  19. #19
    Registered User 1234's Avatar
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    Stop over thinking it.

    Just go!

    The first step is the hardest, the one least taken.

    YOU may be surprised and find out that winging it works out fine.

    Enjoy!

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    For an entire AT thru-hike starting NOBO in early/mid March finishing up in mid Aug gives you 5- 5 1/2 months. Without getting into an overwhelm of details and debating the minutiae doable for most, IMHO.

    "What are some things I could do in my gap yearish (June 14- Feb 15) to make money, advance professionally (in the field of educational and social inequity) and to train for the trail?"

    Let's just stick with
    - "What are some things I could do in my gap yearish......to train for the trail?" Even though you have 5 - 5 1/2 months don't look at it that way. Build a little wiggle room into the time frame so if something should happen that slows you down significantly like a temporary physical injury requiring some time off healing, consistently nasty(wintery weather, deep snow, etc), you want to take more neros/zeros, etc. Understand, you don't need to do a gung ho hardcore speed hike. It isn't about creating undo stress to get something done either. Your time frame isn't that far outside the typical AT thru-hiker timeframes. Lots of ways to cut down on the the time it takes to do a thru-hike AND still happily have a sense of fulfillment. Here are links for you to start considering some of those techniques:

    http://andrewskurka.com/2006/how-to-...ast-thru-hike/
    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-...l#.UjHt1byvUb0
    These are great reads and very informative. The only thing I doubt is the urinating while still walking in the first article. The Logistics and cleanliness factors boggle me. Can anyone attest?

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