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A Complete Appalachian Trail Guidebook.
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  1. #1
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    Default Specific geography question for you

    A bit about me. I am a recently retired teacher. I am fascinated by the AT. I live in Wyoming. I want to do the AT and have been devouring books. I just registered for this website today. Here is my question.... I am 59. In fair condition... have had several knee surgeries. I am going to do the AT in segments. Being gone for 6 months is not real in my life. I am wanting to start next May. I will go for several weeks. I want to start at an easy place on the trial. OK, easier, I understand there is no easy. So where is a flatter segment that gets tougher after a few weeks. I want to work my way into this. Right now I am thinking Harper's Ferry and proceeding North. This is just from reading. But really I have never been there. Please help with any advice. My thinking is to hike for a month or so and then head to Maine and get the northern terminus under my belt. Am I thinking right? Help please. Thanks so much.

  2. #2

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    Yes, yes and yes. I've done tons of research and had decided the same thing. Our first hike was North out of Harper's Ferry for the exact same reasons. I'd recommend it one hundred times over.
    "Maybe life isn't about avoiding the bruises. Maybe it's about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it."

  3. #3
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    How do your knees do now when you hike? I had ACL replacement a few years back and my knees hold up fine now. The ACL knee is actually better than the one that had no surgery.Doesn't bother me on the AT. I even play basketball.
    I'm not really a hiker, I just play one on White Blaze.

  4. #4
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    You are great!

  5. #5
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    You know, the ACL is good. I had that surgery many years ago. In the days before it was a scope. Part of my patelar tendon is my ACL now. I am still and always will be a few degrees away from full extension, but no limp. It is very strong. I don't worry about it.

  6. #6
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    I love having found this site. I have a lot of questions...

  7. #7

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    You will have several weeks before you hit the rocks of Pa. and there are no really tough climbs before you cross the Cumberland Valley half way through Pa. Other than the scarcity of water on the ridges north of Duncannon, I think this is a good choice.
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

  8. #8

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    Starting from Rockfish Gap at I-64 and going north through SNP is a good intro too. Not level, but not extreme. Beautiful that time of year with many wildflowers. Good places in the park to camp, resupply, get restaurant meals, take a day off, get water, take showers, and even bail out if necessary. The section from the north end of SNP to Harper's Ferry is not difficult either in spite of the Roller Coaster's rep. Continuing north from there will get your trail legs ready for what follows.

  9. #9
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    I actually considered that as well. Thanks. Might be a good place. I worry however that if it is too convenient, I might bail. From the comfort of my computer room, I am thinking I will be fine.... It might be best to get out there away from the Park. I really have not backpacked since I was a kid. I know it will be tough for me for a month or so. But I am kind of stubborn son of a gun. But I know I will struggle for a while.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seesfar View Post
    I actually considered that as well. Thanks. Might be a good place. I worry however that if it is too convenient, I might bail. From the comfort of my computer room, I am thinking I will be fine.... It might be best to get out there away from the Park. I really have not backpacked since I was a kid. I know it will be tough for me for a month or so. But I am kind of stubborn son of a gun. But I know I will struggle for a while.
    Two keys are get walking fit first, and once you start, take it easy. You'll be fine, wherever you start, if you'll just do those two things.

  11. #11
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    That is good advice. I think I could say I am walking fit now, but I am overweight. I do think I could start however. Thanks so much.

  12. #12

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    I'm surprised no one has said it yet but yet again this is a question, based on what you've told us, that should probably be addressed from an all around hiking approach. With your knee surgeries, YES terrain plays a significant role in the "ease(comfort)" of your hike. YES, TOTAL elevation changes and grade play into it. But, also look at 1) reducing kit wt 2) working your way into your hike. I can't emphasize this enough. Find an acceptable pace and MPD avg that your body can CURRENTLY take and move forward from there constantly observing, learning, and adjusting. You can start learning about that long before you travel out to the AT by hiking in Wyoming even if it's in a local park or walking with your pack to pick up groceries. It will also make you stronger, fitter, and more comfortable with backpacking

    When I started my AT NOBO thru-hike on Apr 13 2006 I had been struck by a speeding automobile going 80 + MPH(accident scene investigators told me this) as a pedestrian walking across the street on Nov 21 2005. That's less than five months. Broken left ankle, cracked ribs, severely stretched ankle ligaments(almost snappped), 48 stitches in the head, nasty deep contusions from my shoulders down to my knees, deep lacerations requiring stitches in more than 1/2 places on my body, etc. Doctors thought I was paralyzed at first. You get the picture. I was still on crutches in late Feb. Ity was hard. especially since I had been an athlete now having to rehab my way back into life. Rehabbed my arse off. I did everything I knew to heal. That includes what went beyond standard conventional Western medical rehabilitation treatment. When I got on the AT I was still sore and stiff and having problems doing anything over 10 MPD. My ankle ligaments were no where near what they had been. My muscle tone was crap. My cardio was crap. I carried to much and too much wt on my back. I was eating like crap and eating a lot of junk food crap. Kept pushing on while learning, observing, adapting and managing myself and my hike. I know what it means to HAVE TO work into a hike! It was tough going. But it got easier. I'm not special. You can manage your hike too FOR YOU what's right FOR YOU.

  13. #13
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    Great info

  14. #14

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    I have been section hiking for a while now - NOBO. I just started in Ga because I live here and it was the easiest way to go. It has been difficult at times, but not impossible. A friend recently pointed out (she's a thru hiker) that I'm really doing it the most difficult way. . . Every time I go out, she said, it's like my first time out,, because I don't ever get to hike long enough to get my "hiker legs" and if I do, by the time I get there, it's time to come home.

    i thought about it, and she's right. . . No wonder I've struggled! I wish I could go out for several months, but like you, I can't stay gone from "my real life" that long. So anyway, I go when I can, hike as long as I can, and just don't stress over it. Wherever you start, it's probably going to be a challenge at first. You'll get used to it and learn how to pace yourself.

    Welcome to Whiteblaze!

  15. #15
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    Teacher and Snacktime, Remarkable that you started right where I was thinking of starting.

  16. #16
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    Trailweaver, Good that you are getting out there!

  17. #17
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    Dogwood, Sorry about that getting hit by a car. Holy Cow! you are a walking miracle!

  18. #18
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seesfar View Post
    ... I live in Wyoming. I want to do the AT ...
    Scratches his head and mutters..."Say what?"
    Good luck. You do live in one of the best places for training.

    Wayne
    Eddie Valiant: "That lame-brain freeway idea could only be cooked up by a toon."
    https://wayne-ayearwithbigfootandbubba.blogspot.com
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  19. #19
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    That is true!

  20. #20
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    Venchka, I guess I want to do a long well known trail. Places I have not seen. Civil War stuff. Send pictures to my kids who also have never seen it. Also the resupply situation. I thought of the continental divide Trail which goes very close to my home. But resupply, and going alone. Maybe not a good idea. Although, I still think about it.

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