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  1. #1
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    Default can I start a thru-hike in june?

    I want to do a thru-hike next year, but I don't graduate until late May. My parents are paying for me to go on a big trip to Greece and Turkey as a grad present, and won't be back until mid-ish June. I'm thinking that's way too laye to start a thru-hike. Should I try it anyways, or take a semester off of college and just start my thru-hike in April 2016?

  2. #2
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    Sobo


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  3. #3
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    Sobo........

  4. #4
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    I've heard going sobo is a lot harder than going nobo. Plus i'm going it alone as a female hiker on my first big adventure, i'd rather have the company of nobo. Is it possible to do the trail in 4 months?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedcans View Post
    I've heard going sobo is a lot harder than going nobo. Plus i'm going it alone as a female hiker on my first big adventure, i'd rather have the company of nobo. Is it possible to do the trail in 4 months?
    it's not harder and there will be plenty of sobos mid june

  6. #6

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    Welcome to WB, fellow Bluegrasser! I also recommend southbound. For one thing, you won't have company on a NOBO because everyone will be ahead of you. You'll meet people but not fellow thruhikers. Hiking SOBO, you'll pass the upcoming NOBOs and swap stories. You'll also find some fellow SOBOers.

    Aside from the Katahdin climb itself, Northern Maine isn't as difficult as the first 75 or so miles from New Hampshire. Now it's not "easy" and it would behoove you to work out aerobically and do some training shakedown hikes in the Smokies. You could spend June doing your training and start your SOBO in early July. Another challenge in Maine is the bugs, particularly the black flies which incessantly bite. Thankfully, they have a short season so if you defer your start until July 10, you might miss them. You'll still have mosquitoes which will necessitate a good tent.

    I can put you in touch with some Lexington thruhikers if you'd like - send me a PM.

  7. #7
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    If you are young and in shape, you can absolutely start in June. Most people who are young that start in March and April start then because they want to party more than they want to actually hike. Its true. I have seen it with my own two eyes all the way through the south. Anyone notice that the "trail angels" out here are really just "party angels"? I graduated college May 3rd and started the approach trail May 5th. Im halfway through Pennsylvannia right now and expect to be on Katadhin by the end of August. If you are coming out to hike for the sake of hiking, you can absolutely start in June and still finish at the end of September or in early October-both beautiful months in Maine.

  8. #8
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    Sure you can start in June and go north, but you will be hiking through the hottest states during the hottest months.


    Maine is much cooler this time of year. Go southbound!


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  9. #9

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    Like Forrest, I too think a June start NOBO is too hot, at least for my tastes. Right now, you have the perfect opportunity: do a few shakedown hikes in the Southern Appalachians including one of about 100 miles and see how much you enjoy/tolerate days of extreme humidity, including lying in your tent atop your sleeping bag sweating all night.

  10. #10
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    Weather in Maine seems ideal right now!

    image.jpg

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FinnMelanson View Post
    If you are young and in shape, you can absolutely start in June.
    It would mean a pretty fast and intense hike, four months start to finish. Can be done but probably less than 1 in 20 move that fast. Southbound makes much more sense, mid-June is perfect time to start a sobo hike. That puts you among the elite from the get-go.

  12. #12
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    Southbound harder for the obvious reason: you do Maine and New Hampshire first, rather than last. Plus it's a more solitary hike, you won't be fighting for space in shelters, you'll be wishing for company. If the hike drags on, you may find yourself hiking in snow toward the end of the hike.

  13. #13
    Registered User Just Bill's Avatar
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    At 18, you'd likely enjoy a SOBO more anyway.
    Not that drinking is the only thing to do in town, but it is one of the main attractions for many (this guy included)- tough to make friends and stay with a group while you sit on the curb outside the bar taking zeros while you wait for them to finish drinking and get back to the hike.

    Either way- get hiking now- may turn out you're fast as hell and have plenty of time for a nobo you do if you're quick (20-25mpd average), not partying, and hit the trail in shape.
    It's not that hard for a younger person to gear up fairly light and "accidentally" speed hike.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedcans View Post
    Should I try it anyways, or take a semester off of college and just start my thru-hike in April 2016?
    I do not advocate taking a semester off of college to thru hike. Too many people who take off just one semester never go back and graduate. If your parents are paying for your college (and I'm assuming they will pay for your thru hike?), they will have a large say in whether you take off a semester to hike.

    There was a thread titled something like, "You should NOT do a thru hike?" last year. I wish I could find that thread because I really agreed with the advice, especially about college aged kids.

  15. #15
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    What are you majoring in? Some majors and some universities - it is easier to take a semester off. Other majors and universities... not so much. But I don't advise taking a semester off. But like I said... your parents will probably be deciding that for you.

    Best wishes, no matter if you do it sections, or do a thru next year or wait until you graduate from college.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DLP View Post
    I do not advocate taking a semester off of college to thru hike. Too many people who take off just one semester never go back and graduate. If your parents are paying for your college (and I'm assuming they will pay for your thru hike?), they will have a large say in whether you take off a semester to hike.

    There was a thread titled something like, "You should NOT do a thru hike?" last year. I wish I could find that thread because I really agreed with the advice, especially about college aged kids.
    That's entirely sensible advice. On the other hand, a thru-hike is fundamentally not a sensible thing to do. People who take sensible advice don't take a semester off school, because too many never go back and graduate. Then they're new graduates, early in their careers, who can't afford to ruin their employment prospects with a Gap in the Resume. Before long, they have spouses and kids and mortgages, and can maybe squeeze out the time to get a weekend on the trail here and there. And eventually, they're old poops, hoping that their health lasts long enough that maybe they can try some damn-fool stunt like that in retirement. There simply is no time at which a sensible person would think that a thru-hike is a good idea.

    If you're not dedicated enough to thru-hiking that you'll ignore all sensible advice and do it anyway, you'll probably not finish. Because it will dawn on you at some point that it's really a pretty nutty thing to be doing, and you'll have an attack of reason and get off the trail. Almost universally, thru-hikers are unreasonable people. And most are at moments of transition, hiking in the wake of a divorce, a death, a graduation, a retirement, a military discharge, a job loss, or some other wrenching dislocation that lets them put their lives and responsibilities "on hold" for the necessary time.

    Me, I'm a clueless weekender. I've always been much too sensible and responsible to attempt a thru-hike. I've always also harbored a secret envy of the less responsible - even if not of thru hiking. (The idea of that much time in the woods all at one go doesn't really appeal to me.) I've often contemplated the possibility of a "self-funded sabbatical" to pursue my own interests, but I've always felt I've owed it to others to keep plugging away at my daily life. And that, too, has not been without rewards.

    A thru-hike is a bad idea for anyone, at any time. If you need to do one, you'll not listen to me.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nedcans View Post
    Plus i'm going it alone as a female hiker on my first big adventure, i'd rather have the company of nobo.
    You won't have this in June in Georgia. There will be other hikers, sure, but zero thru-hikers, so you won't have the cameraderie that develops so quickly among people with a shared goal. You will get some of this with a southbound hike from Katahdin. Yes, it's substantially more difficult, but it can be done.

    Yes, there are folks who thru in 4 months. It's faster than normal.
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  18. #18
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    A thru-hike is a bad idea for anyone, at any time. If you need to do one, you'll not listen to me.
    AK: much truth in all that. Well said.

    Putting off school for a year... yeah, been there and done that. I survived. It didn't make school any easier when I got back, but it was a time I'll never forget. Thru-hiking is a little bit nuts, which is why it's so strangely appealing and so compelling to certain types of people.

  19. #19
    Registered User WILLIAM HAYES's Avatar
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    like others have said go SOBO I am from the south and can tell you july -august are hot months in late sept early oct you should have good hiking weather in tenn north carolina and ga barring a late heat wave

  20. #20
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    Just curious, how much have you hiked? I believe the answer is critical to being able to answer your question.

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