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  1. #1
    Registered User KTontheAT's Avatar
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    Default Aug 15th Start date in Maine

    I was planning on hiking the AT this year, but due to life circumstances I wasn't able to this summer. I have a perfect window of time to hike now. I would want to start in Maine August 15th 2017 and finish in GA around mid Decemeber. I am aware I would have to pack exremely warm clothes and gear for the cold weather. All that being said, with the proper gear, is it completely insane to start in ME at this time?

  2. #2
    Registered User DownEaster's Avatar
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    You'd only need cold weather gear when you'd gotten your trail legs and could easily carry some extra weight. Go for it!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by KTontheAT View Post
    I was planning on hiking the AT this year, but due to life circumstances I wasn't able to this summer. I have a perfect window of time to hike now. I would want to start in Maine August 15th 2017 and finish in GA around mid Decemeber. I am aware I would have to pack exremely warm clothes and gear for the cold weather. All that being said, with the proper gear, is it completely insane to start in ME at this time?
    Not insane at all. It will be very difficult though. Is it a must to be finished by mid December? I'd say go for it and see where it leads you.

    Get used to hearing: "A little late aren't ya?", "You know it's gonna be cold right?", "You know they have Winter down South right?"...and my ole favorite "You really think you're gonna make it?"

    You are not insane for trying.

  4. #4
    Some days, it's not worth chewing through the restraints.
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    An August start, year to be determined, is my plan, so you're no crazier than I. So you wind up hiking well into December, or even January... plenty of folks are making January & February NOBO starts. You may also have to carry more - even in New England some springs dry up in late summer. There are lots of positives, like much less bugs in New England

    If you're only allowing yourself to Mid-December (4 months), go as far as you can.

  5. #5
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    i'm mostly making stuff up based on what others have said, but i cant help but recall a long ago thru hiker attemptee with a similar plan, though a slightly later start. he was something of a braggart and didnt want to hear anything about how it was even slightly possible he might not make it.

    he ran headlong into an early season blizzard in SNP and that was that.

    i dont think its crazy to try, but i think success is more of a crapshoot than it usually is.

  6. #6

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    Here's a link to a 2012 trail journal for "Reese," a SOBO who started on August 19 and finished on December 19 -- very similar to your proposed plan:

    http://www.trailjournals.com/journal/entry/391080

    Perusing this journal (and I found it to be a more interesting read than most trail journals) should give you some valuable information, I would think. He is a member here at WB -- his user name is VTATHiker. Here is a link to his WB info:

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php/9771-VTATHiker

    Some features of his hike: although he took fewer zero days than most -- six -- he did take them when he felt like he needed them; in the first 400 miles to Glencilff NH, while he was acclimating physically the mentally to the whole thru-hiking enterprise, and taking on the toughest terrain on the AT in the White and Mahoosuc Mountains, he averaged just under 12 miles a day, and then for the rest of his hike he averaged 20 miles a day.
    Last edited by map man; 07-23-2017 at 09:08.
    Life Member: ATC, ALDHA, Superior Hiking Trail Association

  7. #7
    Registered User Noseeum's Avatar
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    Not crazy at all. I have been section hiking in NC during Thanksgiving week and encountered groups of SOBOs. From what I recall, most of them started in June-July. So an August start date for a SOBO hike is a little late but nothing really crazy. When or if you hit serious winter weather may be more of a gamble, but since when is completing any thru guaranteed?
    "Healthy, Free, The World Before Me, The Long Brown Path Before Me Leading Wherever I Choose." - Walt Whitman, Song of the Open Road

  8. #8

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    It's not insane. Though you do need to be aware of the possibility of snow, especially in the Whites and plan accordingly. And then snow in the south possibly.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  9. #9

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    100 mile wilderness will be much nicer in august. Very muddy and buggy now.

  10. #10

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    Nights in Maine tend to cool off mid to late august so I'd probably want a more shoulder season bag or just carry a 20 degree from the start. I'm rocking a 50 degree quilt and I'm used to Maine and it was actually in the 40s last night.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by map man View Post
    Here's a link to a 2012 trail journal for "Reese," a SOBO who started on August 19 and finished on December 19 -- very similar to your proposed plan:

    http://www.trailjournals.com/journal/entry/391080

    Perusing this journal (and I found it to be a more interesting read than most trail journals) should give you some valuable information, I would think. He is a member here at WB -- his user name is VTATHiker. Here is a link to his WB info:

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php/9771-VTATHiker

    Some features of his hike: although he took fewer zero days than most -- six -- he did take them when he felt like he needed them; in the first 400 miles to Glencilff NH, while he was acclimating physically the mentally to the whole thru-hiking enterprise, and taking on the toughest terrain on the AT in the White and Mahoosuc Mountains, he averaged just under 12 miles a day, and then for the rest of his hike he averaged 20 miles a day.
    This was a good read.
    https://tinyurl.com/MyFDresults

    A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world. ~Paul Dudley White

  12. #12
    Registered User 4eyes's Avatar
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    You can do it!

  13. #13

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    Will section hike Shenandoah last week of Sept into Oct. Will those going SOBO be through that area by then?

  14. #14
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Im still meeting sobos in Maine, so hard to say.

  15. #15

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    Do it. Fall in New England is beautiful.

    But carry NOAA weather radio and prepare to make alternate plans if there are winter storms in Nov-Dec. I've seen deadly snow storms in Shenandoah at Thanksgiving...

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