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  1. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    Why is it "not necessary" to start this early? if someone feels the need to start in February, then they need to start in February. Let them HTOH.
    If someone wants to start in February for whatever reason, they're free to do so.

    If someone is starting in February because OMG CROWDING! it's not necessary, but they're still free to do it.


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  2. #42
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    There certianly are a lot of folks starting earlier than is really necessary but I wonder if looking at it with the assumption that there is a huge change going on is correct.

    One way of looking at stats is the way the OP mentioned it. Total numbers of early starters have gone way up. This is a fact.

    But the total numbers of starters overall has also gone way up. A fact

    But an illuminating figure would be is the "percentage" of total starters who start early any "different' than what that percentage was 10 years ago. I don't konw the answer to this, but if it turned out the percentage had not changed then the assumption of the OP would be incorrect. And that we are seeing exactly the number of earlier starters we would expect given the surge in total starters.

    BTW the PCT is also seeing a large number of very early starters. The most likely imho reason for this is the 50 per day limit on starters resulting in a push towards the two margins.

  3. #43

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zed View Post
    If someone wants to start in February for whatever reason, they're free to do so.If someone is starting in February because OMG CROWDING! it's not necessary, but they're still free to do it. Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk
    Since the entire thing is a personal hobby/diversion/sport, then if a person deems crowding as a show-stopper, it is. There's no accounting for taste.

    You sarcastically saying "OMG CROWDING" hints to me that it's not a big deal for you. However, for others, it might be. Your opinion on "crowding" does not invalidate theirs.

  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    Since the entire thing is a personal hobby/diversion/sport, then if a person deems crowding as a show-stopper, it is. There's no accounting for taste.

    You sarcastically saying "OMG CROWDING" hints to me that it's not a big deal for you. However, for others, it might be. Your opinion on "crowding" does not invalidate theirs.
    You would be correct. Crowding is not a big deal to me because I can avoid it by where I camp.

    "An early start to avoid crowds isn't necessary" is my opinion and sharing that opinion doesn't invalidate anyone else's opinion. Someone with an idea to start early to avoid crowds but without a commitment either way is free to read all opinions then make their decision. What that decision ultimately is matters not to me. It's their hike.

    I'm sure you're familiar with the saying about opinions and arseholes. Without a whole lot of one and occasionally some of the other, the Internet, at least the message board section, would be pretty empty.

  5. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by AllDownhillFromHere View Post
    Since the entire thing is a personal hobby/diversion/sport, then if a person deems crowding as a show-stopper, it is. There's no accounting for taste.

    You sarcastically saying "OMG CROWDING" hints to me that it's not a big deal for you. However, for others, it might be. Your opinion on "crowding" does not invalidate theirs.
    Yeah, but if one wants a wonderful thru-hiking experience without the crowding, there are so many other trails that are less crowded, more scenic and some that even have more history, it seems the only reason to hike the AT is really to enjoy the culture (i.e. the crowds) in the context of the trail. . . but then, I suppose one could be tuning their crowdedness to their taste and try to get some but not all the "culture".

    But then, there are probably other places that are nicer to backpack in February than the southern AT, but then, I haven't been there then so I probably shouldn't talk.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  6. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by nsherry61 View Post
    Yeah, but if one wants a wonderful thru-hiking experience without the crowding, there are so many other trails that are less crowded, more scenic and some that even have more history, it seems the only reason to hike the AT is really to enjoy the culture (i.e. the crowds) in the context of the trail. . . but then, I suppose one could be tuning their crowdedness to their taste and try to get some but not all the "culture".
    You must've not read my last post---

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthr...=1#post2192820

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by 4eyedbuzzard View Post
    It was MacKaye. He envisioned a trail, with communes, and farms, as a lifestyle cure for the ills of early 20th century industrialization. The idea languished under MacKaye's initial chair of the newly formed ATC, started rolling a bit more under Major Welch's chair, and then when Judge Perkins replaced him as chairman (1928), Perkins brought in Myron Avery, who was as strong a practical builder as MacKaye was a visionary. Avery bulled ahead actually physically building the parts of the AT that weren't linked/done (including ALL of ME), and then Perkins became ill and died (1930-1932) and Avery took over ATC - for the next 22 years. Avery and MacKaye were as compatible as oil and water. MacKaye wanted a completely wilderness trail or nothing. Avery wanted to build the trail. Period. MacKaye, disillusioned, left the ATC in 1937 and co-founded The Wilderness Society. The trail got built - the rest of MacKaye's vision never happened.
    The only thing MacKaye got right , was that a trail would be a good idea. To that end, he was also only extending the idea of the Long Trail, he was copying it. He was looking at the long trail when it it occurred to him.

    After that, he was completely off base and receives too much credit for the AT . He wasnt exactly a visionary that shaped anything. His vision was unneeded, and unwanted.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-09-2018 at 13:57.
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  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    The only thing MacKaye got right , was that a trail would be a good idea. To that end, he was also only extending the idea of the Long Trail, he was copying it. He was looking at the long trail when it it occurred to him.
    After that, he was completely off base and receives too much credit for the AT . He wasnt exactly a visionary that shaped anything. His vision was unneeded, and unwanted.
    If anyone is interested in reading about MacKay in a bit greater depth (or on the history of the AT in general) this is a GREAT place to start:

    http://www.appalachiantrail.org/docs...trailyears.pdf

  9. #49
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    The rules in the smokies donít help much where everyone MUST camp at shelters. Iíve never hiked there, but from all the stories I hear just as a casual observer is that the Smokies during the bubble are just simply a nightmare. Iím not going to debate the merits or issue with the policies except to say that IF I were to ever do a thru hike, avoiding the bubble in the Smokies would be priority #1 for the first section of the trail.

  10. #50
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    Oh, I left out one important aspect:
    Global warming is simply making hiking in July and August unbearable. Better to get out and deal with the cold than suffer the heat.

    (BTW, that was meant to be mildly sarcastic, fair warning.)

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    Who said anyone cared only about finishing?
    Few do.
    They want to do, what THEY WANT to do
    May be starting in winter, might be bringing a dog, or lots of heavy crap

    Or..making own choices do it dont seem like they are a minion following a recipe hike.

    To some, doing it their way IS more important than making it all the way.

    Many never contemplate actually finishing, and are amazed when realize they might or will,. And then start to focus on that.. Others start with the experience to know they WILL finish in x days.
    What?

    Didn't the thread starter say in their second sentence "it appears that more and more NOBO thru hikers are starting in February "to hit the trail early"" and "avoid the crowds?"

    I never said anything about anyone was only concerned about finishing. Finishing is inherent to being called and self labeling as a thru-hiker. What the heck does the word thru-hiker entail if it does not include following through...to completion - finishing???


    I was asking simple questions. Was I not clear? Do those earliest starting NOBO thru-hikers(self labeled), those starting in Feb for example, have a higher drop out rate than those who start somewhat later(about mid Mar - late April)? If so, and early starters know it, what are they doing about it?

  12. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post

    I was asking simple questions. Was I not clear? Do those earliest starting NOBO thru-hikers(self labeled), those starting in Feb for example, have a higher drop out rate than those who start somewhat later(about mid Mar - late April)? If so, and early starters know it, what are they doing about it?
    What I'm saying is simply they do know. If they don't know it's freaking winter they're morons. If they use Google's they will find lot's of post on Reddit or here or other places saying bad idea.

    They simply don't care.

    Over the years several notable Yahoo's have come on here who really didn't know what they were doing, we're stubborn, refuse to take advice, went out and started in January or February due to some reason, ended up off trail with their tail handed to them. Often burning through large amounts of money in town before they got out of Georgia.

    Some people are just plain like that. They want to do what they want to do, and they don't want to listen to anybody who tells them otherwise. Sometimes those people are capable, like the hiking viking. Many aren't.

    Like the kid who insisted in going out in hiking the Ozark Highlands Trail during the middle of summer when it was overgrown. Even though a dozen people said bad idea he still insisted on doung it. Made it all over 40 miles before having to quit due to losing trail.

    This type of person probably applies to quite a few people that don't make it out of Ga. 25% of all thruhikers don't complete 80 miles. How is that even possible if someone has the tiniest idea of what they are doing and has listened to any advice? A lot of those people prepped for a year to not be able to hike 80 miles as well.

    You've really got to be special today not to have heard of the internet or Google, it's unfathomable that somebody is too stupid to query information for a thru hike. So....what explanations are left?
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 02-09-2018 at 15:26.
    "Inevitably, a long distance hiker must choose between travelling light, and not travelling at all." - Earl V. Shaffer

  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    You must've not read my last post---

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthr...=1#post2192820
    Nope. Clearly I didn't.
    I'm not lost. I'm exploring.

  14. #54
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    Imagine for a minute if all the Feb starts held off to the end of March/April. Crowding would be horrid.

  15. #55
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    They may not know that this is even possible as the trails you mentioned don't get the same press as the AT.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    So don't do the AT and instead backpack the thousands of miles of trails all around the AT.

    Example: Start on the BMT at Springer Mt thereby avoiding the AT. Hike north into Cohutta/Big Frog wilderness. Pull all the trails there on intricate loops. Return to the BMT and continue north.

    At Sandy Gap veer off down Kirkland and do some loops on Brookshire and State Line Ridge and maybe a side trip on Henderson Top/Cow Camp to Bald River wilderness.

    Stay north on the BMT and go over Sugar Mt and head up Sycamore Creek to Whiggs Meadow and do all the trails in the Snowbird backcountry and all the trails in the Citico/Slickrock wilderness.

    Point is, there's hundreds and hundreds of miles of trails without the AT human glut. And mercifully without hardly any detested AT shelters.

  16. #56
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    I'm starting the approach trail February 28, and the AT proper March 1. I am starting early in part to avoid the party people. I understand the suckitude of winter hiking. I've got a sleeping bag, a silk inner liner, an SOL Escape Bivvy outer liner, an insulated air mattress, fleece long johns, extra-thick merino socks, fleece beanie, and even a quart Nalgene that I can use as a hot water bottle. I've got experience backpacking in New England mountains in winter, so it seems I've got a reasonable chance to manage the last 19 days of the season in the South.

    I'm definitely not starting early enough to avoid the (non-party) crowds, because there were already 50 people registered for a March 1 start the week after I got my registration number. But (excepting freezing rain, where shelter space beats tenting) I won't mind sharing the trail with other hikers because I can have solitude in my tent at night.

    A lot of the reason I'm getting an early start is I have a harder time persevering in the heat than the cold. I may start taking afternoon siestas around the time I get to New Jersey instead of hiking through the hottest part of the day. That's assuming I don't suffer some debilitating foot/ankle/knee injury, which I regard as my biggest noncompletion risk.

    So I have thought this through. I can't speak for the hundreds of others making Winter NoBo attempts, of course.

  17. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by TX Aggie View Post
    The rules in the smokies don’t help much where everyone MUST camp at shelters. I’ve never hiked there, but from all the stories I hear just as a casual observer is that the Smokies during the bubble are just simply a nightmare. I’m not going to debate the merits or issue with the policies except to say that IF I were to ever do a thru hike, avoiding the bubble in the Smokies would be priority #1 for the first section of the trail.
    This big time ^^^^^^^^

    Read enough trail journals and one begins to think of it as the "Smokey Sprints"
    BR360
    "no one is a thru-hiker, until they have done the whole AT."

  18. #58
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    MW, now I gotcha. Thx for clarifying without sounding irritated or offended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    ...You've really got to be special today not to have heard of the internet or Google, it's unfathomable that somebody is too stupid to query information for a thru hike. So....what explanations are left?


    It's not just knowing what to do but doing what you know to do. There's a world of difference.



    Many also know the info is readily available but don't gain access to it for a variety of reasons. I venture one reason is that we are living in a sound bite culture with shortened attention spans while simultaneously having access to an overloaded of info and choices. It can be difficult to determine exactly what info and choices are relevant and should be prioritized or accessed. This is true for Newb thru-hike attempters. It's true for you and me. At any one time the vast majority of potential awarenesses are not being recognized because our minds have been conditioned to subliminally delete much of it. This condition has only grown overall despite having greater potential access to knowledge than ever.



    It comes full circle too. Maybe a sound bite -if anything is worth doing it's worth doing fast- culture can be at least partly rooted in the overload of choices.



    I further venture this can lead to desiring others to make choices for us, what to access, and prioritize. How many times have we allowed ourselves to be put in this exact position here on WB when someone wants another to do the research for them? This isn't simply a matter of laziness or stupidity!



    More is not always more.



    You might find this Ted talk interesting: https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schw...hoice#t-269255



    If you wanted to wade in deep I'm usually all too eager when the topic is about being aware

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    Quote Originally Posted by TX Aggie View Post
    except to say that IF I were to ever do a thru hike, avoiding the bubble in the Smokies would be priority #1 for the first section of the trail.
    Wait until it rains. I left the Fontana Hilton in a cold drizzle on a late April day with one other brave soul. We had already waited out one day of rain and the shelter was getting packed. Who knows how many others were over in the lodge.

    Bill and I got to Molly's Ridge shelter and it was packed too. Seems everyone who had hiked up in the rain the day before didn't want to hike in the rain another day. So, Bill and I pushed on to the next shelter, where there was only two others. Apparently the only two who left Molly's Ridge that day. Except for one night, it was then just the four of us in shelters for the rest of the way through the park. With quite a crowd a couple of days behind us.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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