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Thread: AT Survey

  1. #1
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    Default AT Survey

    What are the top three hardest states and where does Georgia place in the list of fourteen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slow Roller View Post
    What are the top three hardest states and where does Georgia place in the list of fourteen?
    i have not hiked the following sections of trail so my comments exclude these-

    springer to fontana
    hot springs to damascus
    monson to katahdin


    NH and ME are 1 and 1a. i wont wade into a discussion of which is harder. theres lots of ways of looking at it, and lots of varieties of what "hard" means. the only conclusive thing i can say is somewhere around glencliff, NH the trail gets noticeably and indisputably much much harder for quite a way that includes large parts of both of these states. nothing else ive ever hiked, on the AT or off, matches up.

    which is 3rd? not sure i have an opinion. maybe VT, maybe VA if you want to factor a state's size into what makes a state "hard", maybe PA if, like me, you hate rocks. Maybe NY if its 100 degrees out in july and you cant find any water. my only frame of reference for the "hard" part of the south are the smokies and i really didnt find them all that hard.

    for sure easier states would be MD, NJ, MA, possibly CT, PA if you arent bothered by the rocks.

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    From most of the literature I've read, Georgia ranks third behind Maine and New Hampshire.

    Thus far, I've section-hiked from Springer to Atkins, Virginia. Georgia definitely seemed the hardest to me. The mountains are bigger in North Carolina and Tennessee, but the trails are graded better with switchbacks (escept for Jacob's Ladder).

    The trail is morphing/evolving over time. Ten years ago, the northbound climb up Roan was fearsome by reputation but has no been tamed by switchbacks. I did that section in 2015, so the climb wasn't that bad.

    Similarly, the section from Horse Gap to Gooch Gap in Georgia covers Sassafras and Justus mountains, which are stiff climbs. But ten years ago there was a third climb that really tuckered out tired hikers. Now, however, the route drops off the ridge after Justus Mountain and descends to Justus Creek. It was considerably easier in 2015 than it was in 2007.

    Finally, Georgia is lower than NC/Tenn/VA, so it's typically hotter and often more humid.

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    Every state has it's own unique challenges. Even the "easy" states go out of their way to put obstacles in your path to make it as difficult as possible. At least it seems that way. NH and ME top the list for hardest overall. I would rate Georgia as "moderate". Unless your used to hiking in NH and ME, then GA seems pretty darn easy in comparison.
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    GA is no where nears the top three. I think it sometimes gets a reputation has being hard from inexperienced new thru hikers.
    Remote for detachment, narrow for chosen company, winding for leisure, lonely for contemplation, the Trail beckons not merely north and south, but upward to the body, mind, and soul of man.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    Every state has it's own unique challenges. Even the "easy" states go out of their way to put obstacles in your path to make it as difficult as possible. At least it seems that way. NH and ME top the list for hardest overall. I would rate Georgia as "moderate". Unless your used to hiking in NH and ME, then GA seems pretty darn easy in comparison.
    still waiting to hear about what the unique challenge MD presents is. i'm telling you, those 3 rocks don't count. maybe its pulling yourself away from all the historical sights if youre into the civil war?

    keyword, yours not mine- "unique."

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    For me, the three hardest were Maine, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania (the rocks). Georgia wasn't difficult at all for me, but it wasn't my first AT experience, either.

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    I'd estimate Maine and New Hampshire are a tie for the toughest, hands down, then Virginia (the Length!), then maybe another tie for NC and TN rounding out the top 5.... yeah, Georgia is way down the list, it's only what, 70-ish miles, and good trail, though of course people perceive it as steep-steep-steep in places, but probably because they haven't gotten into hiking shape yet.

    I'll call Georgia right in the middle, tougher than, say, NJ, NY, CT, MA, MD, WV and maybe kinda tied with PA and VT.

    All very subjective, though not how anyone can dispute Maine and New Hampshire for the top 2.

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    I have done all of Georgia, and half of New Hampshire (Gorham to Lincoln -75 miles). I would say that NH is easily twice as hard as Georgia.

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    I know that % grade is only one component of what makes a section tough, but does anyone know the average grade of the AT by state.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpburdelljr View Post
    I know that % grade is only one component of what makes a section tough, but does anyone know the average grade of the AT by state.
    if you dig through this and do some of your own math you can probably figure it out

    http://www.guthookhikes.com/2015/01/...t-and-pct.html

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    This might help some.

    AT Elevation Profile
    https://bentwells.shinyapps.io/atdata/
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    I thought the beginning of New York was very difficult. Other hikers agreed, and yet no post on WB that I have seen ever mentions this fact.

    Aside from that New Hampshire killed me. I'm a LASHer and hoped to finish the trail this year. I started in Pennsylvania and was doing okay until I got to New Hampshire and the White Mountains. After a couple of bad falls on Mount Adams and in the Wildcats, that was it for me, but I'll be back next year.

    As for the third tough state, the rest have their pluses and minuses. I did well in Pennsylvania, but let's face it those rocks, which continue into New Jersey by the way, are just tough to walk on.

    After completing all but 315 miles of the trail since 2016, Georgia is a distant memory. However, I remember the long climbs in Georgia that I made as a new hiker and they were tough, but compared to the northern part of the trail, Georgia was a piece of cake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    I thought the beginning of New York was very difficult. Other hikers agreed, and yet no post on WB that I have seen ever mentions this fact.
    maybe not too often but it gets mentioned every so often. i alluded to it in my first response to this thread as well

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