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  1. #1
    Registered User 747er's Avatar
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    06-27-2019
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    Arnis, SH, Germany
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    44
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    Default My plans on thru-hiking, no date confirmed, yet

    I hope this is the right spot to put this topic. If not, please put it, where it belongs

    My plans are to do a sabbatical and attempt a north-bound thru-hike on the A.T. I hope I can make it happen in the next years, but I just can`t confirm a date, at the moment. There are just too many things that need to be considered and arranged, before departing on that adventure.

    I am a quite experienced hiker, but not in alpine conditions. I used to live in Switzerland from 2008 to 2010, and did multiple day hikes in the alps. Last year I hiked the Gendarmstien in Denmark, a very scenic route, but nothing compared to the A.T.

    So my plans are, to hike the Gudbrandsdal-path in Norway, as it takes you up and over the Dovrefjell, where there can be snow until summer. It takes around 32 days to complete it, off-days not included. There are multiple shelters along this way. You can find them throughout Scandinavia.
    I think this could be a great test hike for the A.T.

    This year I wanted to hike the Haervejen in Denmark, which would have taken 3, or 4 weeks to complete. Unfortunately I ruptured my achilles tendon, while running, and I am grounded until september. Hopefully I`ll be able to do a smaller hike, then.

    I have some family in Seattle, who I could ask to send me some resupplies and gear. My current gear is fine, I think, lightweight, sturdy and easy to handle. Only thing I still need to find are good boots. While doing the daytrips in the alps, I had some real alpine boots, first, with a stiff sole. They were a pain in the ass, so to say. I never got used to them, and finally got me some La Sportiva boots. And got blisters everytime I wore them. Last year I hiked in trainers, which was fine, but there were no mountains and no rugged terrain.

    What I also need to find out is, what kind of visa I will need to stay in the US for that long. And I need to find somebody, who would take care of my cats, while I`m away. And I`m sure, there are many other things and problems that need to solved in advance.

    If you have any advice for me, just let me know! Also, if there are other hikers from Germany, or Europe, on here, feel free to contact me!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    12-27-2013
    Location
    Northwood, NH
    Age
    28
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    1,442

    Default

    Hiking the AT is very different than the hikes you described.

    There is also a LOT of bad advice out there on the internet.

    Because you have a lot of time, you can research and plan and get squared away.

    Rather than falling into the blackhole of backpacking advice on the internet, I suggest you pick up a few books instead.

    Mike Clellands ultralight backpacking tips and Ray Jardines Trail Life are excellent books to shape your mindset to becoming a successful thru hiker.

    You don't need to become anal about shaving grams off your back but you DO want to be a lightweight backpacker.

    As for gear. One best online resources from EXPERIENCED long distance hikers is Cam Honans Thru Hiker Gear Guide.

    Stay away from Youtube. Theres way too much info.

    You mentioned boots. Most thru hikers are on the AT are wearing lightweight trail running shoes. With a lightweight pack, boots are not necessary and breathable trail runners offer a lot of advantages.

    Right now Altra, Hoka, and Salomon seem to be the most used by USA thru hikers. For good reason. You will need multiple pairs to finish the AT.

    Pair them with some quality socks. Right now Darn Tough and Injinji are the most popular on the trail. On the AT, In would say 75% of hikers are using Darn Tough socks.

    Start with the books. Stay away from youtube. Go on hikes. Dial in your HIKING gear.. and then take a minimal but comfortable amount of camping gear.



    Sent from my SM-J737V using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Registered User kestral's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-12-2011
    Location
    Melbourne, Florida
    Posts
    354

    Default

    Welcome to white blaze. Lots of good and bad info out there. If you could teleport your kitty to me I would care for them. . Seek official government sights concerning visas. This might not be your best venue for information, consider Facebook groups for info on specific trails.

    Best to you my friend. Hope to meet you on the trail.

  4. #4
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    10-22-2002
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    Winston-Salem, NC
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    Default

    Welcome. I have met a lot of German thru-hikers on the AT, so you will find your fellow countrymen along the way.

    As noted above, the AT is a very different hike from the ones you mentioned.

    Dates: You'll want to start a north bound thru-hike no earlier than March 1, and no later than May 1 -- ideally, around the beginning of April works well, though the trail will be quite crowded. You'll want to be finished in Maine by the beginning of October.

    Boots: Most AT thru-hikers wear low-cut trail runners, not boots, and certainly not mountaineering boots. No need for it. There are no snow fields to cross, no rocky cliffs to scale. It's a well worn trail through the woods.

    Resupplies: don't worry about your family in Seattle sending you food and such. It's very far from the trail (almost 5000km) and postage will be very expensive. Along the AT you will find a town every 3-5 days with a grocery store. Get one of the thru-hiker guidebooks for all the info (The AT Guide, or the Thru-Hiker's Companion.) Resupply is generally easy (except for a few people with very specific food requirements or medications.)

    Visa: I am not an expert, but I understand you can still get a 6 month visa to do this. You'll need to look at the US embassy's website in Germany for information, and several folks who have gotten these said they had to explain the whole concept of a thru-hike to the consular official. This is probably the most difficult thing you will have to do.

    Good luck with everything.
    Ken B
    'Big Cranky'
    Our Long Trail journal

  5. #5
    Registered User 747er's Avatar
    Join Date
    06-27-2019
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    Arnis, SH, Germany
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    Default

    Thanks for your answers! I will try to get the mentioned books. As I think, there is always something, that can be improved. Sometimes it is better to read about what is best, than to learn it the hard way. Like mountaineering boots are not suitable for hikes on "normal" terrain. Or that you always tend to pack too much stuff, if you`ve got a large backpack. Had a 70l pack for many years, and did some railtrips with it. Took it on my first hike, and it was so damn annoying to hump that monster. And I carried stuff I never used througout the trip. Sold it right after I got home and got me a smaller, much lighter pack, instead. An Osprey Exos 48. Until now I`m really happy with it.

    For the shoes, I have some Salomon trailrunners, which I use to wear every day, and I also wore them on my hike, last year. If those are fine on the A.T., and you can get new ones easily, it will be perfect!

    I looked up the website of the US embassy in Germany, and it seems I need a B-visa. I think it can be hard to explain the idea of such a hike to a person, who has probably never hiked himself, and doesn`t know anything about it, or the A.T. in general. On the other hand, if there are many german hikers, they should know, shouldn`t they?

    I`m really looking forward to do this trip!

  6. #6

    Default

    There are some excellent summaries on Whiteblaze (this website).

    For example:

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/at-hostels.php —a list of hostels.

    Or this nice summary:

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/content...-for-Beginners

  7. #7

    Default

    The Exos is a great pack. I used one for several years. Most popular pack on the AT.

    You can see what others actually used on the trail here:

    https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail...-hiker-survey/

    There are a number of entries.

    Bottom line you have good shoes shoes if they work for you. Lots of people love them.

    You have have a good start with the pack and shoes.

  8. #8

    Default

    Finally. I really like the Whiteblaze book.

    It can can be found on the front page and is very comprehensive and inexpensive.

    I do use Guthooks on my phone.

    https://appalachiantrailclarity.com/...supply-points/

    and

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/at-resupply.php

    With those links I think you are set.

  9. #9

    Default

    Finally. I really like the Whiteblaze book.

    It can can be found on the front page and is very comprehensive and inexpensive.

    I do use Guthooks on my phone.

    https://appalachiantrailclarity.com/...supply-points/

    and

    https://whiteblaze.net/forum/at-resupply.php

    With those links I think you are set.

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