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  1. #1
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    Default Flip-Flop Question

    I'm planning to flip-flop by starting at Harper's Ferry and going north. I'm using Wikitrail to help me plan and it looks like it will take me 10 to 11 weeks to reach Katahdin. When is the best time to start to stay ahead of the bubble and avoid the cold and mud up north? Thanks. Happy trails.

  2. #2

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    The best time to leave is during the Flip Flop send off the end of April. (you'll have to look up the actual date, usually the 3d weekend).
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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  4. #4
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    The best time to leave is during the Flip Flop send off the end of April. (you'll have to look up the actual date, usually the 3d weekend).

    Is there a bubble of sorts following the flip flop festival ? I'm planning a north bound LASH from Harpers Ferry and wondering if it would be better to delay by a week or so after April 25th.

    Thanks for the link Scott.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmitchell View Post
    Is there a bubble of sorts following the flip flop festival ? I'm planning a north bound LASH from Harpers Ferry and wondering if it would be better to delay by a week or so after April 25th.

    Thanks for the link Scott.
    A small one. It dissipates quickly.

    If your in any kind of decent shape to start out, you can get ahead of most of them in the first day or two and stay ahead of them.

    When I started with the festival group in 2016, half the group stopped at the Ed Garvey shelter the first day. I pushed on to the Crampton Gap shelter. Then I lost most of those who went to Crampton with me the next day at the Dahlgren campground when they found out they could order pizza for dinner. Only four of us pushed on (it was only noon and it's only the second day. What's wrong with you people?) and we stayed ahead of everyone for the duration.

    Last year I started a NOBO from HF about a week before the festival. I never did have any of them catch me. I was basically alone through PA. It was spring break while I was in MD, so it was pretty busy there for a bit with Boy Scouts and families.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  6. #6
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    2019 I left with about 25 people from the Flip flop festival. That small bubble didnt stay together very long. The more surprising crowd came when I got to Vermont. The AT & The Long trail run together for 100 miles or so and it was busy at every shelter till the AT and LT seperated.

  7. #7
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    for a 10 week pace, late April is a bit early IMO - mid may is better

    real question, how likely is that pace - it is faster than probably 70% of those who do a typical nobo and finish - so early May could be the best

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    for a 10 week pace, late April is a bit early IMO - mid may is better

    real question, how likely is that pace - it is faster than probably 70% of those who do a typical nobo and finish - so early May could be the best
    Due to the timing of my Dad's birthday April 16th, after a visit with him it's a good time for me to hike. Harpers Ferry is a convenient place for me to start a hike, so I've done two NOBO hikes starting late April from there.

    I think it's a great time to start. With an average pace you get to Vermont around June 1st, which except for potential mud and bugs, is a decent time to hit Vermont. Then your through the Whites before it gets crazy busy in early July.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  9. #9
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    End of April. You'll have one or two fast early starting nobos passing you a couple times a week in Pennsylvania. It's a great way to hike the AT

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huzzah Hiker View Post
    I'm planning to flip-flop by starting at Harper's Ferry and going north. I'm using Wikitrail to help me plan and it looks like it will take me 10 to 11 weeks to reach Katahdin. When is the best time to start to stay ahead of the bubble and avoid the cold and mud up north? Thanks. Happy trails.
    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    for a 10 week pace, late April is a bit early IMO - mid may is better

    real question, how likely is that pace - it is faster than probably 70% of those who do a typical nobo and finish - so early May could be the best
    11 weeks/77 days from Harpers ferry to Katahdin is pretty darn fast - 15+mpd without factoring in any zeros/neros. Faster than most NOBO thruhikers report, who average around 88 days to do that section, and they're trail hardened by the time they reach Harpers Ferry. So unless you're in remarkably good physical condition at the outset, that pace sounds pretty optimistic. https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/content.php/44

    May 1 is probably ideal, as at an average of 15 mpd you'll hit VT early to mid June. You may still have a little mud but it is typically firmed up most places by then. Bring insect repellent for the black flies which while not at their worst after mid June can still linger through July in parts of New England.

    Rather than wikitrails as a planner, I'd go to AWOL's site https://www.theatguide.com/ and look at the 12, 15, or 18 mpd thruhike plans (they are dropdowns under the info tab) as they take into account realistic places to camp each night, and also where and when to resupply which often figures into where the best places to camp and nero or do a full zero are as well. Used with a trail guide (AWOL, ALDHA, Whiteblaze pages, and/or Guthook's app) these are the plans I would use for a long AT hike. Then change the plan as you go - because it never lasts beyond the first shot fired
    Last edited by 4eyedbuzzard; 01-30-2020 at 20:15.

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