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  1. #1
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    Default March 1st or April 1st?

    I'm trying to decide between a start date in early March and early April. I've read a lot of blogs from each start time. Ideally, I want to begin on March 8th, which will be my 30th birthday. I'm in pretty decent endurance shape and I'm hoping to keep a steady pace of 15-20 miles throughout the trip with minimal zero days/nights in town. I know the weather will be a little better if I start a month later and I'll get to see a little more of a Spring, but I think I am too excited to wait. Any suggestions

  2. #2
    NC_is_me rjhouser's Avatar
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    ........... May 1st

  3. #3

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    Thats easy. Given the choices you want to leave April 1.

    (And if you to postpone it a couple weeks past April 1 then that would be even better.)

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    Yeah I was thinking April 1 makes more sense but I have gotten kind of obsessed this last week thinking about doing it.

  5. #5
    Registered User Storm's Avatar
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    I think April 1st is a great start date, was planning on that myself. Life throws you a curve sometimes. I find that I'm already going to be in the south on March 18th so I've altered my start date to around March 20th. At my age I might need a couple extry weeks anyway. lol
    "The difficult can be done immediately, the impossible takes a little longer"

  6. #6

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    The weather April 1st won't be a little better then March 1st, it will be a LOT better. Especially in N.C..

    Start April 1st and you'll be on track to hit all the major trail magic feedatons, and have lots of partners to choose from. So long as you maintain an "typical" pace for the first couple of weeks instead of pushing for 15-20 mile days right off. Ease into it dud, it's not a race!
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  7. #7
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    Mar 1st will be busy. Apr 1st will be busy. Consider the 2nd week of Apr.

    With a stated intent for "minimal zero days/nights in town", if Mar ends up being snowy you may find yourself in town more often that you wanted to be.

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    i'll put it out there that there's a HUGE difference between being in pretty decent endurance shape and maintaining 15-20 mile days in GA/NC (and beyond) with minimal zeroes...if you think you're gonna be doing big miles that early, i think your only option is an april 1 start...or, be more realistic about your starting miles and shoot for early march...
    Check out my website: www.serialhiking.com

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by barnanimal View Post
    I'm trying to decide between a start date in early March and early April. I've read a lot of blogs from each start time. Ideally, I want to begin on March 8th, which will be my 30th birthday. I'm in pretty decent endurance shape and I'm hoping to keep a steady pace of 15-20 miles throughout the trip with minimal zero days/nights in town. I know the weather will be a little better if I start a month later and I'll get to see a little more of a Spring, but I think I am too excited to wait. Any suggestions
    start the first week of april

  10. #10
    Registered User Feral Nature's Avatar
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    I am confused about which start date for myself as well. I will be a slow-goer but also want to avoid as much bad weather as I can. I worry about getting to Maine before bad weather if I start too late.
    Formerly known as Texas Phlox.

  11. #11
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    Start mid-week no matter which one and beat the weekend warrior crowd.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by barnanimal View Post
    I'm trying to decide between a start date in early March and early April. I've read a lot of blogs from each start time. Ideally, I want to begin on March 8th, which will be my 30th birthday. I'm in pretty decent endurance shape and I'm hoping to keep a steady pace of 15-20 miles throughout the trip with minimal zero days/nights in town. I know the weather will be a little better if I start a month later and I'll get to see a little more of a Spring, but I think I am too excited to wait. Any suggestions
    To make 15-20 miles/day, it will be much easier to start in April. Avoid the 1st as that's a big bolus of hikers. Leave a week later and you'll catch up to folks with the pace you're hiking. You should also be able to arrive in Damascus just in time for trail days, if you want to see what that's like.
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  13. #13
    Registered User LIhikers's Avatar
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    If you're not on a schedule, and have as long as you want to do the hike, why not start on your birthday?
    Start early, go a little slower or finish a little earlier, no problem either way. This may be a once in a life time occasion so why not make it last as long as possible, within reason.

  14. #14
    jersey joe jersey joe's Avatar
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    One thing I didn't think about before I left was that the longer you wait, the more hours of daylight you will have to hike/cook/camp...something to keep in mind.

  15. #15
    Registered User Driver8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serial 07 View Post
    i'll put it out there that there's a HUGE difference between being in pretty decent endurance shape and maintaining 15-20 mile days in GA/NC (and beyond) with minimal zeroes...
    If you read barnanimal's other thread, you'll see he runs 80-100 miles per week at the age of 29 and is looking at a four month thru schedule. I'm predicting he'll be able to get through Georgia in five days or fewer and will continue that pace going forward, barring injury.

    b/a: To your question, I'd say follow your intuition and inclination. The weather will almost certainly be a lot better on or about 4/1. As long as you prepare well, though, you'll be fine.
    The more miles, the merrier!

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  16. #16
    the dreamer stars in her eyes's Avatar
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    Another voice chiming in for the April start. The weather alone is factor enough; March can be fickle, weather-wise. Not to say that April can't be just as bad, but historically April is more conducive to an efficient hike.

  17. #17
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    Nothing like an ice storm to squash the enthusiasm of hitting the trail March 1st. The first week of April .
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  18. #18
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    i started april 19th and saw absolutely no snow in the south. it was wonderful. granted, georgia was rainy 80% of the time i was in it and we decided to take a zero because of the tornadoes that were forecast through the area a week later, but overall the weather was quite nice.

    a park ranger in the smokeys told us that on/around april 1st is a prime start date.
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  19. #19
    FreeWilly FreeWilly's Avatar
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    If I had a choice I'd start Apr 1 (or somewhere around there) just so I can be be hitting all the trail events. Unfortunately I need to start by Mar 1 in order to be done by mid Aug. Good thing I don't mind the snow.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for the advice everyone. I think I am going to plan on starting April 1st, or maybe a few days before. I would like to start on a nice round number like the first, but I am weird like that I guess.

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