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  1. #1
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    Default 2013 may be the worst thru-hike season in a very long time.

    A record number of thru-hikers started North from Springer this year. 2700. Early starters fared the worst. Winter would not go away. Some had ice and snow all the way to Virginia. Then the stomach virus hit. Then the heavy rains in New England caused one of the worst crops for mosquitoes in years. In normal years almost a third would have finished. This year it will be about 12%. Yellow blazers are inside the 12% and there was an abnormal amount of yellow blazing this year. My hat is off those early starters who made it. They should get 2 thru-hiker patches. Every year is a crapshoot of troubles on the trail from droughts to washouts, this could be a record year.
    http://www.appalachiantrail.org/abou...il/2000-milers

  2. #2

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    and I groused about the lack of water in 2012......

  3. #3
    Registered User Kookork's Avatar
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    ChinMusic has the bragging right . He started early and strong and finished even stronger. The statistics shows that 2013 was a specially tough year to hike.

  4. #4

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    It's amazing!!!! ^^^^ I hope the Class of 2014 has it much better!

  5. #5

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    I know of one still out there. Karma. As of Sunday 11/17 she was on day 242 with 41.2 miles to go.
    "Hiking is as close to God as you can get without going to Church." - BobbyJo Sargent aka milkman Sometimes it's nice to take a long walk in THE FOG.

  6. #6

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    I am not superstitious, but I questioned my start date of March 13, 2013 almost the entire 5 months figuring I jinxed myself haha

    I am glad I hiked this year though, it made for some great stories.
    Out of step with the world...

    My trail blog:
    http://saladdaysonthetrail.wordpress.com/

  7. #7
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    According to the ATC all you have to is try.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by WingedMonkey View Post
    According to the ATC all you have to is try.
    All you have to do, is try.
    The trouble I have with campfires are the folks that carry a bottle in one hand and a Bible in the other.
    You never know which one is talking.

  9. #9
    imscotty's Avatar
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    I really question the wisdom of the trend for earlier and earlier start dates. These Jan - March starts are fine as long as you know what you are getting into, but many do not. Patience Grasshopper!

  10. #10

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    No such thing as a "thru hiker" patch.

    Perhaps you're thinking of a Man Patch.

  11. #11
    ME => GA 19AT3 rickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imscotty View Post
    I really question the wisdom of the trend for earlier and earlier start dates. These Jan - March starts are fine as long as you know what you are getting into, but many do not. Patience Grasshopper!
    Is it really possible that 2700 people started a Northbound hike this year?

    i know that is what the ATC website says but if true, why the spike? Did the southern service providers see a business bonanza?

    If that number of people were spread out evenly over 90 days, you'd have an average of 30 people starting every day. And some days would have to be double or triple that or more, right?

    I am thinking something might be off-- I hope so.

  12. #12

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    you had start days from February to May.I started March 23rdand yes in the beginning I'd say there were upwards of 30 people at some of the sites, thinned out a bit after Neels gap.by the time I got to the Smokies I would say was around 20and when I hit damascus it dropped to between 10 and15. i think early on when you had 20 or so people staying at the shelters/sites, you also had 50+ in town, keeping out of the weather. from what i saw the number is believable
    Last edited by hikerboy57; 11-19-2013 at 20:06.

  13. #13
    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    Just looking at the numbers what I see is a fairly normal number finishing, a fairly normal number reaching Harpers Ferry, but an unusually high number starting out north bound.

    I would be interested to know why there was an increase of 1000 potential thru-hikers starting out over that of 2011, when in years past the increase has been 100 to 200 more hikers over previous years. Maybe my math is wrong but isnt that a 62% increase?
    igne et ferrum est potentas
    "In the beginning, all America was Virginia." -​William Byrd

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    what was the number for 2012. i remember that was a record year as well.

  15. #15
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    the very best year to thru hike is the first year that you can. Perhaps the low % of finishers this year may have been caused by the high % of starters.

  16. #16
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    Makes me very weary of starting next year, I assume there will be more than 2700.

  17. #17
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    2700 in 2013, 1700 in 2012, 14xx in 2011. Up a thousand in one year. Perhaps this was not a spike but the start of a ever increasing trend. 2013 also had a record number of hikers who signed up for a 2013 AT Trail Journal account, 510. It will be interesting see how many thru-hikers make there way up the trail next year. If the trail gets any more crowded they will have to make 2 lanes. Should we all buy REI stock now?

  18. #18
    Registered User Tuckahoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moldy View Post
    2700 in 2013, 1700 in 2012, 14xx in 2011. Up a thousand in one year. Perhaps this was not a spike but the start of a ever increasing trend. 2013 also had a record number of hikers who signed up for a 2013 AT Trail Journal account, 510. It will be interesting see how many thru-hikers make there way up the trail next year. If the trail gets any more crowded they will have to make 2 lanes. Should we all buy REI stock now?
    How can this be a trend? Without some other data to support it, one must really question that 2700 number. All other numbers are nearly similar to previous years, along with similar growth, but suddenly there is an increase of 1000 attempted thru-hikers over that reported for 2011.
    igne et ferrum est potentas
    "In the beginning, all America was Virginia." -​William Byrd

  19. #19

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    I started Feb 17th this year... finished July 25! It was an absolutely brutal year. Snow a couple times a week up through the first week of April. 2+ feet in places in the smokies and 3-6 on Roan mtn. 30-40 days straight in the rain up north. In retrospect I'm very proud to have made it on such a tough year. But I was interested in starting early based in part off the ever increasing number of March first starters, as were several folks I met early on. Seems starting early to avoid the crowd has caused a negative feedback loop of sorts. I was experienced, prepared and knowledgeable about what I was getting myself into, many were not and dropped out or otherwise paid dearly. No crowd was awesome for us socially challenged types and I'd do it all over again. But better weather sure would have been nice!

  20. #20
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    Wait until the Bill Bryson "A Walk in the Woods" movie comes out. Every Yahoo and his brother will be queuing up at Springer Mountain.

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