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      OT: Appalachian trail hike?     
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fishonfishoff
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04/21/2021 08:06PM  
Been thinking about this for a few years. I plan on retiring next spring (before turkey season). Early May after chasing turkeys, I'm debating walking the northern half of the Appalachian trail. Why the northern? Why only half? Then Northern half, although is supposed to be a tougher hike also has Maine. I only made one short trip to Maine and loved it. Why only half? This will be a 3 month solo trek and I do have family to think about. This will also let me get back for deer archery season. LOL
I would like to get any advice, opinions, or insight from my good friends on this site. I have one year to plan and go, or abort this dream which is constantly floating around in my thick skull!

Thanks in advance,
FISHONFISHOFF
 
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Canoearoo
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04/21/2021 08:28PM  
I loved hiking part of it. But you are choosing the hardest part. You can train for it by hiking the superior hiking tail. I read it is different now. In some of the areas can hike hostel to hostel and only carry 4 days of food because you can resupply in all the towns.
 
HistoryDoc
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04/21/2021 08:32PM  
The conventional wisdom is that when you hit the White Mountains in New Hampshire, you have completed 3/4's of the distance, but less than 1/2 the effort. Been over most of the Vermont, NH and Maine sections and it is hard, but spectacular. I think this would be a great hike and give you the best experience. Depending on where you start, just be in shape and ready, there is no easing into it. Great idea.
 
fishonfishoff
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04/21/2021 08:44PM  
Still early in the ballgame but Pine Grove Furnace in southern Pennsylvania could be a starting point.
 
04/21/2021 09:16PM  
I've done parts of PA and across the short part of MD and it was fun. Sounds like you'll be in more difficult areas. Give it a shot
 
billconner
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04/22/2021 05:03AM  
I guess the quest for solitude has gotten to me and have changed my focus from the AT to the Continental Divide Trail. But your plan sounds great, maybe starting early enough to be ahead of the through hiker surge.
 
missmolly
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04/22/2021 05:40AM  
I hiked from Springer Mountain to Harpers and southbound hikers told me that the edged boulders of Pennsylvania was the hardest part of the trail.
 
04/22/2021 07:46AM  
I realized that I could never commit to a thru hike or even a long hike as you have planned. So I have set my goal on hiking the highest spot on the AT in each of the 14 states. I'll complete WV next month (again... found a higher spot) and then the remaining 5 New England states in 2022. Good Luck on your trip!
 
04/22/2021 08:00AM  
I think you have to do this!
I nearly took a gap year after high school to tackle the AT (grandma had done it and grew up with the stories and dream). For better or worse I went to college and 21 years later still have the yearning. But a growing family and all the adult responsibilities are pushing it to retirement as well. Your story stokes my hopeful plans! DO IT!!
 
yellowcanoe
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04/22/2021 09:12AM  
Early May in Maine has a couple of issues.

1. Currently there is a foot of snow coming down.
2.The snowpack is still deep.
3. If no snow the trails are a sea of mud and water and some river crossings could be an issue.
4.The blackflies start biting about Mothers Day
5.Katahdin does not open until May 15. Most through N-S hikers start here
6, Practice crawling on your belly pushing your pack ahead of you if you want to start at the western boundary of Maine. Mahoosuc Notch is a mile of boulder hell and part of it goes under boulders. You have to go over or under them.

Pennsyvlania for sure will eat up your hiking boots that upturned shale.
 
04/22/2021 10:05AM  
yellowcanoe: "Early May in Maine has a couple of issues. ..."

FOFO should get to Maine by early July... conditions then?
 
yellowcanoe
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04/22/2021 10:55AM  
bobbernumber3: "yellowcanoe: "Early May in Maine has a couple of issues. ..."


FOFO should get to Maine by early July... conditions then?"


the usual skeeters. And the hordes human usually don't arrive till August-Sept-Oct. not sure what hikers like FOFO are called.. the Last Halvers??

There is a stretch in Maine called the 100 mile Wilderness. No resupply.. there is only one meal available at Whitehouse.. they offer burgers and are a mile off the trail. The AMC has a lodge nearby the AT but unless you want to drop three hundred...

Monson.. is not near the AT really. The trail crossing is about five miles out of town.

hiking 100 mile wilderness
 
flaxman
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04/22/2021 11:24AM  
I started my AT thru hike 20 years ago today. I think that your plan to do one half at a time is a good one. Maine and New Hampshire are both tough, but if you start mid May somewhere between Harper's ferry and the official midpoint in PA, you'll have some pretty easy mileage through the mid Atlantic to get ready. A mid May start might also keep you a little ahead of the northbound thru hikers, and maybe even bring you thru much of Maine after the southbounders have passed thru. And don't get psyched out about the Notch or 100 mile wilderness. The former was fun and the latter relatively easy.
 
fishonfishoff
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04/22/2021 01:09PM  
I appreciate all the responses so far. If I start in southern PA early May, I should finish up lake July, early August.........if everything goes smoothly.
FISHONFISHOFF
One year to round up all the gear needed!
 
04/22/2021 02:49PM  
HistoryDoc: "The conventional wisdom is that when you hit the White Mountains in New Hampshire, you have completed 3/4's of the distance, but less than 1/2 the effort. Been over most of the Vermont, NH and Maine sections and it is hard, but spectacular. I think this would be a great hike and give you the best experience. Depending on where you start, just be in shape and ready, there is no easing into it. Great idea."

I lived in the Whites when I was much much younger. Those mountains go up and down steeply with the northern Presies being a beautiful jumble of granite slabs. It's beautiful but exhausting. I worked at the AMC which maintains the system of huts. They are now crowded and expensive (think the equivalent of a hotel room) and meals are not cheap. You will still need a tent and plenty of food to get you along the way. The huts cannot restock you.

I grew up in PA, appropriately dubbed by AT hikers as "Rocksylvania". :) I loved hiking the trail there but your feet will get beat up if you don't a have a sturdy vibram sole to protect your them. Watch for the timber rattlers. They like to sun themselves lying across the rocky trails. Having written that, you could definitely use PA as your warm-up when you start at Chambersburg and hit your stride when you hit the hills of CT and western MA. You'll need your cold weather hiking gear for the Whites and Maine as it can get quite frosty above treeline. The previous comments concerning the Mahoosic range are spot-on. I loved that hike, north-to-south but I was completely knackered when I was done.

I've always wanted to complete the AT sections that I've missed and my daughter has challenged me to do this soon so I'm sure I'll be out there in the not-too-distant future. It's a worthwhile trip and with plenty of planning and mail-drop resupply, you will do well.
 
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