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AT Start Date?

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    • AT Start Date?

      Thoughts on best months to start a NOBO thruhike?
      Observations after following many vlogs and journals:
      January - Most don't seem to last long
      February - Smokys can be problematic
      March - Crowded
      April - Time crunch to get to Katahdin without flip-flopping
      Contemplating a 2024 Thru-hike at age 62, Not fast but still strong
      500 miles of section hikes under my belt since 2011, always in June, July, or August as I was a teacher
      Thanks for your suggestions. Grateful to join your community.

      "We don’t stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking"
      "Act Justly, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly" - Micah 6:8

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Wintergreen ().

    • Welcome to the Cafe Wintergreen,
      I think the beginning of April would be a fine time to start. The weather should be improving, the trees budding, and you still have a full six months to reach Katahdin.
      You will still be part of the 'bubble,' so crowds are a given. But that isn't all negative, and if you want you should always be able to find your own space on the trail.
      Bet you will catch up to many of the hikers who left earlier and spent all their money in hotels escaping winter weather.
      You must be pretty excited to be planning your thru hike!
      Please keep us up-to-date on how it goes.

      Scott
      “Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
      the saddest are these, 'It might have been.”


      John Greenleaf Whittier
    • April should be fine. You have researched and posted the major issues with each of those months. If you start in the first half of April, if you hike 5 months it's still early September. Issues (Closed trails, closes for overnight camping) in Maine should not be an issue yet.
      And there are always options for doing a flip. You could jump ahead and go NOBO from say Vermont to Maine. Then return and finish the section you jumped over in PA or where ever.
      Pirating – Corporate Takeover without the paperwork
    • Welcome Wintergreen
      I've not thru hiked so I am no authority. I have certainly thought about it. Wondering why not consider a flip flop?
      If I were to do it, I would probably take the train to HF at the end of April (my birthday) and hike north. Then flop back to HF and hike south to Springer.

      But if you are set on a traditional NOBO thru, then early April is fine. As pointed out, you won't know your pace until you get well into the hike. The typical thru takes 5.5 months so at that pace you would be finishing in mid Sep, but if by New England your are finding yourself behind that schedule, you can always flop north to the ME and the whites done before the weather turns.

      If avoiding crowds (especially a problem down south before the bubble spreads out) is a concern, just use dispersed camping (i.e. not at shelters). That's where the crowds focus. I personally have never stayed at a shelter on the AT. North of HF, dispersed camping is not allowed in most places, but by then the crowds will have thinned.
    • Wintergreen wrote:

      Thoughts on best months to start a NOBO thruhike?
      Observations after following many vlogs and journals:
      January - Most don't seem to last long
      February - Smokys can be problematic
      March - Crowded
      April - Time crunch to get to Katahdin without flip-flopping
      Contemplating a 2024 Thru-hike at age 62, Not fast but still strong
      500 miles of section hikes under my belt since 2011, always in June, July, or August as I was a teacher
      Thanks for your suggestions. Grateful to join your community.

      "We don’t stop hiking because we grow old, we grow old because we stop hiking"
      Section hiked the AT with over 95% of it in June, July, and August. Currently a college professor and really have strong desire to still do a thru hike. If waited until I retire would leave in May to avoid weather. Already on the wrong side of 60 also and do not to want wait another 5 years. So thinking of working schedule so I could leave end of March in 2025.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Astro wrote:

      IMScotty wrote:

      Astro, have you thought about a PCT thru-hike? I think you would enjoy it.
      No Fire and Ice for me.
      Do plan to do Colorado Trail in 2024. Also will eventually try to get a JMT permit.

      But the only thing I plan to commit for more than a month to is a thru of the AT. I really like the convenince of resupply (hostels and towns) and relatively less extreme weather.
      The road to glory cannot be followed with much baggage.
      Richard Ewell, CSA General
    • Astro wrote:

      Astro wrote:

      IMScotty wrote:

      Astro, have you thought about a PCT thru-hike? I think you would enjoy it.
      No Fire and Ice for me.
      Do plan to do Colorado Trail in 2024. Also will eventually try to get a JMT permit.
      But the only thing I plan to commit for more than a month to is a thru of the AT. I really like the convenince of resupply (hostels and towns) and relatively less extreme weather.
      I too would love to do a Sierra hike. Not sure which. Looked at a few options, like JMT, HST, or loop hikes in YOSE or SEKI.