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Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail

 
 
Reply Sat 21 Jul, 2007 05:58 am
http://www.outdoors.org/conservation/trails/at/index.cfm

I may be wrong here, but this trail hiking adventure seems to be calling out to me. I do not currently do much hiking, I'm in decent shape and getting in better shape, but I think I found my new motivation or my next challenge.

I need to do more research, and of course start my training. I guess since it's a six month adventure I'll need to start saving as well.

Do any of you know anyone who's done this?
 
Tai Chi
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jul, 2007 06:28 am
For a humorous but still informative take, you might read Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods".
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Jul, 2007 06:45 am
I've done pieces of it in Maine. Here's what the consensus was, back, oof, back in the 70s. Keep in mind that the entire trip takes 6 - 8 months or so.

1) Start in early Spring so that most of it's done before any harsh weather really starts, but recognize you may see some snow when you start
2) Start North (Mt. Katahdin in Maine, which I've climbed) and head South (the end is Springer Mtn. in Georgia). This (coupled with #1) keeps you out of the snow for the vast majority if not all of the trip, so you can pack considerably lighter and less bulky clothes.
3) Have friends supply you every few weeks or so. Make up the packages yourself so that you know exactly what's in them, how much they weigh and whether they'll fit in your pack. Be sure that clean, brand-new socks are included in each package.
4) Make sure you have all of your medical stuff with you, e. g. if you're allergic to penicillin, wear a Medic-alert bracelet at all times. If you need medication, have enough with you for between supply dumps and a little extra in case something's late. Take your insurance cards with you, plus complete names and phone numbers for all of your doctors.
5) Get a dental cleaning and a thorough medical examination before you leave.
6) Take your ID including Driver's License with you.

A few things from today, just practical stuff off the top of my head --
7) Pay your bills in advance and have someone watch your place. Turn off whatever appliances and utilities are not in use.
8) Keep a cel phone and a charger with you but keep in mind there are going to be plenty of dead spots along the way, so make sure you have a few phone cards if you hit civilization and want to make a call but the cel doesn't work.
9) Keep a debit card with you, and keep the numbers at home with a trusted friend, in case it is lost or stolen.
10) Packs, food, boots and all other gear are far lighter and more waterproof than when I was doing this, but don't go all gear-happy. You have to carry all of it, so be judicious. And consider multitaskers. Had a friend who used to cut down ziplock bags so that they fit into various pockets and compartments, so just about every space was waterproof and of course this was good for food storage, etc. Ziplock bags now come in a lot more sizes so the custom cutting isn't necessary but I still think this was a fine idea.
11) Take a journal, preferably one like a notebook with a binder of pages, and hand it over when you get your supply dumps, in exchange for fresh pages and pens.
12) Take one or two small paperbacks, and also keep them for trading during your supply dumps. Consider trading with people you meet on the trail; your To Kill a Mockingbird could be swapped for someone else's Welcome to the Monkey House. You may or may not see that person or that book again, so recognize that, but it can be fun.
13) Rethink your normal standards of hygeine and comfort. You'll be dirty a lot, and sweaty if you hit about NJ in the summer, which the schedule I've mentioned more or less does for you. Things will itch and hurt -- not all the time, but I guarantee that they will and you'll have a lot fewer comfort options.
14) Have fun with it. I don't regret not doing this trip but I do, at times, miss hiking. Take a lot of pictures.
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JPB
 
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Reply Sat 21 Jul, 2007 08:34 am
Tai Chi wrote:
For a humorous but still informative take, you might read Bill Bryson's "A Walk in the Woods".


Great book!

I don't know anyone who has completed the entire thing, but I've hiked much of the trail that goes through Vt. It was in my back yard, so to speak.
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Sat 21 Jul, 2007 01:00 pm
I can offer you a hot shower when you come through the Poconos.
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realjohnboy
 
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Reply Sat 21 Jul, 2007 01:44 pm
Same offer when you come through Virginia.
I bet if you do some googling that you will find a site where veterans of the trek have posted.
Sadly you will not get to meet the (quite literally) world famous Cookie Lady of Afton, VA. The AT runs near wehre she lived and Rt 250 does also. The latter is popular with folks riding bicycles across country. She had a barn-like structure where folks were welcome to stay. She baked cookies every day. She died within the last year or two.
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Fri 27 Jul, 2007 12:47 pm
Maporsche--

http://www.mcall.com/news/local/all-stacygery.5954691jul27,0,7052666.story

http://www.trailplace.com/


Realjohnboy--

Back in the 50's I shared an apple with Granny Gannett.
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maporsche
 
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Reply Wed 1 Aug, 2007 10:32 pm
Well, I'm only 10lbs from my goal weight.....then I'll be starting to train for extended hiking trips. I plan to have my first 40 mile hike by the end of October and will probably have to wait until spring (or fly south) to try a 100 miler.

My current training plans have me in line for a run at a 2009 thru-hiking trip.....my current financial plans are somewhat iffy though, so I still need to figure that out.
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NickFun
 
  1  
Reply Thu 2 Aug, 2007 12:13 am
I hiked about 600 miles of the trail all in one shot back in '82. A year later I did another 150 miles. I learned, mostly from other hikers, how to live off the land, how to clean clothes by pounding them on the rocks and how to kill my own meals. But I drew the line at spending hours starting a fire by rubbing sticks. I prefered my Zippo. It's an experience I will never forget. I could easily hike 20 miles a day with a heavy backpack. I was in amazing shape.
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farmerman
 
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Reply Thu 2 Aug, 2007 05:06 am
Over the years Ive done a number of sections but am still fond of the Port Clinton to Lehigh Gap. However, there are areas that are being fast developed in view of the trail and its a shame . The Lehigh Gap end, for one., looks like a moonscpe from a 1900's zinc smelter that has denuded the mountains.

PS the Pa ATC maps are unashamedly wrong. Id carry a USGS cutout of topo map sections. About 10 years ago, I had some students in a field geology camp and we hadem map the geology of couple sections of the AT. Every day theyd be met by hikers whod ask what was all the surveying gear about. That year, we were the talk of the trail when my kids all told the hikers that the US govt was gonna build a "Mt top scenic highway " all along the AT.
People got really freaked so we posted some "clarification" statements at the NJ and PA entrances and some side trails.


The Bryson book reminds us that bears are becoming more and more a regular trail occupant. The bears in the New England section are actually a bit small and you can intimidate them.(In Maine, where they hunt them from bait stations, the bears are like dogs) The Pa-NC bears are the real thing hwever (400 lb and bigger), and they dont bluff as easily. 2 record bears were shot in Pa in the last 2 years, one was 700lb and the other 650.


The side trails offer a nice unspoiled hike through asome of the lead in areas to the AT. In Pa, some of the side trails (like HAwk Mountain or Liberty trails) are actually neater than the AT , mostly because the AT is a covered ridge trail, you are more often than not just walking through dense woods with little opportunity to see a lot. From NC to NY its this way. Then in Vt and NH it opens up a lot .


HAs anybody seen the new section that goes from Katahdin to the end of Gaspe?(I think it ends at GAspe)
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Bi-Polar Bear
 
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Reply Thu 2 Aug, 2007 05:32 am
2009 must be the year for big plans and projects. I know a lot of people who have plans for hiking or biking adventures that year. I am going to sky dive with Seth Cub to celebrate his 18th and my 60th, and I want to either walk or bike from Atlantic to Pacific, stopping along the way in clubs and bars and performing for tips.
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cjhsa
 
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Reply Thu 2 Aug, 2007 06:16 am
My cousin through-hiked the trail. If you have any specific questions you'd like to ask him, just post and I'll pass them along.
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maporsche
 
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Reply Thu 2 Aug, 2007 08:44 am
cjhsa wrote:
My cousin through-hiked the trail. If you have any specific questions you'd like to ask him, just post and I'll pass them along.


I'm sure I will as the date approaches...thank you!
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cjhsa
 
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Reply Thu 2 Aug, 2007 09:54 am
Feel free to PM me.
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Thu 2 Aug, 2007 03:02 pm
Farmerman--

Slowly, slowly New Jersey Zinc is clearing up the mess on Blue Mountain near Palmerton.

Slowly, slowly.
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farmerman
 
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Reply Thu 2 Aug, 2007 03:55 pm
Noddy I know , but its not fast enough to suit those who use the mountain and the River. My company was awarded a research contract to the mining company to find a way to bring the soil bacteria back. We needed to restore decomposition as a natural cycle , so we laid out study plots and hauled in thousands of tons of Philly sewage sludge and planted rye grasses and tomato bushes to hold the new"soil" together. We applied the same technology we use at gold mining leach piles Theyve been applying this method at about only 10 acres per year, and its working splendidly ..
The problem with the site is not contamination, the Zinc Oxide dust, freom the old smelter is such a perfect bacteriostat that the soil is lifeless, and there are trees , the trunks of which have been lying , unrotted, for over a century.
The EPA "superfdund program" has taken a "dig and haul" mentality and thats just stupid. If the EPA would just help the mining holding company to affix more sludgysoil, and get like 150 acres per year, they could have it fixed in another 10 years. As it is, itll take 75 or more .
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Noddy24
 
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Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 07:28 am
Farmerman--

Even the weariest river winds sometime safe to sea.
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farmerman
 
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Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 07:30 am
Carrying with it all the crap and detritus of its trip
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 07:33 am
That's great stuff f-man. Keep up the good work!
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farmerman
 
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Reply Fri 3 Aug, 2007 07:38 am
The new Katahdin to Gaspe section is supposed to be spectacularly wild and scenic. Its also quite remote. I looked around for maps and didnt find any, so If you want to include that section in your trip, youll have to contact Environment Canada. (Be careful of moose in the Maine through Gaspe section) I souldnt like to be hijing up there in September through October (rutting eason and mooses get mean)


Weve always planned to do a through hike and have decided that, due to things like our lives, We would break it into two ections and start early at the southern end and hike to Pa line. Then start (next year) about June and hike south to te Md line. Seems more doable and less stressful on families and support.
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