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Thru-Hiking the AT

Mr. 0

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I was just wondering if anyone here has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail. I'm seriously considering doing it in '05 so I wanted to get some pointers. icon_cool.gif


Mr. 0


"Remember that nature and the elements are neither your friend or your enemy - they are actually disinterested."


Department of the Army Field Manual FM 21-76 "Survival" Oct. 1970

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We did the PCT several years ago. Not an easy task. Takes a lot of planning. One thing that worked well for us is to ship ahead supplies to various post offices, resorts, stores along the way. For example after California there wasn't as large a need for sturdy hiking books. So we changed shoes at that point. Do a lot of research, I'm sure there are many books on the subject.


I hear voices.....and they don't like you!

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Check out the discussion boards on www.backpacker.com. You can find all sorts of info there, plus probably some links to websites about through hiking.


Also, backpacker magazine have a 'get out more' tour designed to help hikers with the basics of backpacking. The website ishere. They have 2 ppl go to various sports stores and give a free 'class'. They toss out a few goodies too. (a few really good things, mostly t-shirts, mugs, etc) Great for the beginner packer. I think they have the same people as last year, and if I remember correctly, they through-hiked the Appalachian Trail themselves. If the 'tour' is comming to a town near you, you may be able to catch them after class.


I walk the Maze of Moments, but everywhere I turn to, begins a new beginning, but never finds a finish... -Enya, Anywhere Is

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Great choice, I'm thinking of doing the Trail also and have looked up a bit on it. I have a few tips for you. when in maine here is a great place to stay off the trail for a day before hitting the 100 mile forest.. www.geocities.com/pineellis/pineellis.html they cater to thru hikers and there site has links to trail info about Maine.. plus plus there is some good caching around them parts...


Also for a good hummorus read on the trail check out the book called A Walk in the Woods,, by Bill Byrson....


Have a great walk!


Cache Now, shovel the snow later!!!

See You In the Woods!!!


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I have also given the AT alot of thought. If you go to Googleand do a search for "appalachian trail journal" or something to that affect, you'll get a ton of web pages from folks who posted their entire trip journals online..........fascinating reading!!


Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners.

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I've been reading trail journals and some other information on the web about it. Basically it's been awhile since I've done much more than a weekend or day hike...so I was wondering what the choice materials are for clothing is anymore. Also along those lines how many changes of clothes should I pack with me? I haven't found a lot of detail about clothing. I was also wondering about food, like is it best to stock up on the dehydrated "trail food" (like the MRE's for the masses) and have it sent in mail drops or should I go for something more along the lines of stuff to make my own meals out of (pastas, bread, peanut butter, stuff like that).


Mr. 0


"Remember that nature and the elements are neither your friend or your enemy - they are actually disinterested."


Department of the Army Field Manual FM 21-76 "Survival" Oct. 1970

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Haven't hiked the AT but read a good book about thru-hiking last summer:

A Season on the Appalachian Trail by Lynn Setzer


She interviewed various thru hikers and compiled their experiences.

Clothes-wise, I hear that Capilene is a better choice than cotton clothing which will stay damp and cling to your skin longer. I have no experience to verify this though...

I'd love to hike part of the AT someday.

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Thru-hiking the AT is our retirement plan! Of course that's a long way off as I haven't even worked enough yet to be eligible to social security...


I don't have any links but know that I've found lots of info on the web. Good luck, wish we had a target date set!


GeoMedic - team leader of GeoStars


Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.

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That's true capilene or polypro is always better than cotton. Cotton gets wet...it stays wet or at least a lot longer. No insulation whatever in cotton.


I've read a few books on doing a long backpack. Definitely something I'd like to do in the future. MountainMudbug's book sounds interesting. I'll have to check that one out.

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I've done the wilderness section in Maine but never through hiked. The wilderness section is pretty intense. At least it was for me as a novice backpacker. There is a sign at the entrance in Monson, Maine that reads something like "Do not attempt this section of the Applachian Trail without at least 10 days' supplied. There is no resupply point between here and..." something like that. I have a picture of it somewhere.


It was an awesome hike, but probably the most physically demanding thing I've ever done. I have more memories from the time on the trail than any other outdoor activity. That section is a true miracle and hiking it is something everyone should do once in their life icon_smile.gif


Besides the sights, the comradery of the people on the trail is amazing. You're in for a very positive experience.



trippy1976 - Team KKF2A

Saving geocaches - one golf ball at a time.


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I have been on part of it. It is quite a undertaking to do the whole trail. I have met people that have done it and it was always a great experience. I have also talked to people that have done 1/2 in a summer then the other 1/2 the next summer, due to time. Planning is key to doing this trek. READ< READ< READ< if you are going to try. Have fun.


Exploring the world,,,one Cache at a time !!!!!

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Southbounder 1978, I'm giving away my age here but it was a great trip. As a very young pup it was a life altering experience. If you really want to find out who you are, this is the way to do it. It takes lots of planning and effort. I promise you will leave things beside the trail that you never thought you would part with, so pack light. I plan on doing it again with my son when he is the same age. I've got 8 years to get ready.

By all means do what you have to to make the trip, the only thing you will regret is not doing it.




He who angers you, controls you.

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we, the solemates will be a month in to our thru-hike. we have been planning it for years now and are leaving the first week in February from Springer Mtn. We're leaving a little earlier than most (it's gonna be cold!) because grad school starts in August. We're getting married in January of 2004 so after a nice honeymoon to Hawaii we will be on the trail for 5 months...kind of like an extended honeymoon! icon_wink.gifWe know that we have to do it between undergrad and graduate or we won't ever get to do it. We can't wait though and know that it is going to be quite an adventure. There are tons of books and stuff that you can learn more about it if you are really interested. Onward to Katahdin...

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Most hikers go south to north, ideally trying to travel with spring. There are stacks of books on the AT trail, but the one I would recommend is Ray Jardine's book on the PCT. Ray is unquestionably insane, but there are some real gems in his madness, and one consistant point in the "Ray Way" is LIGHT.


2,200 miles on foot is a loooong way. The peaks on the AT are modest, but they are almost beyond count. In the 100 mile wilderness in Maine, you'll be lifting your pack over your head and wading, then using your hands for class 3 scrambling before your pants are dry. It will really help if you strip your pack down to the absolute minimum.


They only other thing I can suggest is a practice run or two. The John Muir Trail in California is just over 200 miles long, and hits some serious peaks in the sierras. With Yosemite and Sequoia at the ends, it is a nice vacation. It also can give a good taste of distance backpacking.


One problem with the AT is it is hard to get on and off of, especially at the ends. And, based on the dropout rate, it isn't for everyone. I would definately recommend a 200-300 mile hike be attempted before going to all the effort and expense to try the AT.


Good Luck,


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