Since we returned this week from a visit to the grandkids in Utah (or was that a ski trip, not sure) we have been full on getting ready for the big one. We are super pumped about this whole thing. 2,190 miles from Georgia to Maine will be the hike of a lifetime.
Over the past 8 or 9 years Shauna and I have section hiked about 700 miles of the AT from Pearisburg, VA to NJ. As of today we still have a few items to wrap up, but our gear all set, shoes have been chosen, food for the first week is mostly good to go and decisions on clothing have been made.
Most thru hikers (about 2500) start in Georgia in Feb, March or April and hike the 2,190 mile north to Baxter State Park in Maine in one motion. A few (maybe 300) start in Maine in June and hike south. Even fewer (one or two hundred) will hike one half of the trail, then flip flop to hike the other half for a variety of reasons.
My plan is to start our hike in Harpers Ferry on March 13 and hike north for 6 or 7 weeks through MD, PA, NJ, and NY. My main two reasons for this plan are:
1. There are so many hikers (average 30 or so/day) that start in March and April in Georgia. We want no part of that zoo. In 2012 we hiked most of the AT in Georgia in the beginning of April and it was ridiculous. We will be able to hike through MD, PA, NJ and NY in March and April with relatively few other hikers.
2. Since we live 30 or 40 miles from Harpers Ferry we will be hiking for these first 6 or 7 weeks close enough to home that our daughter and son-in-law (2012 AT thru hikers) can support us if we need to switch out clothing, equipment, or experience really bad weather. Familiarity is good.
There are a dozen other reasons for this plan that I will get into in another blog post.
For now, here's to putting one foot in front of the other. It's just walking.