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>>I am a high school biology teacher.....
>>1. Can anyone suggest the "best" 350 to 450 mile segment of the trail hiking
>>in late June to the end of July?
>The "best" is fairly subjective but I would bet it's the last section
>which includes Katahdin, the 100 mile Wilderness, the Bigelow Range, the
>Mahoosics, then down into the Presidentials in NH. But I live in Maine so
>I'm biased as I hike these areas.
Just to throw my 2 cents in here: Maine was may favorite area on my
thru-hike, but be forewarned - it can be rather brutal on the body if Maine
is your starting point and you're not in pretty good shape. I started my
thru-hike in Maine and it was tough! I wasn't in hiker mode at first (ie,
I wasn't a lean mean hiking machine) and I ended up with a bruised heel
about 120 miles into my hike. So I lost about 5-6 days waiting for it to
heal (shameless pun...). Which was no huge deal to me since I was going to
be on the trail for 6 months anyway. In your case, since you'll be out for
30 days, idle time will be a real drag.
So, I recommend Maine, but with the above warning. If you keep your pack
weight low (as low as you can stand) and you're in reasonable shape, and
especially if you don't push yourself into injury, then Maine is a great
choice. I thought that Maine provided a great wilderness experience, far
removed from typical civilization. Not too many road crossings, beautiful
lakes and mountains, exciting rainstorms, views-a-plenty, the above
tree-line alpine tundra(?) enviroment, and (my favorite part!) the majectic
moose. Oh yeah, and moose droppings -> a must-see in my book!
If you don't care to be so removed from civilization and would like to see
a different side of the AT, I think most of Virginia is beautiful. The
Shenendoahs are a nice representation of what the mountain ranges look like
in the south, a sort of rolling green appearance. I loved the Mt
Rogers/Grayson Highlands area and I remember McAfee Knob was pretty cool
too (my photo of Sam standing out on McAfee Knob always gets several oohs
and ahs). And Roan Mountain in Tennessee was one of my favorites too - the
balds in the south are neato.
These places are just off the top of my head. I'd have to look in a
mileage book to get an idea of exactly where they are and jostle my memory
for other cool places. In truth, I think the whole AT is beautiful.
Different sections have different personalities. Like the rocks in
Pennsylvania: you may curse them as you walk on them, but you never forget
them! For some people, Pennsylvania was a favorite section of the AT,
rocks and all. I guess some places are beatiful in your memory just
because you had a great day there. I love the whole trail, and I bet
you'll fall in love with it too, no matter which section you pick to travel
for a month.
Sorry, that looks like more than 2 cents!
Oh yeah, Welcome to the group! (and welcome to all the rest of you who have
joined in the last few days!)
--Mike (ME-->GA 1992)
"This is the pick." --Mel Bay
Michael Roberts Graduate Dept. of Biomedical Engineering
email@example.com Tulane University