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AT expeditions/group hikes

    I am gathering information for a future AT thru hike (I am 40 years old
and want to do it before I am 50).  I know it will be a 
physical challenge, but that is something I can prepare for (and any 
conditioning I am lacking, will be taken care of by the hike itself).  I 
need to decide whether to go it alone, or as a member of an "expedition" 
or a "group hike".   I am interested in Warrens Doyle's trips not only due 
to the shorter amount of time needed for the trip, but also due to the 
support  the group members give each other (Warren's unbroken  circle).  
The mental challenge of an AT thru hike is what led me to do research on 
completing my AT hike as a member of a group.  Keeping a positive attitude 
on a thru hike must be very difficult, there are a million valid reasons to 
leave the trail every day (snow, rain, heat, bugs, mice, mountains, fatigue,
pain, smelling myself after a week without a shower,  and eating my own 
cooking just to name a few).  Having a familiar group of faces to meet you 
and cheer you up at the end of each day would be great (a little trail magic
 along the way would be nice too).   
     I understand there is a down side to group hiking, like sticking to a 
set schedule and itinerary no matter how you feel, and being stuck with the 
same people every night (having a familiar group of faces to meet you and 
piss you off at the end of each day).
So I guess my question is whether to do an AT thru hike alone 
or with a group. 

Does anyone have a strong opinion one way or the other?  
Anyone out there done an AT group hike/expedition?
Any comments on the mental aspects of a thruhike?

Thanks for listening,




To Jim Owen, thanks for your response to my inquiry on Warren Doyle's AT 
expeditions, it was much appreciated.