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Southbound departure dates

Hello everyone,
All this discussion on departure dates has gotten me thinking about a 
southbound thru-hike.  My wife and I are planning on going next summer 
and would like some input from all you southbounders out there.  We would 
like to start early enough to miss (or at least, minimize) bad weather in 
the Smokies in the fall/early winter.  However, we would also like to 
minimize the bug season in the north country as much as possible.  I 
started a hike on the 13th of August at Katahdin and the bugs were not a 
problem but I got snowed on in Shenandoah.  Any suggestions?
ME->Rusty's '93