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[at-l] starting dates

Mark: =

You said:

"As a very new subscriber to the group, I am surprised to hear talk of
what I think are thru-hike departures in the March-April time frame.  I
thought the conventional wisdom was to depart from the southern terminus
in May.  I would appreciate any comments on the best broad timeframe for
thru-hikers from GA to ME, and forgive my ignorance if I have
misinterpreted e-mail traffic."

No misinterpretation.  The trail is 2160 miles, so averaging about 12 miles
a day, it takes 5 =AB to 6 months to thru-hike the trail.  In Maine you are
likely to get snow in early October, and Katahdin can be closed by the 15th=
 Terrible to hike so far and not be able to finish!!  So, most people have
traditionally started April 1.  Because of the huge crowds in recent years,
people have taken to starting earlier and earlier.  Late February starts ar=
not uncommon anymore.  The problem with that of course, is snow and cold in
the south and shorter hiking days .  The Smokies can be snowy until early
May.    With an April 1 start, the heat of summer is minimized too.  By Jul=
you are in New York, and Mass.  and Vt.  during July and August  are much
cooler than Pennsylvania would be with a May start.  Although people leave
in May, they have to push to finish by early October or flip-flop (drive to
Katahdin partway through the hike and go south to wherever they left off.

Ginny Owen
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