Heading to Gainsville, GA. Two day prep (mental and last minute gear/good check), and ill begun NOBO in early Feb. thanks for your info; very excited for the potential to spoon with any gender hahaha. However I am going to give myself a two week buffer incase there is too much snow. Both of these approaches also give you a longer window of time to complete your thru-hike. Your completely right, if you have the right gear an early start date is a great thing to do! Great timely post as I’m also hike the AT in the Spring but haven’t made up my mind, where or when to start. Those considering a thru-hike know the A.T. is one of the world’s most popular long-distance hiking destinations. Hoarfrost and icicles, haunting fog and ghostly winter mists, green glowing lichen on black trees; the caw caw of crows, like messages from the land of the dead– the winter forest is a good place for a middle aged person to contemplate and internalize the reality that nothing last for ever and warmth is a function of transitory life. But good luck and see you on the trail! Many foods that melt or go bad in summer, keep better in the winter pack. I completely lucked out there. FYI it will be cold every morning you get up. March start dates increase in frequency year after year anyway, some of it a reflection of economics and demographics– the great recession and the retirement of the Baby Boomers have swollen numbers in recent years. Our site relies heavily on Javascript. Almost every mountain has a great view with the canopy off the ridges. Plan and save accordingly. Given my current physical ability, this plan seems very reasonable to me and allows for a lot of flexibility for rest days, or just taking an impromptu break somewhere beautiful. That said, if you need a zero day or two or three due to conditions, you will have plenty of company and rooming may be an issue. Depends on when in February. You are constantly aware of your body burning its own flesh to stay warm. You can enter the date you think you want to start, use a slider tool to estimate your speed from “record pace” to “very relaxed,” and the planner will estimate the number of miles per day, zero days, etc. A lot of thought went into picking this date. Some people are not mentally prepared to be imprisoned for twelve hours in a sleeping bag. This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. In February the mean temperature for the section from Springer Mountain to Hiawassee GA is 37°F, and a high/low of 50°/24° F. This is cold, but with the right gear, I am ok with that. You can help break this damaging use pattern! That is a pretty significant difference. With the release of two thru-hike related major motion pictures in 2015 (“Wild” and “A Walk in the Woods”), the number of new hikers is projected to increase dramatically. Archived. A lot of thought went into picking this date. For many, the thru-hike is an adventure of a lifetime. Much of my life, I have spent accumulating material things, like a big house, the nice furniture, the cool car, the awesome job. I am more concerned about entering the Smoky Mountains so early though. Close. Starting my trek on February 18th, at a fairly relaxed pace, gives me 238 days to reach Mt. Speaking of comfort, there is the “problem” of towns. Don’t be the reason a volunteer rescue crew has to do the work of extracting your frozen corpse; or your broken-leg-assed self. To learn more, please visit the About This Site page. If you’re not concerned about hiking in that sort of snow, go for it. Starting NOBO in February, you’ll have your solitude, but you may bond tightly with the people you’ll meet. Starting my thru hike at the end of February! I was happy to see that there are already quite a few people voluntarily signing up. Keep yourself safe. My son and I are planning a Spring 2017 thru-hike and we have been discussing a mid-Feb. start time for the reason of missing the huge crowd start out and allowing us to see the woods in winter time. My advice is to be prepared to knee deep snow a couple of times along your trek starting this early. Honestly it became a little depressing to not see any green till early April. If you have been following the buzz in the AT community recently, you may have noticed some observers cautioning 2016 NOBO hikers to expect problematically high hiker volume in the wake of the film version of Bill Bryson’s book, A Walk in the Woods. When you register, you can see how many other people have registered and what day they plan to begin. During winter, many facilities on public lands are closed, meaning that spigot you were depending on to fill up your water bottles before your hike may not be so dependable. All of your life you’ve been looking for the big answer, and here you have it. Winter hiking is all about living in a refrigerator, so you might as well stock it accordingly. This is great because I will have a few days of wiggle room to meet my goal of hiking in for the event. The tool automatically updates and even gives you warnings (see red numbers spreadsheet column) if your resupply is over 7 days. By selecting a lower-use day for the start of your thru-hike using this voluntary thru-hike registration, you will be ​improving your own hike while improving the A.T. experience for everyone. The Smokies may be biggest challenge. Day hiking recently on Georgia’s Blood Mountain, I spotted a SOBO (southbound) thru hiker. u/bepperpepper. The problem most February starters discover immediately is the lack of sunlight for hiking. Remember that not every year is a good year for a February start. North Georgia in February can be warm and sunny– or a cold, hard land. Don’t take my word for it. Thru-hikers can now play a major role in helping even out the flow of hikers to better seek the “fellowship with the wilderness” for which the A.T. is famous. I’m planning my NOBO hike Mid Feb 2018. I’m serious. We use cookies to personalize content, to provide social media features and to analyze our traffic. You may be hiking into Harper’s Ferry for Trail Days with that start date! These no-cost classes are designed with thru-hikers in mind, but any hiker can attend. Cheers –. Classes will be held throughout the day as hikers arrive. I don't have any advice for your car, but if you are planning a February start date, make sure you are prepared for extremely cold temps. Snow, if it is high, makes the trail impassible for most hikers who lack snow shoes. 1. Go freeze your ass off for days, see God of the Grim Reaper’s face on a snow dusted mountainside in a fit of religious delirium, then get warm and eat a pizza in motel bed. I will start my NOBO AT thru-hike on February 18, 2018. Any suggestions? We’ll have great party and snowball fight. —. It also gives a slower (often older) person more time to get to Maine. I estimate entering the Smoky Mountains at Fontana Dam around March 21st. He also hiked a 500 mile section of the AT in 2014. thank you very much for the post! We started a trek in 2013 March 9, and by the end of March had had two significant snow events, and we hadn’t even made it to the Smokies. Thanks for your support! Taking 4 days off in harpers ferry. This is super helpful so that I can try to avoid heavy start days. Could always hitch too I suppose; but 40/50 for a shuttle or even more for a taxi; is that amount of money LESS for needed re supply of grub while thru hiking. This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. A hiker should always be prepared, but a February NOBO start requires extra precaution in deference to the cold. Check out the trails Days website. How do I describe who I am? The postholer planner lets you adjust number of zero/nero days and lets you adjust arrival dates to various shelters and locations. It is probably foolish to plan a February start (though I’ve done it twice) because winter weather is always unpredictable, but if you can be flexible and work around the weather, you can pull it off. Starting my thru hike at the end of February! If you have any other helpful tips feel free to email me. Starting so early allowed me to go into Asheville for a couple of days. I have picked my start date! His writing has appeared in print or online in River Styx, The Louisville Review, the Prose Poem Project. Fatty food is also psychologically comforting. Crowding intensifies because prospective thru-hikers have tended to start in Georgia around specific dates, such as March 1, March 17, and especially April 1 and weekends.