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Topic: Newb wants to plan a hike., Any and all advice welcome< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 1:59 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi. I am "planning" on hiking from Florida to Washington when I get back to the States in summer '14. By "planning" I mean, I have said I would, and I'll at the very least, make every effort to do what I said I would do. That said, I have no idea how.
How do I find out what trails exist and can be relatively easily chained together? (I would rather trek through the woods then along a highway.)
How do I plan for water and food?
How do I  estimate time tables?
And any other things I have no idea about ...

Thank you in advance.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 2:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Washington the state or Washington the District of Columbia?

If it's D.C. then look at how to get to Springer Mountain in Georgia and go "up" the AT to the northern end of Shenandoah...

http://www.appalachiantrail.org/who-we-are

Another long trail resource are the various National Scenic Trail councils for the PCT etc.

Also Whiteblaze:
http://whiteblaze.net/forum/content.php

There are a number of books on "how to" hike the Appalachian Trail, search Amazon and or look for recommendations at the above webpages. The AT Conservancy has a bookstore that might offer a considered selection:
https://www.atctrailstore.org/catalog....ompid=1

ETA: note the interval in days between supply points, that's the sort of test runs you might consider as that would mimic your load and duration, with the "real thing" being a connected series of those "shorter" backpacks.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 2:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

First off, a hearty welcome to our forum!

Are you pretty well equipped?  Or do you have lots of gear shopping to do?  My suggestions:

1.  Buy a good backpacking/hiking book to give you a good feel for the activity -- and also to help zero in on the gear needed. Why a book?  Because for newbies -- the worst they can do is start buying things piecemeal (most start with buying the backpack) -- when really, all the pieces need to work well -- and to work well together!  The backpack, for example, should be one of the last piece you buy (or decide on) -- after you have settled on all the stuff that you need it to carry comfortably.  A good book will introduce all that to you systematically.

2.  Some good books to consider:

        o  The Ultralight Backpacker - Kestenbaum
        o  The Backpacker's Handbook - Townsend
        o  The Complete Walker - Fletcher & Rawlins

3.   Since you say you are a newbie -- start with a few overnights or weekenders -- or longer.  There's just no substitute for real life "rehearsals" to really determine your preferred hiking style -- and what gear pieces work well -- or not -- for you.  In that regard, you might consider renting the more expensive gear pieces -- trying them out -- before committing major bucks.

Happy Hikes!


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 3:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Just for Google Ninja fun:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-distance_trails_in_the_United_States

Plenty of choices.

This route might be fun

Florida Trail-->
hitch to Appalachian Trail-->
American Discovery Trail-->
Continental Divide Trail-->
Pacific Northwest Trail

This route is a big logistical undertaking, be sure to know what you are getting yourself into.

I'll echo what Ben said, make sure to gather experience, both book knowledge and "getting out there" before embarking on such a quest.  Best of luck to you!


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 4:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm with HSF.  Until we know which "Washington" you refer to, the rest of the route-planning is pretty moot, since that obviously makes a big difference. :p

As for the rest, I'd visit the whiteblaze site HSF linked to.  Lots and lots and lots of info about long-distance thru-hiking there, which is what you propose.  Read up!


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 29 2012, 5:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Time table is relatively easy to figure out. Go on a hike with approximately 65 lbs of gear. Assume that you'll be getting supplies (resupply drops) along the route. I would guess that 65lbs would be the most at one time you'd be carrying. Depending on your budget, you can shave that weight based upon your gear. How many miles you can accomplish with that weight will give you how many miles you can travel. Now, take into account feeling miserable, having blisters on your feet, and other such wounds and weather. Add additional days for dealing with those issues. Depending on the time of year and when you start and what elevations you hit, you can easily cut your possible average mileage in half. In regards to water, use your maps to determine possible water sources along the way and that will help you determine the maximum capacity you'll need. Mind you...if you are going to be near civilization along your route, this will change some of your needs.  Read a book called, "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. This will give you a more accurate description of what you're about to encounter/experience.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 4:08 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Washington State.
Practice isn't going to happen. But, working in Afghanistan has a certain amount of rough and I some times have spent a few days traveling with my body weight, so I am hoping I have some idea what that is like.
Thank you for the reading. I'll get cracking. As to the path, My plan involves a lot of meeting up with people between and will likely be something where I cut west after Florida till Dallas and then head north till Montana and then west again. I want to start in fall so that I miss the snows till at least after the rockies. So, obviously, I expect to do a lot of making up my own route (unless someone else has already blazed one I can follow and still meet up with my peoples).
Thank you again for your thoughts.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 5:30 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This map may help planning:
http://www.nps.gov/nts/maps/National%20Trails%20map.pdf

The FLT will get you moving . . . you'd have to find your way to Dallas from there, then you could hop on the CDT and go the entire length, then cut west on the PNWT.

That's a helluva hike.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 7:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

While they are not backpacking trails, you might find this site about bike routes helpful, for resupply info or linking other trails together.  They typically will follow lower traffic roads that go through small towns.    Good luck.

http://www.bikeacrossusa.com/bicycle-routes-usa.htm


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trail? I don't need no stinkin trail!
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 10:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

My suggestion if you wan to "hike" would be to pick the AT, CDT or PCT.  Any of these will provide plenty of challenges and inspiration.

If you want to spend days walking along dirty highways through monotonous country, then proceed as planned.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 11:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(no_granola @ Nov. 30 2012, 5:30 am)
QUOTE
That's a helluva hike.

+1

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 11:59 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tomareutsuzo @ Nov. 29 2012, 11:59 am)
QUOTE
. . . By "planning" I mean, I have said I would, and I'll at the very least, make every effort to do what I said I would do. That said, I have no idea how. . . .

Speaking personally, I think just because you said you'd do something is a lousy reason to think you have to do it. I'd suggest you don't hold yourself to rash comments made off the cuff to friends.


(tomareutsuzo @ Nov. 29 2012, 11:59 am)
QUOTE
. . . I would rather trek through the woods then along a highway. . . .

Yeah, I agree. So would I. But it sounds like your route may be a whole lot of the opposite.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 12:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Run Forrest, run...

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 12:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Some of the CDT requires considerable route finding skills. I'm sure the same can be said for much of Afghanistan too though.

"Summer" will not be enough time to cover the serious overall distance you want to do. Depending on where these people you want to see are I'd consider alternative, faster travel from Florida through Dallas. My suggestion would be to enjoy the Florida Trail in WINTER or early Spring. I don't know how practical it would be to add the Pinhoti or something else near the Gulf Coast. In the summer, keep track of snowpacks throughout the Spring and concentrate on the Rockies. Given your limited time from Dallas I'd head for Mt. Taylor, NM if you are going to do the CDT, probably no earlier than June 1 if not June 15 if there is lingering snow before you hit the Colorado San Juans. Another option would be to go to Santa Fe, NM and travel the Sangre de Cristo Northward to Salida, CO and then follow the CDT to Southern Wyoming, then hit the Wind Rivers and head up in to Yellowstone eventually.

I could possibly help you with a ride or something in Wyoming. Keep us posted. Stay safe over there,

John


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 12:45 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It takes thru-hikers around 6 months to complete the Applachian Trail. You're route would be close to 3,500 miles... so a rough estimate would be 10 months.

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 12:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(no_granola @ Nov. 30 2012, 4:30 am)
QUOTE

very cool map\link. It'll go in favorites so I can have it later.

Just from the map, Florida National Scenic Trail to where 75 and 10 cross.
Greyhound, train tracks, 2 lane blacktop to north of Atlanta.
Trail of Tears to Missouri.
Jump on to Mormon Pioneer Trail to the intersection with Oregon Trail.

I would avoid Texas unless you are hitting plains states in the Winter. West Texas in winter sucks, but it would suck less than Nebraska or Wyoming in snow.
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 1:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ Nov. 30 2012, 8:26 am)
QUOTE

(no_granola @ Nov. 30 2012, 5:30 am)
QUOTE
That's a helluva hike.

+1

A hellava hike?  Indeed -- for the 99% of us -- but that would be just a short "section hike" compared to what this Canadian guy did:



Back in my college days, I tutored a guy who hiked coast to coast -- on one good leg and one prosthetic!!

But even the longest journey begins with the first step.  So tomareutsuzo, if this is what you want, put an action plan together and stick to it.  You may find it both harder and easier than you think.  :)


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 1:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(tomareutsuzo @ Nov. 29 2012, 12:59 pm)
QUOTE
I would rather trek through the woods then along a highway.

Umm, from the end of the FL Trail to Dallas (which doesn't appear to be on any foottrail at all) is a heck of a lot of road walking.

That said, the "mostly foottrail" option would be a LOT more miles.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 1:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hike to the airport...

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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 2:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here's a suggestion:

- Visit family & friends in Florida
- Get a ride to Georgia and hike the AT
- Get a ride to see more family & friends
- If you still feel like hiking, hike the PCT
- Get a ride to see more family & friends
- If you still feel like hiking, hike the CDT
- Get a ride to see more family & friends
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 2:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You might want to read Peter Jenkin's A Walk Across America. It's somewhat dated but it might give some kind of idea of what you're undertaking.

At any rate, best of luck.


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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 11:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(hikerjer @ Nov. 30 2012, 12:49 pm)
QUOTE
You might want to read Peter Jenkin's A Walk Across America. It's somewhat dated but it might give some kind of idea of what you're undertaking.

At any rate, best of luck.

Jer, we're on the same page... was just scrolling down the responses to offer the same suggestion.

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the high road is hard to find
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PostIcon Posted on: Nov. 30 2012, 11:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

And, by the way, thanks for the service. I think it's great that you are dreaming of hiking across the homeland while enduring what I'm glad I never had to abroad. God speed and best of luck, sir.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 01 2012, 10:25 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Getting from the FLT to Dallas is going to be the hard part.  There's no clear footpath and the weather/terrain there is pretty oppressive and inhospitable.  Walking through Florida Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas for three months is not appealing in the least.

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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 01 2012, 11:56 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Seems like another question would be whether you want primarily to do a backpacking trip (I.e. wilderness) or something more about discovering the country a la Peter Jennings (also my first thought on reading this).

If the former, I'm thinking maybe three years, with lay-overs to wait out the winters.


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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 01 2012, 1:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

@no_granola & Lamebeaver, thank you, links added and look very interesting.
@no_granola, double cabin, WalksWithBlackflies, OldGuyWalkin, hiking_tiger,  Thank you, your encouragement and thoughts are appreciated.
@toejam, Lamebeaver, RebeccaD I appreciate what you are saying, but, I'm going to make the best of it as I can while still doing what I said. What doesn't work out like I had hoped is just more flavor. :)
@hikerjer  Books like that are appreciated.
@Ben2World Yeah, that guy is amazing.
@TravisNWood, bill g, Tigger,  Of course. Thank you.
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PostIcon Posted on: Dec. 01 2012, 11:33 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Let us know what you decide.  You'll be close to several of us along the way, I'd imagine.

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(hiking_tiger @ Dec. 01 2012, 11:33 pm)
QUOTE
Let us know what you decide.  You'll be close to several of us along the way, I'd imagine.

Thank you. As I get closer I'll talk about what I am deciding and why. That way any obvious mistakes can be pointed out to me.
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Heck even the parts that are a "road trip" will offer sights people blazing by at the speed limit only glimpse. Though for me it helps that I'm an architecture fan so all that roadside stuff I find fascinating. There are some FB pages for that sort of stuff. Like Roadside Rustic.
http://www.facebook.com/RoadsideRustic
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