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Topic: Beginner looking for help.< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 5:29 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi, friends. I decided to go hiking during the spring break. However, I didn't have any experience before. Now I was looking for all kinds of information online. I would like to also get some thoughts from you guys, more fresh and personal ideas.

I might go hiking for 7 days in the spring break, with a friend. Both of us not experienced. So where would you guys recommend? Is part of the Appalachian Trail okay?

Greatly appreciate!
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 5:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Do you have the gear? And does it fit? Boots, sleeping bag, pad, tent, backpack...etc.? If not, you're not ready and probably won't be. And what are you going to eat for seven days?

If neither of you have experience, I'd suggest you not try a seven-day trip. Work on single overnight hikes after obtaining the gear. That gives you a chance to make sure your gear works for you. Work your way up to longer trips gradually.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 6:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yep, a 7 day trip would be a baptism in fire, so to speak.  It is best to not learn everything the hard way all on your own.  And though you can get a lot of good information from people here on this forum, it is best to have someone show you a good method.  The AT would be OK because from everything I have heard, you are never more than a few days outa towns along most of the way.  But still, Spring Break along the AT is going to mean a very good chance of rain, maybe heavy rain with winds ... not a good beginners trip without an experienced person along with you to help guide you.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 6:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm afraid Travis has pretty well summed it up.  No one here, I think, would recommend that a couple of completely inexperienced hikers tackle a 7-day trip o their first try.

I would recommend you plan a trip with car-camping and day-hiking and plan on a night here or there away from the car.  Simple over-nights are definitely best for learning how without getting yourself into trouble, or just seriously miserable.

For info on Gear, try the pinned topic at the head of gear forum.  For food, lots of good discussion in the food forum.

And welcome, Wiley.  Hang around long enough and you'll either learn what you need to know, or decide that backpacking makes people completely insane and you had better clear out before you get that way too. . .


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 6:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Wiley @ Feb. 24 2013, 2:29 pm)
QUOTE
Hi, friends. I decided to go hiking during the spring break. However, I didn't have any experience before. Now I was looking for all kinds of information online. I would like to also get some thoughts from you guys, more fresh and personal ideas.

I might go hiking for 7 days in the spring break, with a friend. Both of us not experienced. So where would you guys recommend? Is part of the Appalachian Trail okay?

Greatly appreciate!

I highly, highly recommend that you and your friend do an overnighter or weekender first!

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 7:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The advice about starting out slow is good.  Here's some more

1.  Get boots or hiking shoes that fit comfortably.
2.  You need a way to filter of purify your water.
3.  You can buy dehydrated food...you can also get things like macaroni and cheese, or spam or whatever at the supermarket.
4.  You don't need EVEYTHING all at once before you go.  The other basics are shelter and something to sleep in and something to carry your stuff.  Feel free to improvise, borrow and rent util you figure out what works for you.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 7:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

See if there are any backpakcing meetup groups in your area. Search for them on google. Then you could hook up with them and learn some skills and do some short trips to see if all of your gear works for you and your friend. Start small and work up to doing longer trips.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 7:56 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'll be the odd man out here:

Spring break on the AT you'll find a slew of inexperienced people, just like yourself, floundering around and having a really good time being miserable.  It's pretty easy to bail out along the way if you really feel like you're in over your head.

Just make sure you don't drop trash in the woods . . . be responsible enough to carry out the crap that you carry in.  And most of all, have fun.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 9:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you can afford it, hire a guide and go on that 7 day trip.  You'll probably have fun but you'll also get a good education.  If the state you'll be hiking in has licensed guides then be certain that your guide is at least licensed.  And ask for references - names and contact info of past customers.  Not everyone who has a guide license is competent.  

But if the cost of a professional guide is out of the question, then scale back and look for an outdoor club sponsoring a backpacking trip of shorter duration.  The best run programs have an orientation meeting for general information about the planned trip and a subsequent "equipment check" day before the trip.  You can find trips like that sponsored by a wide range of outdoor groups, everything form informal meetup.com groups to local chapters of the major long trail clubs.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 9:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(no_granola @ Feb. 24 2013, 7:56 pm)
QUOTE
I'll be the odd man out here:

Spring break on the AT you'll find a slew of inexperienced people, just like yourself, floundering around and having a really good time being miserable.  It's pretty easy to bail out along the way if you really feel like you're in over your head.

Just make sure you don't drop trash in the woods . . . be responsible enough to carry out the crap that you carry in.  And most of all, have fun.

Gotta agree.  It will be more like car camping than backcountry backpacking.  The AT will be swarming with people, shelter to shelter hiking, easy bail-out options, misery and ecstacy all rolled in to one.  

Read the gear section and cover your basic essentials.  Carry cash to offer people that help you with their supplies and figure out how to bail out before you go.

Whiteblaze.net will give you more salient details about the trip you're thinking of.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 24 2013, 11:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hmm.  Interesting point.  I never thought about what the AT would be like. . . sorry, my Western bias is showing again!

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 12:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You can go for it but....may I suggest a shakedown trip with your partners. The most important thing on a backpacking trip is how your team interacts. A person's true personality comes out. I see that as your greatest challenge, compatibility with your friend for 7 days.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 12:57 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RebeccaD @ Feb. 24 2013, 8:10 pm)
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Hmm.  Interesting point.  I never thought about what the AT would be like. . . sorry, my Western bias is showing again!

No, it is still not a very good idea to attempt 7 days on even the AT with no experience.  I have reread the OP's post and it sounds like he/she and friend have absolutely no experience at all.  To me, that is the key.  If they shortened it to 3 or 4 days at most, then I would say go ahead. If one of them had at least a little bit of experience, then maybe.  But with no experience at all and knowing nothing else about them, encouraging them to go out for 7 days seems kinda silly.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 7:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"Spring break" would indicate to me that this person is young.  And I think some of us are forgetting how much you can endure in your early twenties or younger. When I was twenty I could do anything for a week. Unless they are complete dumb asses they will be fine.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 7:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Wiley, welcome to the board!  

Where do you live and where on the AT are you thinking about hiking?
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 10:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another question for Wiley--have either of you ever been camping at all?  Even in the park next to the car?  If you've never slept on the ground or cooked a meal on a camp stove, a little experimentation would be in order.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 11:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(eyebp @ Feb. 25 2013, 4:01 am)
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"Spring break" would indicate to me that this person is young.  And I think some of us are forgetting how much you can endure in your early twenties or younger. When I was twenty I could do anything for a week. Unless they are complete dumb asses they will be fine.

Well I'm not young anymore and even I could probably still endure almost anything for a week  ...  almost.

If the weather is great and they have a bit of outdoor sense, 7 days might end up being a great adventure.  If the weather turns to hell and they are only half day hike to a town, it might end up being a great story to tell their buddies when they return from spring break.  But if they are a couple days outa town, get a little lost, are poorly prepared, etc; then it might be much more serious.

There are so many things we don't know here.  I wish Wiley would return and fill in the background so we could actually give some informed advice.  Wiley registered back in August 2010 but this is the first post.  Obviously the interest has been there, but the extent of knowledge/background is totally unknown.

I do feel like people either like or dislike the outdoors.  Bad or good weather will not make or break a peron's love of outdoor activities like BPing.  That is why I always tell guys wanting to introduce their girlfriends to BPing, don't cancel because of rain.  Thunderstorms and such, yea, cancel; but just rain or showers, go.

Back in HS my friend and I spent Xmas vacation by ourselves traveling to Boulder CO and spending a week in his uncle's cabin on the mountain.  We survived and actually had a great time.  But on the other hand we were blissfully ignorant of how dangerous it was to be there in the winter, especially since half the time there was a winter storm going on.  Hell, we didn't even have snowshoes!  We traveled through avalanche zones and played around on corniced ridges, etc.  It was a two mile hike from the plowed road, postholing all the way.  We were lucky, very lucky, despite the fact both of us were fairly knarly outdoor characters back then.

Anyway, Wiley is checking things online so it is likely they won't die, but that leaves a lot of room for significant anxiety and misery.

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 12:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RumiDude @ Feb. 25 2013, 11:51 am)
QUOTE

(eyebp @ Feb. 25 2013, 4:01 am)
QUOTE
"Spring break" would indicate to me that this person is young.  And I think some of us are forgetting how much you can endure in your early twenties or younger. When I was twenty I could do anything for a week. Unless they are complete dumb asses they will be fine.

Well I'm not young anymore and even I could probably still endure almost anything for a week  ...  almost.

If the weather is great and they have a bit of outdoor sense, 7 days might end up being a great adventure.  If the weather turns to hell and they are only half day hike to a town, it might end up being a great story to tell their buddies when they return from spring break.  But if they are a couple days outa town, get a little lost, are poorly prepared, etc; then it might be much more serious.

There are so many things we don't know here.  I wish Wiley would return and fill in the background so we could actually give some informed advice.  Wiley registered back in August 2010 but this is the first post.  Obviously the interest has been there, but the extent of knowledge/background is totally unknown.

I do feel like people either like or dislike the outdoors.  Bad or good weather will not make or break a peron's love of outdoor activities like BPing.  That is why I always tell guys wanting to introduce their girlfriends to BPing, don't cancel because of rain.  Thunderstorms and such, yea, cancel; but just rain or showers, go.

Back in HS my friend and I spent Xmas vacation by ourselves traveling to Boulder CO and spending a week in his uncle's cabin on the mountain.  We survived and actually had a great time.  But on the other hand we were blissfully ignorant of how dangerous it was to be there in the winter, especially since half the time there was a winter storm going on.  Hell, we didn't even have snowshoes!  We traveled through avalanche zones and played around on corniced ridges, etc.  It was a two mile hike from the plowed road, postholing all the way.  We were lucky, very lucky, despite the fact both of us were fairly knarly outdoor characters back then.

Anyway, Wiley is checking things online so it is likely they won't die, but that leaves a lot of room for significant anxiety and misery.

Rumi

I agree to an extent, and if they were going to some remote island for a week I may think otherwise. Maybe its because the AT is my backyard and it just seems natural to me.
I guess bottom line is that I wouldn't recommend that they do this trip but I'm willing to bet they will be fine.
Bottom-bottom line is that homey hasn't posted since original post and has likely changed plans back to the beach anyway.  :D


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 12:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'd suggest a critical thing would be to keep the mileage short each day: not having backpacked means never having carried a backpack with 7 days worth of food and shelter all day long....

Make sure both your boots and pack fit: those are the top two items that can wreck any trip if they don't fit correctly.

Also get a book or two: The Complete Walker is a personal favorite:
http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Walker-IV-Colin-Fletcher/dp/0375703233

If nothing else it will help with your purchasing decisions and at that it's worth the price.

Overall backpacking is fun: have a good time.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 2:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you're in the South the AT could be a great experience for you all. You've gotten great advice here. However we feel about the Boy Scouts their motto says it all.

Have a blast!


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 2:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think I will bookmark this thread so I can easily recall it the next time a SAR or similar incident is in the paper and everyone here starts with the "idiot" and "stupid touron" remarks.

Wiley, my advice is to shorten this trip to 3 days, 4 days max, with easy mileage.  Do the rest of your time car camping and day hiking.  

Rumi


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 2:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

First: Hiking: Take a land navigation class/other instruction and do some dayhiking with it; don't be afraid to bail if conditions get too severe but make sure you can find your way back to your car.  Educate yourself about clothing choices.

Gear: see if your college has an outdoor rental office, though they may be all reserved out come spring break.  Lots on the internet about gear selection for your particular area but remember to get the historical averages for surrounding mountains, not nearby towns.  Set your stuff up in a yard and then try a light overnight practice run near your vehicles before committing (a coupla miles, where the car can make it out easily, ........ no blizzards, etc...).  See if you like it before the tags come off of any purchased equipment.  

Car-camping the night before (if your sleeping bag doesn't work near the car, it'll get worse if you are going up in elevation for the next night) and getting back a little early to clean your gear and get set up for school the next day is recommended.  Don't get rushed on either end of your hike.


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Everything you need to know is detailed in A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Read it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 3:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Read first. The library is your friend:

 
The Complete Walker IV
 by Colin Fletcher and Chip Rawlins

The Backpacker's Handbook by Chris Townsend

Hiking and Backpacking by Karen Berger.


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(RumiDude @ Feb. 25 2013, 2:40 pm)
QUOTE
I think I will bookmark this thread so I can easily recall it the next time a SAR or similar incident is in the paper and everyone here starts with the "idiot" and "stupid touron" remarks.

Wiley, my advice is to shorten this trip to 3 days, 4 days max, with easy mileage.  Do the rest of your time car camping and day hiking.  

Rumi

:D  I've already sent him my number and I'm gonna grab the SEC to rescue them if they encounter trouble.

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(WalksWithBlackflies @ Feb. 25 2013, 3:13 pm)
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Everything you need to know is detailed in A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Read it.

That is so great.  :D

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A bear will eat you. Don't do it...

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Bears are afraid of dogs and guns.  Bring one of each.

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(WalksWithBlackflies @ Feb. 25 2013, 3:13 pm)
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Everything you need to know is detailed in A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. Read it.

Actually, that's more like a "how not to do it" book.  Still worth reading for the fun factor.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 12:18 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think by the time Wiley finishes the required reading, it might be summer break.  hehe

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