Three More Reasons to Flip Flop on the AT
Getting my trail legs on.
The good reasons for doing a flip flop hike just keep piling up.
For a variety of them, I’m starting north on April 26* at Grayson Highlands State Park.
Here are three more reasons to consider starting in the middle…
Reason #3. Starting later means better weather.
It gets cold in March. Hikers endure snow storms in the Smokies and freezing rain in Franklin. Avoiding hypothermia means being prepared with extra clothes, boots, a winter sleeping bag. Extra food.
These things are heavy.
Starting in mid to late April means I can start with a lighter pack precisely when I need it the most…when I’m just getting my trail legs.
I can leave all my winter gear for later, when I’ll be stronger and more trail hardy and ready to tackle what Mount Washington has to offer (outside of the snack bar and the cog railway).
Reason #4. Starting later means starting on slightly easier terrain.
Speaking of trail legs, Georgia and North Carolina are intense.
I live in the North Carolina mountains, and when my husband and I did this shakedown hike on the Art Loeb trail, we thought we’d died and gone to New Hampshire…without the sweeping views.
The southern Appalachians have mountain cred, y’all.
The terrain is rocky, the climbs are steep and the mountains are high enough to humble any hiker, especially a nascent thru-hiker who doesn’t yet have their legs.
Not that Virginia is easy, but the altitude maps look less like tidal waves and more like whitecaps when you get to Virginia.
I think starting in Virginia is a way to ease into a long thru-hike without getting pummeled from the start.
Reason #5. More time to ogle fungi.
As already noted, I’m a tree-hugger and a flower sniffer and a fungus marveler.
Starting a little later and a lot farther along means there’s more time to get to Katahdin before they close access on October 15.
More time to get to Katahdin means more time to enjoy the Trail and all that it offers–views, waterfalls, swimming holes, wildlife and glorious, ridiculous fungi!
And there are some that will stop you in your tracks!
Almost as good as a moose sighting. Almost.
And you, fellow thru-hiker?
Leave a comment and let us know where you’re starting and when. And if you’re a NOBO, say hi as you’re flying by on your well-oiled trail legs.
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