My flip-flop hike was originally intended to start NOBO at Rockfish Gap in mid to late April. But things change and now I am having a late start (late-May/Early-June).
After some consideration, I believe that starting NOBO in New York (the train stop near Pawling) will be the best alternative.That should still have me summitting Katahdin in late-July/early-August), and flipping back to NY to finish at Springer in November.
- ahead of the NOBO bubble
- easier beginning than traditional SOBO, allowing me to get my trail legs
- warmer start in NY than SOBO from ME in June
- not fighting for thru-hiker spots in White Mountains huts in July
- most of the NOBO bubble should have passed NY (or be spread out enough not to worry) by the time I flip in August
- should join up with the SOBOs heading south
- reach VA in late August after the hottest months
- will only be seeing the faster NOBOs and unlikely to create any lasting tramily
- the NY start is more difficult, and with longer distances between camping sites and lean-tos than further south
- Smoky Mountains roads start closing in late-Oct
- hiking more uphill than downhill (as my flip-flop start is close to the lowest point on trail)
Hiking “with” other people is not my idea of fun, although I will probably appreciate familiar faces in the evenings as time wears on. This is one reason why I want to start further north, as the bubble should have reached Shenandoah by end May, and I really don’t want to fight for space.
By the time I am SOBO, I should be fast enough to keep up with some of the SOBOs and establish some connections then.
I really don’t see many down sides to this.
Feedback welcome from people who know the AT.