Appalachian Trail - RV Supported

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ChinMusic

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I have a dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail once I retire.  Now that I have the idea of getting a Class A RV upon retirement I'm thinking the two may work together.

We could move the RV from park to park as I hiked north, and if the trail crosses a road, dear wife could pick me up in the toad.  She'll have to get better at map reading/GPS.......lol  I wouldn't think that we would have to move the RV but maybe once a week at the most.  Folks can drive a LOT further than they can hike.  This way I could spend many nights in my own bed and wifey can do her exploring during the day while I'm hiking.  I'm SURE that there will be multiple areas where I won't cross a road for a couple days.  But I also envision many days where I wouldn't even have to carry a full pack, as I would be getting picked up.  Being able to hike lighter mean more miles and less stress.

Given the number of RV parks, does this plan seem plausible?  If so, I could get a VERY early start (like Jan) out of Springer Mt, GA and just stay in the RV during the colder snaps/snows.

Ahhh, to dream.
 

Gary RV_Wizard

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Should be very feasible - I've seem quite a few places where the Appalachian Trail - or a tributary - crosses highways.  But north GA is mountainous and pretty cold in January - you might want to start a bit later. NC mountains even have snow that time of year.
 

ChinMusic

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RV Roamer said:
Should be very feasible - I've seem quite a few places where the Appalachian Trail - or a tributary - crosses highways.? But north GA is mountainous and pretty cold in January - you might want to start a bit later. NC mountains even have snow that time of year.

Sweet!  Yeah, it CAN be bad in GA in Jan.  I do know a guy that started in Jan, unsupported, and had no troubles.  But, he is a heck of a lot better hiker than me.

I would imagine that early in the season not many, if any, places would be open yet.  So, even IF the weather broke for me, we might not have any place to park the RV.
 

Ron from Big D

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Many of the RV Campgrounds are closed at the end of October and most for sure at the end of November.  Most won't open again until spring.  I suggest you do a lot of research on the route and check the campgrounds for dates.  Many of the dates are published in the Camground Directories.  Your run from Smoky Mountains National Park on the south to the north will take several days and there will be no campgrounds available.  Not sure how much better it will be further north.  Your alternative will be such places as Wal-Marts, but not for seveal days.  A overnight stay is acceptable.  As simple as your quest sounds, I think the logistics will be difficult at that time of year.

 

ChinMusic

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Rochester, IL
Ron from Big D said:
? As simple as your quest sounds, I think the logistics will be difficult at that time of year.

Yeah, I assumed it would be dicey in some areas.  Even if we were camped 100 miles away it's better than nothing.  As long as there is a road crossing, as there is in the Smokies (been there), she could pick me up in the toad.  In some areas I know I would just be on my own.  I have buddies that have thru-hiked the whole thing unsupported.  I'd hope I could handle a few days..... :)

Now that I think about it, the early-season start doesn't sound good.
 

colleenfl

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Hiking the mountains in January is insane. Some roads may be closed for example the Blue Ridge Parkway closes in the winter. I am sure a lot of hiking trails will be closed as well. You could be setting yourself up for some danger in areas. Even if you get dropped off at a trail they may be closed when and where you need to be picked up. Your a braver person then I am.

ColleenFL
 

ragove

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ChinMusic, if you haven't already, I recommend that you read "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson.  It is a wonderful account of his attempt to do the AT.
 

ChinMusic

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There is NO DOUBT that backpacking/hiking in January is problematic.  That is why most northbounders on the AT start in March and southbounders, from Katahdin, start in June.  Once they start, they are committed to the trail.  If you can pick and choose the weather it's a different story.  I don't know of anyone that had an RV shadowing them.

We backpack, for weekend trips, right through the winter in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, but ONLY if the weather isn't nuts.  I'll sign up for a trip but if the weather looks bad, I'll bail, as many others do as well.  Like I said, I only know one guy that did GA in January straight through, but I cannot compare myself to him.  I would need favorable weather and the ability to pull off the trail once the weather forecast changed.  Jan may be a bad idea, but I don't think I'd need to wait til March.  Finding a place to park the RV sounds real bad before the opening of the season.
 

ChinMusic

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The wife and I spent some time in northern Georgia a couple weeks ago.  Lovely area.  I got to day-hike a few segments of the AT while staying in hotels with the wife doing some exploration and shopping while I was hiking, and then picking me up later.  Then off to the buffet...... ;D

The roads are not as easy to figure out from a map as I had hoped.  Those "minor" roads were the hard part.  I suspect if we had GPS in the car it would have gone easier.  I was surprised to find that I had cell coverage much of the day so we could stay in communication.

All in all, the brief experience has me pumped for the day we retire and hit the road.
 

Wendy

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You said you're planning on doing this when you retire so why try to do the whole trail at the same time? Do different parts different years. Do sections in season then go somewhere else if you're full-timing or go home if you're not full-timing. Then the next good season, go do a different section. There are people who have done the entire Pacific Crest Trail who took years to do it, bits at a time.
 

ChinMusic

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wendycoke said:
You said you're planning on doing this when you retire so why try to do the whole trail at the same time? Do different parts different years. Do sections in season then go somewhere else if you're full-timing or go home if you're not full-timing. Then the next good season, go do a different section. There are people who have done the entire Pacific Crest Trail who took years to do it, bits at a time.
That's a good suggestion and one I might embrace.  There is something about doing the hike in one calendar year that appeals to me, not sure why.  I'd like to just backpack the AT, but it is unknown to me whether I could physically handle that.  I will be a bit older when I give it a try.  I know that if I start out day-hiking it I can handle that, and then possibly go solo later on for longer segments as I get stronger.

My wife was very supportive in our brief experiment in GA.  She enjoyed looking around during the day, shopping, or just resting if she pleased.  I think she might even enjoy the role of "trail angel", where she could help others who happen to be hiking the same speed as me.
 

ChinMusic

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ChinMusic said:
There is something about doing the hike in one calendar year that appeals to me, not sure why.  I'd like to just backpack the AT, but it is unknown to me whether I could physically handle that.  I will be a bit older when I give it a try.  I know that if I start out day-hiking it I can handle that, and then possibly go solo later on for longer segments as I get stronger.

My wife was very supportive in our brief experiment in GA.  She enjoyed looking around during the day, shopping, or just resting if she pleased.  I think she might even enjoy the role of "trail angel", where she could help others who happen to be hiking the same speed as me.

I know this is an ancient thread.  I just remembered it.  I am happy to report that I successfully thru-hiked the 2185.9-mile Appalachian Trail in 2013.  She supported me for several hundred miles by dropping me off and picking me up at various road crossings.  My wife and I have yet to get an RV but are still thinking along those lines in the future.
 

ChinMusic

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Wi1dBill said:
Way to go.... Congrats.. what else is on the bucket list?
Doing RAGBRAI next July and then the JMT in August/September.  Might do the PCT in 2015.

Funny you would be the first one to post.  My buddy WildBill thru-hiked the AT several years ago.
 

Mr Bojangles

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ChinMusic:

I have played the role of a "Trail-Angel" many times. I live in Hamburg, Pa. and in warm weather, set up a table and equipment to prepare breakfast for the "AT Hikers" who stay at the Pavilion on Penn St. provided by St. John's Catholic Church.

The Hikers have water, shelter, and/or a place to set up a tent and stay to rest and go shopping at Cabela's and other stores in area.

There has been a "note" book available for "Hikers" to leave messages for other hikers /friends and I always read these comments. Each Hiker normally establishes a
"Hiking name" and or symbol to enter into the book, with a comment about experiences along Trail.

From this activity I have learned that many hike the Trail in sections over years. Many are locals hiking small sections week-ends. 

I have selfish reasons to cook breakfast for the hikers.... I enjoy eating, and mostly enjoy having a "captured" audience to relate one of the greatest experiences my Wife and I ever enjoyed.
Walking (hiking) down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon along the Kaibab Trail, staying 6 days, one night in Ranch house, and five in a tent, then walking up the "Bright Angle" Trail.
We were in mid fifty's and had never "camped" or spent time in tents before or since. Had to practice hiking with backpacks for months (3 hours at a time) in local hills.

What you want to do is Doable using GPS devices, Cell Phones, AT maps you will be fine. When/If you are in this area, shout out (RVFORUM) and I will cook Breakfast while we share experiences.

 

gc1966

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ChinMusic said:
I know this is an ancient thread.  I just remembered it.  I am happy to report that I successfully thru-hiked the 2185.9-mile Appalachian Trail in 2013.  She supported me for several hundred miles by dropping me off and picking me up at various road crossings.  My wife and I have yet to get an RV but are still thinking along those lines in the future.

Congrats to you
 

ChinMusic

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Mr Bojangles said:
ChinMusic:

I have played the role of a "Trail-Angel" many times. I live in Hamburg, Pa. and in warm weather, set up a table and equipment to prepare breakfast for the "AT Hikers" who stay at the Pavilion on Penn St. provided by St. John's Catholic Church.

The Hikers have water, shelter, and/or a place to set up a tent and stay to rest and go shopping at Cabela's and other stores in area.
That would have been Port Clinton, PA.  I got there on 6/14/13 and camped near the pavilion.  There was a big hiker feed the next day that my hiking partners talked me into (wasn't too hard) staying for.  We did only a 5-mile slackpack on 6/15 and then it was back to the big miles.
 

Mr Bojangles

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Yes..., Port Clinton, Pa.
I thought I had those words in message. But you know what thought did... he only thought he did.
 
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