Everyone knows that the ONLY way to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail is to start in Georgia and go north, right?
Here are five good reasons to consider thru-hiking southbound from Maine to Georgia of the typical northbound hike.
- Weather: Starting in Maine around June 15 – July 15 gives you plenty of cool nights at the height of summer. You’ll have cold weather down south if you finish at Christmas or later, but nothing you can’t handle. You’ll also be Walking with Fall, and have about 2-3 months of leaf changes as you work your way down.
- Solitude: no hordes of hikers hogging the campsites and shelters. If you want more solitude, a SOBO is the only way to go.
- Knock out the hard part first: “Getting to Maine means you’ve done 90% of the miles and 10% of the work” as the old saying goes. Come prepared to hike from day one though, because the hike up Kathadin is the largest single day of vertical gain of the entire trip.
- No end dates to worry about: while it’s technically true that you can climb Kathadin after October 15, realistically your chances of doing so dwindle with each passing day. Springer Mountain never closes.
- It’s all Downhill: Maine is higher than Georgia, so it’s all downhill. That’s what I told myself at least.
What do you think? Agree or disagree?