Well, there is always something you don’t expect about once a week or more on the trail, it seems that is always the case. Last night we stopped into the town of Glasgow, VA for a resupply, and stayed at the free hiker pavilion. Super nice town, really kind people. We didn’t plan to be here still today, but then as we were getting ready to hitch out of town, we heard the ONLY road out of town back to the trail had BOTH lanes blocked from an accident. We also heard the driver died, and we feel so badly about this, and have the family in our thoughts and prayers.
We have been checking traffic reports and still can’t leave town, without being stuck in traffic in a stranger’s car. We explored some other options skipping up the trail via the next town, but that involves an 18+ mile hitch and we just don’t want to do that, since we hate hitching as it is! The thing about hitching as a lady is this: people are more likely to pick you up, but you are always nervous it’s gonna be a creep. Guys on the trail are like “you’re so lucky to be a girl trying to hitch, so easy to get picked up” and we are just all MALE PRIVILEGE GET OUTTA MY FACE 😂
I could write a whole post on male privilege and the AT. I could write an entire BOOK about machismo and male privilege on the AT, and maybe I will when I am done, but I feel like such things warrant being waited on, until the whole trail is completed and some post trail reflection in the real world has been done. Stay tuned. Anyway, this post is ACTUALLY about some exciting new developments in our Thru Hike
From the begining we have discussed what is called a “flip flop” hike, where you hike half the trail north, and the other half southbound, in any order or way. Some people start from middle and flip back, others start from Springer in GA, others from Katahdin in ME. Read more about what a flip flop hike is here. Read about types of hikes, including flip flops!
We have been on the trail since March 22. We have taken two weeks off, probably about 8 “zero” mile days on top of that, and have immensely enjoyed the people, the scenery and the experience going northbound. However, we now know our pace, and what our bodies are capable of (or not, sometimes) with a heavy pack over incredibly challenging terrain. Looking at the miles left, we will be rushed to make it to Maine before the weather is cold, possibly even before Baxter State Park closes Oct 15. We have decided to do a classic flip flop hike, and here are some reasons why!
Timeline. Like we said, we can enjoy the miles and not feel rushed by a deadline hiking north. Plus, we aren’t saving the hardest miles for last. We have easier miles toward the end, when we will be the strongest, and we can crunch them to more easily get done on a timeline we prefer, and not one set by weather and state park closures.
Weather. We can enjoy the beautiful northeast in summer, and not be super cold in late fall. We can enjoy the Adirondacks and Pennsylvania as we finish up our hike in the fall!
People. We are behind the “bubble” of NOBO thru hikers and honestly here at the tail end there are some characters. Lots of people not really hiking so much as drifting, and it’s not the comfortable community and safe feeling we had when we started with the bubble. We have definitely met some cool people, but flipping to the north will allow us to start a new hike with the SOUTHBOUND thru-hiker bubble, of actual hikers! ALSO, bonus, we are guaranteed to see all our northbound friends going the other way! What fun!
Family involvement: My (Moonbow’s) parents are visiting in mid-July and will be taking us up to Katahdin, ME! This means my dad can actually summit Katahdin with us, something I have been wanting the whole time!! My parents love the trail and are the reason I am even out here, and it’s cool they got to see Springer Mountain and will also get to see Katahdin! It means a lot to have my parents involved in the hike in this way. Plus, we will finish in a place much closer to OH for easier pick-up off the trail.
HIKING OUR OWN HIKE! Rather than worry about miles and timelines, this allows us to just enjoy our adventure, which is the whole reason we are even out here! The AT is not a race, and it’s supposed to be exactly the adventure YOU want, not what someone else says it’s supposed to be, or says is the “right” way to do it. We feel like this option will give us so much more flexibility and take the pressure off crunching miles so we can actually continue to enjoy the beautiful trail we get to hike everyday!!
We are really stoked about this change, and feel super good about it. We have spent a lot of time thinking about it, talked at length with both of our incredibly supportive families about it, and are glad we have come back to this idea of the flip flop, with more knowledge of our hiking style, needs, etc, and can make an informed decision that it’s our best option! Katahdin awaits, see you in July!