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Thread: ATC requesting AT thru hikers postpone their thruhike

  1. #1
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    ATC requesting AT thru hikers postpone their thruhike

    https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail...es/?ref=slider

    The first 8 weeks of a Northbound thru hike tends to be overcrowded. Weather conditions can be rotten and its not unusual for folks to head off trail and gang up in crowded conditions in town until the weather breaks. Shelters and shelter sites tend to be jam packed. I have encountered sites at the tail end of the bubble with 50 to 100 people camped around a single shelter that is packed from wall to wall. For several years Noro virus has popped up along the trail and at trail services which is a good sign that not everyone is practicing social distancing. The northbound "bubble" is also driven by Trail Days in Damascus VA, most folks try to time their initial start to end up near Damascus VA for the event or they just hitch a ride back for the event. Trail Days is pretty well the definition of a crowded event to avoid for virus transmission. Medical care is not readily available nearby, a lot of the areas adjacent to the AT are poor rural counties where the health care industry has fled.

    My guess is Baxter is going to see a big uptick in June for Southbound hikes, hopefully between now and then the country will be in a better place. The first day on Katahdin and the western section of the 100 mile wilderness tends to beat up unprepared hikers more quickly than the GA mountains, there is no town to escape to dry out until Monson but usually the weather is far warmer than the Southern AT ridge line in March and April. Most of the time the folks that get off trail in Maine just get to the nearest bus station and head home.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jniehof's Avatar
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    Oh, wow, I hadn't realized Damascus hadn't canceled Trail Days. Silver canceled several days ago, but theirs takes place a few weeks earlier.

  3. #3
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    Trail Days had posted previously that since Trail Days is in mid May that they were not canceling yet as the date was 9 weeks out. Its a major event for that area probably they biggest weekend event the area hosts and would be a major economic impact. In my opinion a thru hiker is not going to cancel a thru hike just because trail days is canceled, its just going to remove the temptation to crowd up in one place. There is also a subset of thruhikers that realize quite quickly that they are not cut out for thruhike but many set a goal of making it to trail days for the party and heading home afterwards. They would probably drop off earlier further reducing crowding.

    There are far more people than thruhikers that visit the festival, the thruhikers are just the attraction. My observations over the years was that the locals that were not making money directly off of hikers regarded thru hikers as curiosity or an opportunity for ministry. Most of the big hiker hiker feeds tend to be run by church groups.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    You'd think that a 2000+ mile walk would be the ultimate social distance activity....
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

  5. #5
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike P. View Post
    You'd think that a 2000+ mile walk would be the ultimate social distance activity....
    They're trying to get people to avoid travel, which introduces new vectors for disease transmission. And remote rescues put a strain on already taxed healthcare systems. It's still best to stay local for your outside adventures.
    You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself, any direction you choose. -- Dr. Seuss

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Metsky View Post
    They're trying to get people to avoid travel, which introduces new vectors for disease transmission. And remote rescues put a strain on already taxed healthcare systems. It's still best to stay local for your outside adventures.
    I knew that and I knew they get crowds starting at the same time and at Trails days. I was trying to be ironic.
    Have fun & be safe
    Mike P.

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