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Girl-Meet-World

Which thru-hike?

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Panda invading another forum, but I'm going to have my gap year in 17/18, and I don't know what I want to do. I have 6-9 months to travel, and I've got it pinned down to a couple of ideas. 

 

1) Backpacking tour of Europe

This is going to be the easiest idea, as I live in England, and will also be quite cheap if I stick to the Western side. 

2) PCT

I've wanted to hike the PCT for the last two years, and now, I might finally have the time. While the end date might be a bit iffy (uni starts in October), that would still be me going for a thru-hike

3) AT

This is an alternate, in case I decide that the PCT is going to be too hard for me. I will be 19/20 when I do this, and I don't have any mountineering experience (West Midlands is rather flat). The AT has a bigger community, so I might find it mentally easier (though not physically, and I prefer the views of the PCT).

4) LEJOG

This is a walk from the Southern End of England to the North of Scotland. This won't have any plan costs involved, and its a lot easier to get home in case of any accidents.

5) Camino de Santiago

This is the shortest thru-hike, of a month and a bit, but it does mean that I have plenty of time before uni, and I could perhaps go on to combine the backpacking part of Europe. 

 

So please, discuss. Let me know which ones would be the best, or worst?

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It's really difficult to say which would be the best/worst - it depends entirely on your own preferences, fitness, and landscape sensibilities! The PCT is definitely the biggest challenge of those, I'd suggest....whilst I wouldn't want to dissuade anyone from taking on a massive challenge, if you don't have much experience I'd recommend starting with something else.

 

Numbers 2, 3 and 5 are all on my list.....and I set out to do LEJOG in the summer of 2014. I managed Land's End to Jedburgh (i.e. all of England) before I ran out of money....but I'd certainly recommend it. It's an amazing way of getting to know the country, and looking at the weather map afterwards and knowing that you've walked all that way under your own steam is pretty awesome...

 

Matt

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Thanks for the response!

 

While the PCT may be the hardest (though backpacking Europe solo may take the trophy) physically, and very hard mentally, the community and the landscape are what I'm after most. There are too simply many people on the AT, though there is a bigger community - which would help. The LEJOG sounds good, but I just find England quite boring after so many years of visiting all the small charming villages. The Camino de Santiago del Norte is probably the one I'm looking into the most, as it has good landscape and people, but will also be short enough for me.

 

But would you then advise doing a backpacking trip afterwards (probably a month gap or something inbetween?) Or just getting a job until uni?

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I haven't been able (or maybe willing) to make the time available for a through hike. However, here are a couple of other options you might consider. The JMT is high on my list (or the Sierra High Route alternate).

 

John Muir Trail - An awesome looking 200 mile hike which is to a large degree a sub-set of the Pacific Crest Trail

The Pacific Northwest Trail - Not as well known but in my opinion travels some of the finest country in the US: http://www.pnt.org/trail/

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Oooh yes, the JMT has been on my radar, but I figured that if I was going to be in America, I might as well do one of the longer trails. However, judging by time constraints, the JMT might actually be a really nice option. Thanks!

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If you do PCT let me know! the trail runs really near my house, and have thought about becoming a trail angel anyway! (i can bring food/water etc) 

 

If you've read Wild, where she started is like 30 mins from my house... 

 

I'd also like to second John Muir Trail, its supposed to be amaizing, and if you wanted an extra challenge you could take a side trip up Mount Whitney, which it's a lot easier to get permits to do so from the JMT side than the Whitney portals side

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 the trail runs really near my house, and have thought about becoming a trail angel anyway!

 

Thats really cool! 

 

Unfortunatly, I think 17/18 isn't going to be possible for me, because I would finish in October, which would be when university would start, and I would like to be there in early September. I think I'm going to do the Camino (need to decide on a route- but I think the Norte or Primitiva), and then backpack around Europe for a while.

 

My mother is also dead set against me doing it solo, so any advice or articles to dissuade her? (She has threatened to scare me off with news articles and films)

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I live near the AT, in Pennsylvania, which is considered one of the boring sections, but I enjoy hiking sections of it. I haven't done a thru hike, but I can attest to the fact that the AT is a very social hike. I've met folks from all over while on it.

 

You can check out this podcast: http://thetrailshow.com/

The folks on there (4 of them, plus guests) have all hiked the 3 big trails in the US, AT/PCT/CDT.

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I'm thru- hiking the AT this summer, although the PCT and CDT are both on my bucket list. I live in New England and I've already sectioned hiked most of the New Hampshire section, and I thru-hiked the Long Trail in Vermont last fall, the first 100 miles of which coincide with the AT. Both are amazing. The Long trail was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and only takes 2-4 weeks depending on your pace. Even if you don't hike the AT, i highly recommend you make time for the Long trail if you can. Plus Vermont has amazing food, and you'll never appreciate good food as much as you will on a thru-hike.

Also, i met just as many girls solo hiking as guys, and none of them seemed the least bit sketched out. It really is much safer than people think.

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