First time overnight solo

12:52 a.m. on April 30, 2016 (EDT)
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Hello, my name is Cody and i'm planning my first over night in the catskills on the AT. I am looking to go out for 2-3 nights and wanted to end or begin at bear mountain as i'm familiar with that area. Can anyone recommend a good destination from there or a good starting to point to head to Bear? I also would like to know if I need permits to camp overnight off the trail. My unlce who lives in Oregon said I should head a bit into the bush to set up camp. How many miles is reasonable for a 3 day hike? 30 miles? 50? I'm very athletic so I believe I could push myself, looking to just gain a bit of info from a good forum I head out. Thanks!

11:54 a.m. on April 30, 2016 (EDT)
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The AT varies a lot in the difficulty of the trail.  It tends to have a lot of changes in elevation since it is an old, highly eroded group of sedimentary mountain ranges.  It can be really rocky.  Even for a young, fit person 30 miles would be plenty starting out.  If you do not get enough walking, you can add some day excursions.  Great idea to get off the trail and find some alone time.

The trail has a lot of access so it should not be that hard to put together a 30 mile trip. Permit requirement are localized and change often.  Call the USFS or New York State Parks for their requirements.

3:01 p.m. on April 30, 2016 (EDT)
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You'll probably have more fun if you err on the side of taking it too easy rather than doing something too hard for a first excursion, but that's your call. Terrain matters much more than miles, at least to me. I can do 30 miles in a day if its flat, but 10 can be enough to about kill me if its jagged peaks on the profile.

Camping regulations vary widely so check local rules, but definitely try to get a few hundred feet off trail if you can, out of sight is nice if you can swing it. Just make a note of which way you came in so you can get back to the trail in the morning. Not sure how the Catskills are but the Whites are really dry (except the swampy parts heh) so be careful with fire and flame out there.

4:02 p.m. on April 30, 2016 (EDT)
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Thank you for getting back to me! It's refreshing to find a good forum, I will stick to the thirty miles and hopefully find myself a good starting point. I am looking into the groups you mentioned to contact as we speak!

Much appreciated!

Cody H

11:37 p.m. on April 30, 2016 (EDT)
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And be sure to write a trip report (with photos)

1:10 p.m. on May 2, 2016 (EDT)
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30 miles over three days is not bad if you recover well. Given your youth I don't think you have to worry about muscles and joints too much (but some light trekking poles will make you super human). My biggest concern is your sleep...I'm not sure if this is your first overnight on the trail or first solo overnight...but trouble sleeping can short-circuit plans of you might want to spend a night in your kit before your trip just so you can address any serious issues before you get to the trail (it also never hurts to do this anytime you haven't used a piece of gear in a while...because we change too)

Energy is another concern that can impact the young and healthy...I would suggest bringing a lot of calorie dense "snacks" in addition to your planned meals (hopefully dried) in the mornings and evenings. If weather is kind I like to bring cheese and chocolate...but otherwise I bring things like nuts, dried meats/fruit, candy, as well as bagels (your choice of bread) with peanut butter/preserves/honey/oil-based dressing. The sky is really the limit...and lots of things that make great snacks (nuts/meats/bread) can be added to dried meals for more variety and substance.

Blisters are something else that can hobble the young and healthy. Shoes that distribute pressure evenly would be ideal...but they don't buy whatever shoes have the fewest high pressure points while walking and provide the protection you require. As far as what to do when you get a blister...I use leukotape and some triple antibiotic...but I am sure I am doing it all wrong and there are much better ways to deal with them...but it works great for me so I'm sticking with it for now.

9:00 a.m. on May 3, 2016 (EDT)
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On the section of the AT near Bear Mountain, you'll probably want to stick to camping in designated areas. It's pretty populated around there, and you don't want to end up camping in someone's back yard by mistake! You will not need a permit to camping in designated camping sites on the AT in general (though there are some exceptions in NH and TN).

March 31, 2020
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