***The following is an updated description that describes much more precisely what we're going to be doing. Please familiarize yourself with the details, order the relevant materials, and confirm your schedule! Believe it or not, we're only about two weeks away from this epic!***
First of all, if you haven't yet, please order the book and maps! Pine Creek Outfitters has them. On a trail of this length, I need to make sure that everyone has a map, understands the route, and can find his or her own way.
I want us to leave as soon as we can possibly manage on Thursday, 5/23. Ideally, we'll meet up at Grosvenor at noon, and roll north, following this route to the northern portal. If we leave at noon, we have 5-6 hours of driving ahead of us, so we'd be hiking by 6:30pm. That would be good.
So far, I have heard from Dan, MikeVW, Brian, and Jen that this plan is okay. Shelby, Alison, and MikeK ... How does it look for you? I'm willing to leave a little later if it will enable you guys to participate.
We'll walk the trail CW, which is the classic route as described by Chuck Dillon. Thursday evening, an easy 7 miles gets us to a nice broad campsite. Friday, 5/24, we'll continue walking south and get in 20-ish miles, covering most of the eastern side of the trail. We'll pass Ole Bull State Park in the late afternoon, and start looking for camping spots (last year's was kinda iffy). Saturday, 5/25, we'll cover the SE quadrant of the trail (the most rugged) and pull into Cross Fork, PA for happy hour. Hopefully, we won't drink too much, as we do have a climb coming out of the bar. Sunday, 5/26, we'll walk north on the western side of the loop, hopefully positioning us for a quick finish Monday morning.
Last year, my notes show that I walked it with splits like[masked], with total elapsed time of about 88 hours (three full days of walking plus about five and half hours on the driving days). I'm going to keep us close to this, though I may have us walk a little longer on Saturday and Sunday, so that we can have better camping spots. That will make Monday quite short.
The STS is not wicked difficult or anything, but I would not underestimate the difficulty of walking this distance. You'll need your A-game, for sure. Expect for the weather, generally, to be warm and wet, and kinda jungle-like. If you need to bow out, I expect you to be prepared to do so in a way that facilitates the rest of the group completing the trail. This may mean you have to camp on your own for a day or two.
At present, the weather for this looks fine.
Questions? Comments? Concerns?