Toothless- What are the dates of your Virginia trip? I am planning a thru-hike of the AT starting early to mid April. I still do not have partners going north of the Smokies into Virginia and would like to join a group if possible. How can I be added to your e-mail list?
Also - any tips for those with creaky knees? I am walking more and beginning to add weight while I walk. I also plan to use trekking poles.
If you start hiking the AT in early to mid April, you will have plenty of people to hike with the entire trip. Seriously -- you can be as alone or have as much company as you choose. While the trail itself isn't crowded, the shelters and campsites have plenty of hikers in the evening. You'll hook up with other hikers very easily.
Re: Knees. Trekking poles help. A lighter pack helps more. I haven't had any serious knee pain since I dropped a lot of pack (and body) weight. Also, check with your doctor, you might want to take an anti-inflammatory starting a few days before your hike. I used to take one Naprosen with breakfast and dinner, and it did wonders. (But there are potentially bad side-effects, so please check first.)