The Appalachian Trail is a 2,175 mile footpath that stretches from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. It is Grandfather of Long Distance Trails. However while it may be one of the oldest it is not the Longest. There are longer trails such as the PCT, CDT, and NCT. The Appalachian Mountain Range is one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world. This adds the feel of mystery and creepiness to this trail. This trail has a powerful impact on those who hike it. To date I have hiked 280 miles of the AT and every time I finished a section something in me had changed. The trail humbles people. On the trail there is little sense of control. The weather rules as king. It can be sunny one minute and rainy the next. A blizzard can blow in with little warning. After a person has spent a week or more in submission to the trail I can guarantee you that they have changed. So if I had to define the AT, I would not say, “it is a long distance trail that millions hike on every year.” I would say the AT is transformation. A mental, physical, and for some a spiritual transformation. It’s natures greatest bandaid for scarless pain. My goal is to hike the entire trail. I have hiked all of Georgia, Tennessee and much of North Carolina.
Cool Facts about the AT:
– More than 250 three-sided shelters exist along the Trail. This means it is possible to hike without a tent.
– Virginia is home to the most miles of the Trail (about 550), while West Virginia is home to the least (about 4).
– Maryland and West Virginia are the easiest states to hike; New Hampshire and Maine are the hardest.
– About 2 to 3 million visitors walk a portion of the A.T. each year.
– The A.T. has hundreds of access points and is within a few hours drive of millions of Americans, making it a popular destination for day-hikers.
– “Thru-hikers” walk the entire Trail in a continuous journey. “Section-hikers” piece the entire Trail together over years. “Flip-floppers” thru-hike the entire Trail in discontinuous sections to avoid crowds, extremes in weather, or start on easier terrain.
– 1 in 4 who attempt a thru-hike successfully completes the journey. The 2013 success rate was 1 in 6.
– Most thru-hikers walk north, starting in Georgia in spring and finishing in Maine in fall, taking an average of 6 months.
– Foods high in calories and low in water weight, such as Snickers bars and Ramen Noodles, are popular with backpackers, who can burn up to 6,000 calories a day.
– Hikers usually adopt “trail names” while hiking the Trail. They are often descriptive or humorous. Examples are “Eternal Optimist,” “Thunder Chicken,” and “Crumb-snatcher”.
Below I have posted the miles I have hiked out of the 2,175 miles of the AT. I will constantly be updating as I hike more and more of it every year.
ODOMETER: 260 miles