Willing Trail Angels are often listed in some guidebooks as well as in certain outfitters along the trail. With time every hiker will begin to identify their hiking preferences and find their preferred method for handling their water needs. ARTICLE: SoBo Vs. NoBo Thru Hikers: The Tiny Differences and The Immense Similarities  waterproof) down are well suited for the AT’s damp environment. It should go without saying that every backpacker is going to need a backpack. Avery’s more pragmatic idea for the trail as a means for making the mountains more accessible to the masses did not align with the MacKaye’s more romantic vision. The distances between white blazes vary, but are generally not too far apart. Each year, thousands attempt to hike the entire trail. Similar regulations apply in places like New York, New Jersey, and the White Mountains in New England. Shelters vary in size with some holding as few as 5 hikers and others as many as 20. ARTICLE: 10 Reasons You’ll Love a Flip-Flop Thru-Hike  Brings new meaning to “fanny” packs. The rest is up to you. Listen to your body and don’t let other hikers’ paces dictate yours. The A.T. cuts into the heart of Appalachia, passing through 14 states, eight national forests, six national parks, and numerous state/local recreational areas. ARTICLE: Kennebec River Ferry Service 700 loft is good, 800 is great, 900 or more is excellent. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), which oversees the 2,193-mile route, implored day hikers and “thru-hikers” to temporarily hang up their hiking boots. This is done out of fun ! and…loved the article !!!! Common applications are DriDown and DownTek. ARTICLE: Thru-Hiking for Frugal Bastards ARTICLE: The Best Towns to Send Mail Drops on the Appalachian Trail. There are many different strategies and different outlooks on the subject. For thru-hikers to earn a place at one of these huts requires either a reservation with a substantial fee or a work-for-stay agreement with the hut’s crew. If you feel thirsty it means you are already dehydrated. For many newbie backpackers this makes for quite the tall order and as a result southbound ventures are only recommended for experienced backpackers. is permitted. A high loft, down sleeping bag will go a long ways to opening up space in your pack, as will carrying the clothes that you need and nothing more. Not to mention some of these campsites and shelters can be upwards to a mile detour off trail in some instances. Length: 78.5 miles (0 to 78.5)Highest Point: 4,458 ft (Blood Mountain)Overview and Why it is Awesome: Springer Mountain has become an iconic landmark for the Appalachian Trail. ARTICLE: Flip-flop, Leapfrog, NoBo… the AT choices. ARTICLE: A Thorough List of Outfitters on the Appalachian Trail. There are hikers every year who travel the trail who never treat their water and never get sick. Black bears are opportunistic eaters, meaning they will likely go for whatever is easiest for them to get their paws on, including human food. Appalachian Trail Costs & Permits. ARTICLE: The Thru-Hiker’s Suggested Gear List I imagine it's rather rare, but anyone have any stories? Hunting on the trail is unreliable and impractical. However, much of the physical work involved in keeping the trail alive is done by an army of willing volunteers. The Appalachian Trail is a continuous footpath stretching over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine. There are a few hostels that ask for donations rather than charge hikers a set fee for their services. However, every town along the trail does not house an outfitter. This is Billy Goat. The AMC operates 8 huts along the A.T. through the White Mountains. Running out of funds is a common reason many thru-hikers have to end their hikes early, so adequate forethought and planning is important to ensure you stay financially afloat during your adventure. On the other hand, people who have established careers, houses, and/or families will most likely find it hardest to get the time for a thru-hike. Make it your own. I was the heavy weight, SOBO, 78-79, 50-60# base weight across the Hundred Mile – total crap weight out of Baxter: 86# including snowshoes – in August! The intention is that the hiker will then pick up the mailed supplies when they pass by the location the package was mailed to. You try desperately to sprint past him at the end of the 5K only to be shut down by a reserve of power he’s been rationing since the Depression. This tends to manifest as a feeling of extreme fatigue, headaches, and dizziness on top of other potential symptoms. Any outfitter selling packs should have staff capable of properly fiting customers. As a result thru-hikers have come to rely on the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) hut system as an additional lodging option through the Whites. By October 15th BSP closes to overnight camping and only allows visitors day use of the park. You blinked and missed it, but a blur of gym shorts and energy bars just shot by you. ARTICLE: Report: Tick-Transmitted Powassan Virus “Worse Than Lyme Disease” It is marked by iconic white blazes (one about every 70 feet). However, venomous snakes can also be encountered on the A.T., the most common being copperheads and timber rattlesnakes. More than 2 million people are said to take a hike on pa… Can expect to hike in winter conditions during the first month of their hike. The Appalachian Trail is a 2,180+ mile long public footpath that traverses the scenic, wooded, pastoral, wild, and culturally resonant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. The trail is about 2,200 miles (3,500 km) long, though the exact length changes over time as parts are rerouted or modified. It’s important to remember that while we thru-hikers like to joke about being filthy vagabonds and sometimes act like we’re practically homeless, the reality is usually the opposite. This hiker has hiked end to end multiple times as well as various other trails. When he was leaving he leant over to me and said that on the WTF Gear Review site (not it’s real name) my shoes, NB 910s, were rated the worst shoes for walking in. Many hikers will flood you with stories of the deep and meaningful connections they made with other hikers. If this is your first trail then you may need a lot of gear. Whether you’re a paragon of health or your fitness leaves something to be desired, when first setting out on the trail it’s wise to take things slow. Over 4 – 6 months it is impossible to predict all of the unexpected surprises that could cause you to have to alter your schedule. Many blue blazes will be marked with signs at their intersection with the A.T. noting their destination. They’ll probably have to slow down to 20 miles a day in the Whites. No matter what you initial misgivings are, though, this person will inevitably make your hike better through their eccentricities, their exuberance, and the invention of cheerful songs like ‘singing in the hail’. There is nothing keeping people from bringing guns on the A.T., but the idea just doesn’t make sense for the average hiker. The hardest part about picking the right boots is that you probably won’t know for sure whether or not the shoes will work for you until you’ve actually bought them bought them and taken them on a few hikes. If a specific area has imposed regulations on dispersed camping they are likely a safety effort, a conservation effort, or both. However, some paid permits and other fees are required for hikers to “camp” along certain sections of the trail. There are two prominent guidebooks utilized by most A.T. hikers: The A.T. Guide by David “AWOL” Miller and the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers’ Companion by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association (ALDHA). Hiker Parade at Trail Days 2013 in Damascus, VA. Just remember the piece of advice scrawled a hostel wall in Laos: Sex in a dorm is really bad form. ARTICLE: From Thru-Hiker to Volunteer: How to Give Back Intensive physical activity in warmer temperatures can increase the rate of dehydration—think about how much you’re sweating! Your backpack is, of course, the tool that allows you to carry all of your belongings with you as you trudge over mountains. The one proviso to this philosophy is that any method of hiking should not impose or negatively impact (insofar as possible) another hiker’s experience, and by extension other members of the A.T. community as well. Did I forget any trail characters? Known as the “Big Four,” these pieces of gear are often considered the most important (and often most expensive) in every hiker’s arsenal. The high levels of trail magic in the south share similar conservation concerns as the high level of hikers themselves. So be sure to take advantage of outfitters when you have the chance. Some may be equipped with an adjoining picnic table, established fire pits, bear-bagging systems, and privies. The A.T. is considered to be among the longest continuously marked trails in the world. Could you sacrifice any of these luxuries even on an occasional basis? Notable Locations: Stratton Mountain | Mount Killington | Hanover, NH | White Mountains National Forest | Mount Moosilauke | Mount Washington | Mahoosuc Notch | Kennebec River | Monson, ME | 100 Mile Wilderness | Baxter State Park | Mount Katahdin. In an effort to help the park better manage the increasing numbers of A.T. hikers starting in 2016 BSP is requiring all northbound thru-hikers, section hikers and flip-flop A.T. hikers entering the park to secure an A.T. Long Distance Hiker Permit Card. Miss peak mosquito season in the Mid-Atlantics and black fly season in Maine. On the other hand, there are the heavy-weight champions. However, this comes with a few considerations worth noting. A northbound hike, often referred simply as “NOBO” by hikers, is easily the most popular choice for most A.T. thru-hikers. You’ll see him again. Most thru-hikers are expected to spend anywhere between 4 to 7 months out on their adventure. Photo credit Staffan Evardsson. ... Full Hookup Electric 50 AMP Electric 30/20/15 Amp ... Just a little south on 75 there is a road on the left that goes to the High Shoals trail head. Not to mention some of these campsites and shelters can be upwards to a mile detour off trail in some instances. There was a 40 caliber pistol and 22 rifle barrel facing it before we saw Mr happy golden retriever… having trigger discipline, neither of us fired, and had our weapons down, feeding the dog ramen and crackers for 20 minutes before his overweight owner showed up, Naked Man! Still, you learn to tolerate the unholy noise with earplugs and your head stuffed deeply into your sleeping bag – at least he keeps the bears away. Living out in the woods for six months means that there is a near guarantee every hiker will at some point cross paths with a snake. You might pass him during the day but don’t let your guard down. Lower and more gradual elevation changes make some sections of the trail through this region the easiest to travel. This is where it all begins (or ends). Lastly, the A.T. community is made up of kind and friendly individuals. They are generally 3-sided wooden structures with an overhanging roof and a slightly elevated wooden floor. If they don’t allow alcohol don’t try to sneak it in behind their backs. Maps are generally more expensive, lighter, and gift a view of the trail that guidebooks cannot. A few key points on your sleep system are below. For thru-hikers the easiest way to obtain a permit is at one of the self-registration points at the northern and southern boundaries of the park along the A.T. The Appalachian Trail Conservancydescribes the Appalachian Trail as the longest hiking-only trail in the world. In some ways it is a “best of both worlds” approach to hiking the A.T. However the stories of dangerous encounters while hitchhiking are extremely rare. He has been overheard asking ‘what would Bear Grylls do?’. You don’t need him doing upside-down crunches from the shelter rafters. What the Science Says. Most people start with 5 to 10 miles per day. A double white blaze signifying a left turn on the trail. Registration holds the potential to help mitigate one of the most serious challenges facing the A.T. without the need for additional regulations. In many cases the actual laws for hitchhiking are vague and open to interpretation. ARTICLE: ATC Spreadsheet on Camping Regulations. Baxter State Park (BSP) Anything is better than nothing. In 1925 MacKaye eventually found enough like-minded individuals to organize the Appalachian Trail Conference (eventually becoming the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, ATC) and begin developing a plan of action for the heart of his proposal: a walking trail from New England to Georgia. It is highly recommended that all hikers please use the ferry service to cross the Kennebec River to ensure their own safety. However, the region is not without its own challenges. Here there be mountains. All hikers are required to stay at designated shelters and campsites only. Allow it to move of its own accord or navigate around it at a safe distance. Naturally you don’t have to become an encyclopedia of all things A.T., but do enough research to become familiar with the place you’re going to be calling home for the better part of a year. It is also illegal in most areas near the trail. When you find yourself in their presence you’ll find yourself a little star struck and you become a sponge trying to take in all the useful info they share. Although hiking ~2,200 miles across North America’s oldest mountain range is a physical feat on par with few others, the old adage is true: thru-hiking is primarily a mental challenge. Both maps and guidebooks are invaluable resources for any thru-hiker, each with their own pros and cons. When preparing to work out the logistics of your trip you’re going to have to be prepared to study. In that time we’ve met the following trail personalities you might consider adding to your list. ARTICLE: Three Actual Threats on the Appalachian Trail (and how you can protect yourself). Plain and simple! And you know that before you’ve even considered crawling out of your smelly bag in the morning he will have already shaved with cold water in his WWII helmet, taken a spoon of cod liver oil, and hit the trail. ARTICLE: Trail Angels and Trail Magic on the Appalachian Trail AWOL on the Appalachian Trail 3. As many snakes effectively blend into their surroundings, it is safe practice to closely examine an area before sitting down for a break or setting up camp. Snakes rarely go out of their way to be aggressive. With the immense popularity of northbound thru-hikes over-crowding has been an unfortunate consequence. Also spent more on his perfect gear than what I did on my last car. It is an unfortunate fact that people have been the victim of violent crimes on the A.T., but such incidents are extremely rare. Because of there is no guarantee at a spot in an AMC hut, hikers should  ensure they have a backup plan in case they miss the window to snag a work-for-stay. Many big box outfitters are going to try and talk you into a larger pack than you need. However, in his proposal MacKaye envisioned much more than a simple hiking trail. Currently thru-hiker registration is ultimately a voluntary venture, but given the benefits it can have for the trail coupled with the fact that it is completely free means there isn’t really a good reason not to. The best thing you can do is research. Shelters’ convenient locations along the trail coupled with their many backwoods “luxuries” make them popular stops for A.T. hikers. Because post office’s will only hold packages for a limited amount of time hikers often must coordinate with family or friends back home to ship the boxes for them within the desired timeframe. Each individual thru-hiker requires a permit and each permit costs $20 a piece. He is unstoppable, so you’ll just have to accept your fate and make friends with him – because he’s totally going to outlive you. According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, more than 3,000 thru-hikers each year attempt to complete the AT – and roughly a quarter succeed, most in five to seven months. All of these are excellent questions that need answering, so follow the links below for more information on sleep systems. There are a lot of ways to tackle this 2,200 mile monster so here are some things for hiker’s to consider when weighing the options. ARTICLE: 5 Benefits of Training Before the Trail ARTICLE: Backpacking Tents: How to Choose There have been instances of women being attacked on the trail, but they are extremely rare. To qualify for this permit hikers must start and end their hike 50 miles outside of the park’s borders and must only travel along the A.T. while inside the park. If you’re working with an aggressive strict deadline, this can change things, however you’d be more likely to follow a loose itinerary as opposed to a day-by-day mileage prediction. In 2003, David Miller left his job, family, and friends to fulfill a dream and hike the Appalachian Trail. It spans ages and breaks class boundaries. The phrase “hike your own hike”, often abbreviated “HYOH,” represents a pervading ideal in thru-hiking culture. found within the Whites hikers can utilize. I am going to show it to my wife now and hope it is still as funny then as it was the first time i read it. A backcountry permit is required to camp within this national park. That same year Congress approved the extension of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which would ultimately displace nearly 120 miles of trail. You are half expecting to see them pushing a wheelbarrow eventually. Even a small firearm plus ammunition would account for a sizable portion of your pack weight. No life action guarantees 100% safety, hitchhiking is no exception. This practice is known as “dispersed camping.” While the term essentially describes the practice of setting up camp wherever a hiker wants, hikers will often find popular “established” dispersed camping sites that have been regularly used by hikers in the past. Some of these hikers may have adapted resistances to certain infections or may actually have a more robust immune system, but most are simply just lucky. Spearheaded by ATC’s co-chairmen Stanley Murray and Murray Stevens (who took the reigns after Avery’s sudden passing), work began to formulate federal legislation that would ensure the protection of the A.T. corridor. Work-for-stays are first-come-first-serve and are entirely up to the discretion of the operating crew. Always a bottle neck especially around the one who has “fallen and they can’t get up.”, The Day Hiker. ARTICLE: Base Layers for Hiking: What You Need to Know. Crowding has started to cause undue stress to the trail and its environment resulting in damage to shelters and campsites, the trampling of local flora, trash build-up, and even harm or habituate wildlife. However, the exact time of year a thru-hiker should set out on the A.T. is highly dependent on their hiking route. Most people report their itineraries going out the window within the first few days on trail. These closures are set in place as Mount Katahdin becomes too dangerous for hikers to summit as winter approaches. This means hikers can assume to experience two to three different seasons during that time. The burden for financial stability is on us: the hikers, not the businesses and services we wish to use. Unlike guidebooks’ ability to contain all its information in a single bound volume, it’s impossible to have a detailed view of the entire trail on a single map. Safety Concerns for Women ARTICLE: How to Pack for an Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Some Trail Angels even make a habit of inviting hikers into their homes. As a result carrying more than is needed can really weigh you down. The best way to get in shape for backpacking is to go backpacking! That being said any bite from a venomous snake should still be checked by a medical professional as soon as possible. Distances between shelters vary, but hikers will typically run into a shelter every 5 to 15 miles. However, one of the most common examples has hikers starting near the A.T. halfway point in Harpers Ferry during May and hiking north reaching Katahdin by August or September. This guy has been preparing for his thru-hike at the same Tibetan Monastery that trained Batman. ARTICLE: Stretch’s Money Spent & Miles Hiked on the Appalachian Trail How do you properly plan out 4 – 6 months of living in the woods? Then with the onset of World War II, progress on the trail was more or less halted for much of the decade with many volunteers’ efforts focused on the war. Most drivers near towns around the trail who would stop do so because they are accustomed to the sight of hikers near A.T. intersections. Water is one of the heaviest items hikers have to carry weighing in at approximately 2.2 pounds per liter. The Kennebec is the widest unbridged crossing on the trail measuring over 200 feet. As weeks and months pass during your hike your body will adapt into a full blown hiking machine with the calf muscles of an Adonis. Trail Magic can be something as simple as a free snack or it can be as elaborate as setting up a small coffee shop at a road crossing. If signs of heat exhaustion go untreated, the condition can become much more serious and turn into heat stroke, when the body loses its ability to regulate temperature control. It’s not easy, but it is possible. ARTICLE: A Thru-Hiker’s Guide to the AMC Hut System. Like much of the A.T., shelters are built and maintained by local volunteer trail clubs. The trail takes hikers up, over, and around the beautiful wooded mountains of the Chattahoochee, Nantahala, Pisgah, and Cherokee National Forests. Sync the folders to your Gaia GPS app or download in GPX or KML format to your desktop, and help aggregate data by becoming a contributor. In someways it may even be safer than walking down a busy city street. Hiking pace is too difficult to predict, and quite frankly, planning too much takes away from the spontaneity of a thru-hike. Zach Davis is an Appalachian Trail and Pacific Crest Trail thru-hiker, author of Appalachian Trials, co-author of Pacific Crest Trials, owner and editor-in-chief at The Trek and co-host of Backpacker Radio, a new podcast for long distance backpackers.His life's passions include backpacking, bad beer and good friends. Some campsites located in high use areas may also require a small fee. Both methods are equally effective and are much more enticing options than boiling all of your water one pot at a time. Therefore, it is best for hikers to continually drink water throughout the day, particularly in warmer weather, to help avoid more serious health complications associated with dehydration. ARTICLE: By the Numbers: Top Sleeping Bags & Pads on the AT This is life changing! Those without a convincing answer are far more likely to vacate the trail. This makes shelter sites a great opportunity to meet and engage with other hikers. How the AT Works: What DOES a Maintainer Do? Definitely not. ARTICLE: 5 Steps Toward Preventing Injury Before a Thru-Hike Respect their rules. Each map is focused on the Appalachian Trail and overlaps with the neighboring maps, ideal for long-distance hikes and planning. Ultimately they want to finish the entire trail but it would seem they want to finish every spur trail too. Odds are, you won’t be their first. Fall colors are in full swing by the time hikers reach the Virginia and the southern Appalachians. Creating a rough itinerary of your trip can go a long way in helping to understand the trail and the kinds of challenges you could face on a thru-hike. Guidebooks are generally cheaper, heavier, and provide mountains of useful information. The dog whisperer. But whether you make $20,000 or $200,000 a year, the decision to hike the Appalachian Trail is going to require the same thing: a huge commitment. First and foremost the act of hitchhiking is technically illegal in some form or another in all 14 states that A.T. passes through. Arthur Perkins, a retired judge from Connecticut, took control over the ATC from Benton MacKaye near the end of the decade. Footwear is a deeply personal choice, more so than any other category. Resupplying on the A.T. is actually easier then you might think. Some hostels even double as outfitters and vice versa. Usually requires time to fully treat water before drinking. Created by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics these seven principles represent the best guidance to help minimize adverse impacts during outdoor recreation. About 99% of the A.T. is open to the public year round with the major exception being Mount Katahdin and Baxter State Park (BSP). Can expect to hike in comfortable weather conditions in southern New Enlgand, but with cooler conditions returning in New Hampshire and Maine towards September and October. The Southern Terminus of the A.T. atop Springer Mountain. Just get yourself out climbing mountains with your gear. The ratio is greater than 3 to 1 (male to female). Carrying names like the “Flip Flop”, the “Head Start,” and the “Leap Frog,” alternative hikes are becoming popular choices as they allow more flexibility in starting and ending dates along with many other benefits. The Mid-Atlantic region is home to the lowest elevations on the the A.T. Therefore, it is important to be able to supply your own shelter in these situations. A.T. hikers will be able to obtain permit cards at the following locations: Permit cards will also be required for any long-distance A.T. hikers staying at the Birches shelters at Katahdin Stream Campground. This hiker may also have a small “backup” pepper spray on their keychain, an emergency whistle, and a bottle of cover scent to mask their own smell from forest beasts. This means that hostel hours tend to cater toward northbound hiker schedules due to the immense popularity of NOBO hikes. But this isn’t even the whole story about the AT. Though one of the most appealing aspects of an A.T. thru-hike is experiencing the feeling of an overwhelming sense of freedom, there is still overarching code of conduct that guides the overall hiker community. Rather give it a wide berth. Giardia in particular is a parasite that lives in the guts of people and animals passing via feces. This was done in good humor. Consequently hikers will find the trail through the Mid-Atlantic region peppered with historical sites for ready hikers to explore. The Virginias make up both the longest and shortest states on the A.T., respectively. 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