Monday, March 22, 2010

About The Appalachian Trail

This is old news to a lot of you, but to those of you who are not familiar with the Appalachian Trail:
  • It’s a 2175 mile footpath along the Appalachian Mountains from Springer Mountain Georgia to Mt Katahdin, Maine.
  • It's also known as the AT.
  • It’s marked by white blazes on trees.
  • The total elevation gain on the trail is 91 vertical miles.
  • Each year a few thousand people attempt to hike the whole trail in a single year. These people are called “thru-hikers”.
  • Most hikers finish in 180 days. I’m hoping it will take me slightly less time.
  • The most traditional thru-hike is Northbound (NOBO). This is my plan, which means there will be other people starting their hikes the same day as me.
  • Some people go Southbound (SOBO) but they can’t start until May or June because of the weather in Maine.
  • I’ll be able to resupply in towns (and shower) every 5 days or so. In some places I will pick up boxes of food mailed to me by myself or my mother.
  • I may use the internet in these towns.
  • I will have my cellphone with me for emergencies but it will rarely be on.
  • I’ll stay in 3-walled shelters or my tent. I may also stay in a few hostels. Some hikers even stay in hotels occasionally, but I have a tight budget.
  • Only a small percentage of people who start thru hikes finish the whole trail in a single season (I’ve heard figures from 10%-20%). They leave the trail because of injury or illness, financial problems, problems at home, or emotional problems.
  • The state with the most miles is VA. 1/5 of the trail is in this state, so it’s not surprising that a number of people quit here. The tediousness causes something called the “Virginia Blues”.
  • The longest stretch of wilderness along the trail is the "100-Mile Wilderness" in Maine.
  • The trail goes through Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
I'll include other interesting facts as my trip progresses along with some definitions of trail jargon.

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