Here are some links to get you started. Beyond the fear of legal issues there is an obvious level of risk with accepting rides from strangers. Notable for both its awe-inspiring beauty and notoriously challenging climbs, the White Mountains also add a another logistical challenge for hikers to contend with as camping becomes a little more complicated. The Southern Mountains are home to the highest peaks found on the entire trail. Consult the articles below for more information. Definitely not. If they don’t allow dogs there’s a reason, so try not to beg for an exception. Encounters with other hikers will be less frequent. You will need to consider it a lifestyle change. ARTICLE: Hostels and Lodging Along the Appalachian Trail Windrock Park and Campground is the perfect place to set up camp to do just that. Still, never feel like you have to get into a car with someone just because they are the first to stop. Close. Please read these guidelines by the ATC to help get you started. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is a 501c3 organization. Get used to what it feels like carrying a pack everywhere. To find out more information or to register your thru-hike click through to the ATC’s thru-hiker registration page here. Much like shelters they are often positioned close to a water source but tend to lack other amenities found at shelter sites. Naturally there are some exceptions. The best way to get in shape for backpacking is to go backpacking! operate like conventional shelters. Because we didn’t know about the post office method and we knew that we would “eventually be using the snowshoes. ARTICLE: By the Numbers: The Top Footwear on the AT Great Smoky Mountain National Park Though water releases may be infrequent they can occur with little to no warning down river. And don’t worry if you ending up disliking a piece of gear once you’re already out on the trail. 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. In some ways it is a “best of both worlds” approach to hiking the A.T. Broken down, the trail can be split into four distinct sections, each with its own set of challenges and rewards. Many others will tell you of the incredible random acts of kindness bestowed upon them by Trail Angels. However, anyone can be a Trail Angel whether they are familiar with the A.T. or not. This page is perpetually under construction, meaning we do not expect it to ever be truly “complete.” The ways of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail are as infinite as they are complex. If the person in question is a townie or stranger on the side of the road, you can just move on down the trail to leave them behind. A hurricane in 1938 heavily damaged parts of the trail in the north. Hikers then return to Harpers Ferry and hike south intending to end their hike on Springer Mountain by November or December. Oliver Springs, TN boasts 73,000 acres of surrounding beautiful Appalachian mountain land with over 300 acres of trails to enjoy. ARTICLE: SoBo Vs. NoBo Thru Hikers: The Tiny Differences and The Immense Similarities  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. The best way to start finding the gear that works best for you is to start getting hands-on experience. The Appalachian Trail is a continuous footpath stretching over 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine. The feud eventually culminated in 1935 with MacKaye diverting much of his attention away from the A.T. and towards other projects. Stretching 2184.5 miles I have never struggled and experienced so much in 6 months that has changed my very way of thinking about life, the universe and everything in it. 4 Things You Should Consider First, A Thorough List of Outfitters on the Appalachian Trail, How the AT Works: What Happens AFTER You Poop in the Woods, 75 people killed by black bears in the last 115 years, Tiny Terrors of the AT: Everything You Need to Know About Deer Ticks and Lyme Disease, Report: Tick-Transmitted Powassan Virus “Worse Than Lyme Disease”, Deer Tick Virus May Be On the Rise Near the AT, Keep Your Warmth: How to Avoid, Recognize, and Treat Hypothermia, Three Actual Threats on the Appalachian Trail (and how you can protect yourself), Heat Cramps, Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke First Aid for Hikers, Seven Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Guns and Bears, 21 Fascinating Facts About the Appalachian Trail, 10 Fantastic Hiker Traditions on the Appalachian Trail, Backpacker Radio 92 | Andrew Skurka Returns, How I Saved Hundreds on My AT Thru-Hike Gear List, The 2020 AT Section Hiker Survey: Motives and Logistics, 2021 PCT Long-distance Permits Will be Issued; Portal to Open January 19, A Complete List of Individual Permits Needed to Hike the PCT, Yellow Finch Tree Sitters Continue to Defy Mountain Valley Pipeline, 6 New Year's Resolutions for Backpackers and Thru-Hikers, Backpacker Radio 91 | New Year's Eve Sh*t Show Spectacular. To read more on ticks consult the articles below. You can try to catch up but you’ll only be jogging behind them, trying to sound casual while gasping for air. By comparison just a scant four miles pass through West Virginia. Join the leader in online dating services and find a date today. This is where a guidebook can serve you well, as it offers maps of popular towns listing relevant local businesses for hikers. 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. Appalachian Trail Apparel and Accessories. With time every hiker will begin to identify their hiking preferences and find their preferred method for handling their water needs. This makes shelter sites a great opportunity to meet and engage with other hikers. ARTICLE: How to Platinum Blaze: The Chronicles of Squirt. Whether you need mail drops or not for your hike is highly dependent on your specific needs on the trail. While permitted in some form in many areas along the trail, the rules and regulations regarding dispersed camping vary depending on what state, town, or park you’re within the boundaries of. Also, hikers who do not properly manage their food storage run greater risk of an encounter. 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. If a specific area has imposed regulations on dispersed camping they are likely a safety effort, a conservation effort, or both. Contact and service information for hostels can be found in the A.T. guidebooks. Because of the problematic issues of crowding for northbound hikes coupled with the extreme starting difficulty of southbound hikes there is an increasing number of A.T. hikers seeking out alternative itineraries for their adventure. ARTICLE: The Path Less Traveled  Yet, black bears are not the hulking beasts you’ve seen in cartoons and movies. You know you’ll be glad this guy exists when the zombies come, but at the moment you’re just trying to drink some instant coffee before a five-mile hike into town. While they do have carnivorous habits, most of their diet consists of roots, berries, and bugs. If so, do it. Should you get a sleeping pad at all? You’ll see him again. The distances between white blazes vary, but are generally not too far apart. They are chalk full of helpful tips and tricks and usually have a few really wild stories. A double white blaze signifying a left turn on the trail. The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., is a marked hiking trail in the Eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. Therm-a-rest makes great sleeping pads. The A.T. also passes through 14 different states, each of which hold different laws and regulations concerning concealed carry and general firearm possession. For a better view of shelter locations along the trail check out our Interactive Map of the A.T. However, during and after heavy rains fords should be assessed with caution. ARTICLE: Snake Identification. And being a hiker, living out in the Woods with the scorpions, the snakes, the trees and the dirt … you inexplicably feel bound to each and every other person who does the same. Therefore it is wise to prepare your body for the trials ahead. An ill-fitting backpack can lead to a number of problems leading to severe discomfort and both back and shoulder pain. Rather most thru-hikers will rely on the work-for-stay option, but this is by no means a guarantee either. As a result carrying more than is needed can really weigh you down. ARTICLE: Katahdin Thru-Hiker Alert Baxter State Park. It spans ages and breaks class boundaries. The actual length changes from year to year as the trail shifts and detours are added or removed. A common average quoted by many is that it costs $3,000 – 5,000 per person to hike the trail. Water is drinkable immediately after it’s filtered. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s mission is to protect, manage, and advocate for the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. First of all, the odds are the prices being haggled already undercut your other lodging options, so if you don’t want to pay then just pitch your tent elsewhere. If another hiker is making you uncomfortable, consider altering your hiking pace to increase the distance between you. ARTICLE: ATC Spreadsheet on Camping Regulations. Against better judgment, I've toured across America on a ramshackle mountain bike, spent six months working as a trail maintainer on the Pacific Crest Trail, and eaten way more granola than any human should. Completing the Appalachian Trail is the toughest thing I have ever experienced, both mentally and physically. Technically, no paid permits are required for hiker to “access” any part of the A.T. Maine’s nearly 300 miles of remote wilderness will put hiker’s outdoor skills to the test, ranging from rocky climbs to river fords and everything in between. The ATC works with these clubs to help coordinate volunteer efforts where they’re needed most. He sleeps in the shelters and occasionally builds his own tent by lashing together branches and covering them with leaves. or Young Dinkus who thought it was a GREAT idea to skip town for the sake of speed and ran out of food 3 days out from the next road crossing …, What about the “Gearhead” analyzing all you gear and why his is the best choice. An unofficial extension, known as the … As a result it’s important that hikers equip themselves with gear to help stave off hypothermia and also understand its warning signs and how to treat them. Be prepared for potentially muddy trail conditions and high stream crossings. Yet, many of these nearby communities embrace the trail and have become an important part of the A.T. experience. These closures are set in place as Mount Katahdin becomes too dangerous for hikers to summit as winter approaches. Take a trip into New York City, perhaps? Allow it to move of its own accord or navigate around it at a safe distance. The Appalachian Trail has had many books written about it but they can never give you the true experience. If they don’t allow alcohol don’t try to sneak it in behind their backs. Knowing how to cope with these challenges will make or break one’s success in attempting a thru-hike. Such a large influx of hikers at the same time each year is beginning to stress and damage the trail and its surrounding environment in the south. May require regular maintenance to maintain effective functionality (depending on model). 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. Of course, it isn’t always necessary to go into town to resupply. My recent article for Appalachian Trials, How to Avoid Creeps on the Trail, was such a success that I’ve decided to write a part 2. One of the many outfitters along the A.T. will be happy to help you sort out your problem. The fewer bills you have to keep track of while hiking the more rested your wallet (and mind) will be. Hostel owners work hard to keep their businesses operating and they are likely not getting rich doing so. Due to recent tensions between the thru-hiking community and BSP it is imperative that hikers understand and comply with the rules and regulations associated with the park. Then makes sure you can fund such ventures. Courtesy of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. ARTICLE: Thru-Hiking for Frugal Bastards Even so, both The A.T. Guide and the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers’ Companion are excellent resources to help hikers throughout their A.T. journey. He’s awesome and has hiked everything. In 2014 approximately 2,500 thru-hikers registered as northbound hikers. However, depending on conditions it is possible for BSP to initiate closures on earlier dates if necessary. As a result the closer you fall to the middle of the spectrum between being a control-freak and a master of free-flow probably the better. For a visual overview of the trail check out our Interactive Map of the A.T. The phrase “hike your own hike”, often abbreviated “HYOH,” represents a pervading ideal in thru-hiking culture. Much of the time you may be able to squeak by as healthy as ever, but it only takes one time to put you in a world of discomfort. How the AT Works: What DOES a Maintainer Do? About 25 miles per day so far, but it’s been pretty easy. For more information click here. ARTICLE: How the AT Works: River Crossings. The photographer, naturally this person is always spotted camera in hand often looking for that perfect angle for the perfect shot, at hostels and shelters they will call everyone together for group photos and occasionally they will take creepy candid photos of you and your tramily. Traditional maps, while not as detailed as modern guidebooks, still provide valuable information. Pups is off leash and on a tear. Trail magic describes random acts of kindness bestowed upon hikers often by complete strangers. Any outfitter selling packs should have staff capable of properly fiting customers. The intention is that the hiker will then pick up the mailed supplies when they pass by the location the package was mailed to. He has been overheard asking ‘what would Bear Grylls do?’. The exact services provided at each hostel will vary and some services may cost additional fees. While it is not impossible to hike during winter months the low temperatures, deep snow, and sometimes unpredictable storms make traversing the trail more difficult; sometimes dangerous. There are a great number of species that call this part of the country home. When you’re out thru-hiking the trail you represent the thru-hiker community as a whole whether you like it or not. 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