The Appalachian Trail (AT) is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world, ranging from Georgia to Maine. Before I started my hike, I knew that as well as the following stats:
- 2,190 miles
- 14 states
- 464,500′ approximate gain/loss in elevation
- 6.643′ highest elevation (Clingmans Dome in Great Smoky Mountains National Park)
- 124′ lowest elevation (Bear Mountain State Park in New York)
- 165,000 approximate number of white blazes which mark the trail
- 5,500 calories required to maintain weight during a day of hiking
- 262 shelters on or along the trail
After hiking for 164 days, I realized a few more things:
- 2.190 miles is a LONG ways. It’s really mentally difficult to wake up after walking 15-20 miles the day before and knowing that you’ll be doing that again today…and tomorrow. I woke up (in my tent) about 110 times to that thought.
- Rain sucks. Maybe not so much the rain, but definitely the getting wet and, most certainly, the slippery and muddy trail and rocks that go along with it. It rained 20 days in May of 2017 to end a drought in the SE United Stated. I even had to spend 36 hours straight in my tent while it rained continuously. Yeah, rain does suck!
- Falling is bad. I lost count of how many times I fell. I do know that I fell 7 times descending Mt Moosalauk (NH). I had more scrapes and cuts than you can imagine and even dislocated a finger.
- You’re better off going uphill than downhill. It’s tougher aerobically but much safer.
- Tortillas are a miracle food. Easy to pack and carry. Last a long time. I ate plain tortillas and tortillas with deer jerky, tuna, peanut butter, and/or honey.
- People are very kind and generous. I had so much support from people following my blog, donating to the charities I was hiking for, and, of course, all the trail angels and trail magic I encountered on the trail. Couldn’t have done it without the support of all of you.
- There is an amazing amount of wilderness along the East Coast. The beauty and grandeur which I saw is difficult to describe. I would go days seeing only trees and mountains. The trail even passes about 30 miles from New York City and you would have no clue you are near to civilization. The wilderness is one of the United States’ greatest natural resources. We need to make sure we keep the wilderness wild for future generations.
For more information on the Appalachian Trail, you can visit the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
The first 1,000 miles:
Miles 1,000 to 1,500:
Miles 1,500 to the top of Mt. Katahdin and after: