Five Years on the Appalachian Trail


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A Grand Idea… from a Future TVA Employee

For now, though, he can only plan as far as his next doctor appointment. Injuries aside, Stringbean hopes his achievement will inspire others to tackle long distance running challenges. Type keyword s to search. Today's Top Stories. How to Watch the World Championships. Joe McConaughy. Easy days were few and far between McConaughy, who set the supported speed record for the 2,mile Pacific Crest Trail PCT in , began seriously contemplating the AT self-supported challenge about ten months ago.

Tackle the trail with these rugged new kicks. Appalachian balds are also found in the Southern highlands, and are believed to occur due to fires or grazing in recent centuries, or in some cases due to thin, sandy soils. Between the two regions is the krummholz region, where stunted trees grow with their branches oriented away from the winter's prevailing northwest wind, thus giving the appearance of flags they are often called "flag trees". This region resembles lowland terrain hundreds of miles north in Canada. It also contains many endangered and threatened species.

Mountains traversed by the A. The segments of the trail through Pennsylvania are so rocky that hikers refer to the region as "Rocksylvania".

Murder on the Appalachian Trail | Outside Online

In Maine, the trail extends into even harsher environments, and sub-alpine and alpine growth descends to lower elevations. These forests include more species of evergreen, as well. In addition to the white pine , spruce and hemlock prevalent further south, Maine has many cedar trees along the trail. Near the northern terminus, there are even some tamarack larch , a coniferous, pine-needled deciduous tree, which provides displays of yellow in the late fall after the birches and maples have gone bare.

The hemlocks in Maine are also notable, as the woolly adelgid , which has ravaged populations further south, has not come into the state yet, and may be unable to make it so far north due to the cold climate.


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Maine also has several alpine regions. Mount Katahdin, the second largest alpine environment in the eastern United States, has several square miles of alpine area on the flat "table land" summit as well as the cliffs and aretes leading up to it.

This elevation in Massachusetts would barely be a sub-alpine region, and, south of Virginia, consists of lowland forest. Side trails to shelters, viewpoints and parking areas use similarly shaped blue blazes.

In past years, some sections of the trail also used metal diamond markers with the AT logo, few of which survive. A typical white AT blaze along the trail in Pennsylvania. A blue side-trail blaze, on Mount Greylock in Massachusetts. Most hikers carry a lightweight tent, tent hammock or tarp. Shelters are usually spaced a day's hike or less apart, most often near a water source which may be dry and with a privy. They generally have spaces for tent sites in the vicinity as the shelters may be full. Shelters are generally maintained by local volunteers.

Almost all shelters have one or more pre-hung food hangers generally consisting of a short nylon cord with an upside-down tuna can suspended halfway down its length where hikers can hang their food bags to keep them out of the reach of rodents. In hiker lingo, these are sometimes called "mouse trapezes.

In addition to official shelters, many people offer their homes, places of business, or inns to accommodate AT hikers. Inns are more common in sections of the trail that coincide with national parks, most notably Virginia's Shenandoah National Park. The trail crosses many roads, thus providing ample opportunity for hikers to hitchhike into town for food and other supplies.

Many trail towns are accustomed to hikers passing through, and thus many have hotels and hiker-oriented accommodations. In the areas of the trail closer to trail towns, many hikers have experienced what is sometimes called "trail magic," [59] or assistance from strangers through kind actions, gifts, and other forms of encouragement. The Appalachian Trail is relatively safe. Most injuries or incidents are consistent with comparable outdoor activities.

Most hazards are related to weather conditions, human error, plants, animals, diseases, and hostile humans encountered along the trail. Many animals live around the trail, with bears, snakes, and wild boars posing the greatest threat to human safety. Several rodent- and bug-borne illnesses are also a potential hazard.

In scattered instances, foxes, raccoons , and other small animals may bite hikers, posing risk of rabies and other diseases. There has been one reported case in of hantavirus HPS , a rare but dangerous rodent-borne disease affecting the lungs. The afflicted hiker recovered and hiked the trail the following year.

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Poison ivy is common the length of the trail, and more plentiful in the South. The weather is another major consideration of hikers on the trail. Hiking season of the trail generally starts in mid-to-late spring, when conditions are much more favorable in the South. Under such conditions, hydration is imperative. Farther north and at higher elevations, the weather can be cold, characterized by low temperatures, strong winds, hail or snow storms and reduced visibility.

Prolonged rain, though not typically life-threatening, can undermine stamina and ruin supplies. Violent crime , including murder, has occurred on the trail in a few instances. Most have been crimes by non-hikers who crossed paths relatively randomly with victims.

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The official website of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy points out that the number of violent crimes is extremely low when compared against the number of people 3 to 4 million who hike on the trail every year. The first reported homicide on the trail was in in Georgia.

The primary suspect was later discovered harassing a female cyclist in the vicinity, [68] but charges against him were dropped, and the case remains unsolved. In May , Oklahoman Ronald S. Sanchez Jr. A female hiker who has not been identified was also injured by an assailant there. James L. Jordan, 30, of West Yarmouth, Massachusetts was charged with murder and assault with intent to commit murder in the Western District of Virginia Court.

Human error can lead to casualties as well.

Man Thru-Hikes The Appalachian Trail To Promote Health And Sobriety

In July , year-old lone hiker Geraldine Largay disappeared on the trail in Maine. Largay became lost and survived 26 days before dying. Her remains were found two years later in October Trail hikers who attempt to complete the entire trail in a single season are called " thru-hikers "; those who traverse the trail during a series of separate trips are known as "section-hikers".

Rugged terrain, weather extremes, illness, injury, and the time and effort required make thru-hiking difficult to accomplish. As of , the Appalachian Trail Conservancy estimated that 3, hikers set out from Springer Mountain, northbound, from Mount Katahdin, southbound, and reported 1, completions of hiking the entire trail, which includes those by both section and through hikers.

Most thru-hikers walk northward from Georgia to Maine, and generally start out in early spring and follow the warm weather as it moves north. A thru-hike generally requires five to seven months, although some have done it in three months, and several trail runners have completed the trail in less time. Trail runners typically tackle the AT with automobile support teams, without backpacks, and without camping in the woods. Thru-hikers are classified into many informal groups.

The generally pejorative name "Yellow Blazers," a reference to yellow road stripes, is given to those who hitchhike to move either down or up the trail. Part of hiker subculture includes making colorful entries in logbooks at trail shelters, signed using pseudonyms called "trail names".

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy gives the name " Miler" to anyone who completes the entire trail. The ATC's recognition policy for " Milers" gives equal recognition to thru-hikers and section-hikers, operates on the honor system, and recognizes blue-blazed trails or officially required roadwalks as substitutes for the official, white-blazed route during an emergency such as a flood, forest fire, or impending storm on an exposed, high-elevation stretch.

Fastest known times for self-supported attempts meaning no vehicle or crew support, like a traditional through-hiker :. Fastest known times for supported attempts the athletes travel light, relying on a support crew with food, shelter, medical treatment, etc. The trail is maintained by a variety of citizen organizations, environmental advocacy groups, governmental agencies and individuals.

Annually, more than 4, volunteers contribute over , hours of effort on the Appalachian Trail, an effort coordinated largely by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy ATC organization. In total, the AT passes through eight national forests and two national parks. In the course of its journey, the trail follows the ridge line of the Appalachian Mountains , crossing many of its highest peaks, and running, with only a few exceptions, almost continuously through wilderness.

The AT and approach trail, along with many miles of blue blazed side trails, are managed and maintained by the Georgia Appalachian Trail Club. See also: Georgia Peaks on the Appalachian Trail. North Carolina has Albert , and Wayah Bald. Up to this point, the trail is maintained by the Nantahala Hiking Club.

Beyond this point, it is maintained by the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club. Virginia has Bear Mountain Bridge , New York. West Virginia has 4 miles 6. Harpers Ferry is what many consider to be the mental midpoint of the entire A. The exact midpoint moves due to trail rerouting. The trail runs through the eastern edge of Greenbrier State Park. This can serve as a luxurious stop point for a hot shower and a visit to the camp store. Hikers will also pass High Rock, which offers extensive views and is also used as a hang-gliding site. Pennsylvania has The Susquehanna River is generally considered the dividing line between the northern and southern sections of the Pennsylvania AT.

The Pennsylvania section of the trail north of the Susquehanna, from Duncannon until the Delaware Water Gap , is noted for its eroded and rocky terrain which can slow hiking.

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New Jersey is home to Black bear activity along the trail in New Jersey increased rapidly starting in Hence, metal bear-proof trash boxes are in place at all New Jersey shelters. New York's This track crossing is the site of the only train station along the trail's length.

It enters Connecticut via the Pawling Nature Reserve. The section of the trail that passes through Harriman and Bear Mountain State Parks is the oldest section of the trail, completed in A portion of this section was paved by volunteers with granite-slab steps followed by over a mile of walkway supported by stone crib walls with boulders lining the path.

Five Years on the Appalachian Trail Five Years on the Appalachian Trail
Five Years on the Appalachian Trail Five Years on the Appalachian Trail
Five Years on the Appalachian Trail Five Years on the Appalachian Trail
Five Years on the Appalachian Trail Five Years on the Appalachian Trail
Five Years on the Appalachian Trail Five Years on the Appalachian Trail

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