Appalachian Trail Facts: Part One

Hey Folks,

I am going to give a little information about this 2,180 mile trail I will be walking starting in March of 2012.  Please enjoy the Q&A type format 🙂

How did the Appalachian Trail come about?

Well, there is a long history in regards to the building of the trail and its inception, but the “birth” of the trail occurred in October 1921 in an article entitled An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning.

What is a 2,000 miler?

A 2,000 miler is a hiker that completes the Appalachian Trail in one trip.  This is also called a thru-hike.  Yes, it is spelled correctly!

Who was the first 2,000 miler?

In 1936 Myron Avery became the first 2,000 miler.  However, in 1948 Earl Shaffer became the first person to actually report a thru-hike.

How many people actually finish each year?

As of 2006, 29% of the thousands that attempt it actually complete a thru-hike.  25% of the 29% are women.

What kind of animals will be found along the trail?

The most common animal found along the trail are White-Tailed Deer.  Other animals hikers might be lucky enough to see are Beavers, Moose, Feral Ponies and Porcupines.

Wait a minute, What about Bears?

Black Bears are native to the Appalachian Mountains.  They are most commonly found in the Great Smoky Mountains and Shenandoah National Park.  There are many things to do to stave off these omnivore’s.  One thing is to hang a bear bag at night with all your food, this way your food is protected and it isn’t smelling up your tent, where you are sleeping and vulnerable.  However, according to most thru-hikers of the past and the wonderful Appalachian Trail Conservancy website, the most common problem with Black Bears is that no one ever sees one as often as they would like to.

How many states does the trail pass through?

The trail passes through a total of 14 states, from Georgia to Maine. Or Maine to Georgia if you are traveling south 🙂

How is the trail marked?

The trail is marked by what are called a white blaze.  There is also some signage along the trail, indicating distances to the next shelter, town, or even the northern or southern terminus.

Does your direction matter?

Not really, some people choose to travel from Georgia to Maine and are called Northbounders or NoBo, or also GAMEr (Georgia to Maine).  Those going south are called Southbounders, which usually, less people do.  The differences lie in one’s start and finish date. NoBo’s need to start in either March or April to make it to Baxter State Park in Maine before it closes in October.  Southbounders tend to start later because they are contending with snow if they start any earlier than May.

What are the potential hazards?

Blisters, chafing, stress fractures, gastrointestinal illness, dehydration, heat stroke, sunburn, hypothermia, frostbite, allergies and poison ivy, insect bites and Lyme disease, mice, snakes and bears.

Well, that is it for today!  If there are specific questions you want answered, leave a comment and I will make sure to address it in Part Two.

One thought on “Appalachian Trail Facts: Part One

  1. Pingback: Appalachian Trail Facts: Part One | Alpine Zone « Hike for the Homeless

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