Spring is right around the corner which means hikers are checking their gear, buying new packs, and weighing every ounce. Each year along with waiting for the thaw of winter, there are thousands getting ready to attempt a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail. In 2007 500 backpackers finished the 2,000+ miles of the AT. According to the ATC that was only 27% of the total who started.
Hiking the AT is a daunting task to say the least. I was first introduced to the AT back in 2002 by a girl who had hiked 90% of the trail. I quickly became obsessed with the idea of hiking the AT. My attempt was in 2003. It was one of the hardest things mentally I’ve ever attempted.
Thru-hiking has a lot of romance associated with it, and it’s easy to be swept up in the dream of doing it yourself after watching a video or reading a book in the comfort of your home
from the ATC website
For those who are preparing to attempt a thru-hike, there are some things to consider. One, and most important, is that it is a mental hike. Yes, it’s physically demanding. You will be sore, and ache, and blister. But beyond the pain is a simple truth that you cannot deny, it’s a mental challenge. Putting up, and tearing down your tent everyday, finding water, packing enough food, resting, and of course the smell. It will become as much of a mental effort than a physical one.
After the planning and plotting of your hike. (and believe me, you’ll plan to death only to find out everything you planned for will change once you get out there) Remember to have fun. Hike your own hike, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.
Here are some good resources and links to assist in your hike. One of the websites I love to read during the year is www.trailjournals.com This is a great site to journal online and let family and friends know how your hike is going. They have a ton of informative information.
thebackpacker.tv has a trail Vlog called “The first 30 miles of the AT“. It’s what you can expect the first 30 miles of your hike.
Watch this video about hiking in the Smoky Mountains to get a feel about the AT.