Hey everyone. If you are reading this, it must mean that you have chosen to follow my awesome experiences planning and hiking the Appalachian Trail. I am on track for taking 6 months off work, and normal civilian life to begin my journey this coming Spring. My start date will be sometime between March 15th and April 1st. I will begin at Springer Mountain in Georgia, and end at Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
Yes folks, I will be living in the woods! Sounds crazy, I know. Over the last few months, I have often thought of an old neighbor I knew growing up named Renee Spilker. She always had some kind of job with the boyscouts, and also with my church's young women's yearly camp. She was hard core, and I always thought she was totally crazy! I realize now, I have become another crazy "Sister Spilker". Maybe even worse...dun dunn dunnnnnn. (insert crazy laugh here)
With this blog, I will keep you all updated on my planning, and hopefully answer some of the many questions you have about how, exactly, one lives in the woods for 6 months.
Thanks to a fellow hiker/blogger, I have a bit of history for you to read on the trail.
The trail is approximately 2,180 miles long. It begins on Springer Mountain in Georgia and terminates on Mount Katahdin in Maine. It passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine
The trail was conceived by Benton MacKaye, a forester who wrote his original plan shortly after the death of his wife in 1921. MacKaye's idea was to create a trail in the wilderness for city dwellers to reconnect with nature and themselves. He felt citizens were physically and mentally removed from the wilderness and needed a place to go. I share that philosophy.
In 1948, Earl Shaffer completed the first documented thru-hike. Later Shaffer also completed the first north to south thru-hike, making him the first to do so in each direction. In 1998 Mr. Shaffer, nearly 80 years old, again hiked the entirety of the trail, making him the oldest person ever to complete a thru-hike. Mr.
Thousands of people hike small portions of the trail everyday of the year, and around 2,000 attempt to hike the entire length of the trail each year. Of those who attempt to hike the entire trail, around 200 will succeed. Most thru hikers (those attempting the entire distance in one season) start in the South and walk North (north bounders), some hike North to South (south bounders), and others choose to start in the middle and hike North, then get a ride bike to the middle and hike South; this allows them to have favorable weather throughout the mountain range and hiking season, these hikers are called flip floppers.
The AT is marked by 2-by-6-inch white painted blazes. These are one signs, trees, rocks, road surfaces, buildings and who knows what else. Side trails to shelters, viewpoints, parking areas, and shortcuts use blue painted blazes.
White Blazer= a thru hiker who sticks to the official trail always
Blue Blazer= a thru hiker who will sometimes take a trail marked with a blue blaze instead of the white. These are sometimes easier or more scenic detours.
I hope this is a good start to your understanding of my dream. I need all your support to do this. Help be my cheerleaders so I can be one of the 10-13% of hikers who actually complete the thru hike that they set out for!