Appalachian Trail

Appalachian Trail Thru Hike

Appalachian Trail Overview & History

The trail stretches through 14 states:  Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.  The A.T. continuously changes in length due to trail relocation each year: 1937 – 2,054 miles; 2003 – 2,172.6; 2005 – 2,174.9.  The A.T. became a continuous trail on August 14, 1937. The Civilian Conservation Corps completed the final link of the A.T. in Maine.  Earl Shaffer became the first to report a thru-hike in 1948.  The A.T. was selected as the first National Scenic Trail in 1968.

The A.T. began as a vision of forester Benton MacKaye.  Benton MacKaye’s history with the A.T. is a unique story among A.T. historians.  Benton MacKaye had the idea of linking the Appalachian mountains.  In the New England region of the mountains, trail linking had already been underway.  However, Benton MacKaye saw larger visions of communities on the trail as a society: a “‘playground’: it should stimulate every line of outdoor non-industrial endeavor'” (Read his 1921 article: “An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning.” Journal of the American Institute of Architects).

Two-inch by six-inch vertical white paint marks (known as “Blazes” to hikers) mark the trail. “Blazes” are painted on trees, signs, roads, and any visible object a hiker could see.  A “Double Blaze” (one Blaze above another Blaze) is placed before turns, junctions, or to let the hiker know to be attentive. The A.T. is currently protected along more than 99 percent of the trail.  The A.T. is federal and state owned or by “right-of-way” (private landowners designate their land as part of the A.T., a.k.a. as a “corridor”). The A.T. stretches through more than sixty federal, state, local parks, forests and crosses hundreds of roads.  “It’s estimated that 3-4 million visitors hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail each year, although precise figures are difficult to determine. More than 7,000 hikers have let the ATC know that they have completed the entire Trail.”(atc.org)  The Appalachian Trail represents perfection in nature; however, the A.T. is continuously under attack from man.  Some predict the A.T. may not last another 50 years due to various consumption by industrial growth and visitor damage.  Not only does the A.T. face man’s consumption, but the A.T. is used politically as a land conservatory issue.  Unfortunately, many A.T. authorities, organizations, and common citizens treat the A.T. as part of our society and fail to allow the A.T. to be an individual with amazing merits.

 

Appalachian Trail Blaze

A Blaze marks the Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail completion plague

This Bronze Plague designates the completion of the Appalachian Trail on August 14, 1937 in Maine.

Appalachian Trail_Henry David Thoreau quote

“It were as well
to be educated in the shadow
of a mountain as in more classic shade
Some will remember, no doubt,
not only that they went to college,
but that they went to the mountain”
– Henry David Thoreau

Appalachian Trail Thru Hike

Overview & History of the Appalachian Trail:

The Appalachian Trail stretches through 14 states:  Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia.  The Appalachian Trail continuously changes in length due to trail relocation each year: 1937 – 2,054 miles; 2003 – 2,172.6; 2005 – 2,174.9.  The Appalachian Trail became a continuous trail on August 14, 1937. The Civilian Conservation Corps completed the final link of the Appalachian Trail in Maine.  Earl Shaffer became the first to report a thru-hike in 1948.  The Appalachian Trail was selected as the first National Scenic Trail in 1968.

Appalachian Trail Journal
Ben’s journal from our 2003 thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Ben kept a journal fairly consistently throughout the trip.  Read the adventures Ben and Billy lived thru on the Appalachian Trail.  Read the Journal.

Appalachian Trail Graphs

Ben puts his Daily Data calculations into visual artwork.  See Miles averaged per Day, State, and other self-indulgent information.

Appalachian Trail graphs

Georgia to Maine — Are You Insane?

Written by: Debra Blohm (As a gift to Ben & Billy upon the completion of the Appalachian Trail)

Once upon a time there where two young men Two strangers walking as their journey began One named Billy and the other Ben They found in each other a life long friend

They left civilization as they knew it To climb to the top of every summit To walk every valley, over hill and dale Nothing would stop them – they would not fail!

You awake each morning and make your plan To climb huge rocks and boulders higher than a man You scramble and hold on the best that you can Trying hard to avoid Troy and his van

Putting one foot in front of the other day after day Admiring the works of mother nature along the way Sky touching misty mountains Drinking cool clear water from nature’s fountains

Bright blue skies without a cloud in sight Beautiful star filled summer nights You’ve worked to make your backpacks light Together you have witnessed some amazing sights

Mountains that are too beautiful to see Yet there is where you want to be Valleys far too lovely for human eyes Walking on clouds with your heads in the skies

You’ve hiked from Georgia, now to Maine Not for worldly wealth or fame You hike the trail because it’s there It’s now a friend with which you share

You’ve shared the cold, you’ve shared the heat You’ve shared the mud beneath your feet You’ve shared the black flies and the rain You’ve shared the joys and shared the pain

To not fall, to not fail… Through the snow, rain, sleet and hail To keep on walking until you’re there Even though you’re frozen to your underwear

Hiking nine to five yeah, it’s fun if you’re insane Get up everyday and subject yourself to pain Walk no matter what the day may hold in store You just keep on walking more and more and more

You’ve stopped and taken some breaks along the way Some were for rest and some were to play Here we all are on this glorious day And we’ve just three words we want to say…

You Made It!!!

2,000 Miler Patch - Appalachian Trail Conference – 2,000 Miler Patch from the Appalachian Trail Conference –

– The last steps…of a 2,172.6 mile Appalachian Trail hike. –

Appalachian Trail Mount Katahdin sign
– Mount Katahdin Sign –
Appalachian Trail Mount Katahdin tablet
– Mount Katahdin Tablet –
Appalachian Trail Last Blaze
– The Last Blaze –

Appalachian Trail – State by State
Read highlights and view photos from each leg of the 2003 Appalachian Trail thru hike adventure.  Follow Ben & Billy  State by State as they set the stage for each section of the Appalachian Trail.  The guys list accommodations, daily mileages, facts about the State, and what they encountered in the section.  Learn what it’s like to walk over 2,000 miles on one of the World’s great footpaths a section at a time – witness the pain, the hunger, the toilet trouble and, ultimately, the triumph of reaching Katahdin.

 

The Mid-Atlantic

Pennsylvania

New Jersey & New York

 

Appalachian Trail Thru Hike Notes

(153 Days to thru hike the Appalachian Trail)

 

Day

 

Miles

 

Cumulative

 

Date

 

Notes

 

State

 

Location

 

Accommodation

 

0

0

0

02/04/03

 

1

7.6

7.6

03/04/03

Ben starts the A.T.

GA

 

2

19

26.6

04/04/03

GA

 

3

7.5

34.1

05/04/03

Billy starts the A.T.

GA

 

4

14.4

48.5

06/04/03

GA

 

5

2.2

50.7

07/04/03

GA

Hiawassee

Motel

 

6

12.6

63.3

08/04/03

Nan bread! Meet Charles.

GA

Deep Cut Gap Shelter

Shelter

 

7

15.1

78.4

09/04/03

Nan bread eaten.

NC

Muskrat Creek Shelter

Camped

 

8

12.5

90.9

10/04/03

Awoke in Snow

NC

 

9

12.8

103.7

11/04/03

Snow hiking/Albert mountain

NC

Franklin

Motel

 

10

19.3

123

12/04/03

Ben & Billy meet for the first time.

NC

Camped

 

11

18

141

13/04/03

Lunch at NOC / Wesser

NC

Sassafras Gap Shelter

Shelter

 

12

20.7

161.7

14/04/03

Chastity

NC

Fontana Dam

Motel

 

13

14.9

176.6

15/04/03

Enter the Great Smoky Mountains/Fire tower/First night under stars

NC

Camped

 

14

16.4

193

16/04/03

Clingman’s Dome  (highest elevation on A.T.)/Rocky top views/Lightning death shelter

NC

Shelter

 

15

10.8

203.8

17/04/03

Clingman’s/Trapped by Gatlinburg pizza

NC/TN

Gatlingburg

Motel

 

16

24.1

227.9

18/04/03

Stealthing / E-Z-Does it

NC/TN

Low Gap

Camped

 

17

16.8

244.7

19/04/03

Exit the Great Smoky Mountains/Mountain Momma’s

NC/TN

Near Deep Gap

Camped

 

18

11.5

256.2

20/04/03

Lunch in Hot Springs, NC

NC/TN

Next to stream

Camped

 

19

14.7

270.9

21/04/03

Weather affected privy break

NC/TN

Hot Springs

Motel (Bridge Street Cafe $45)

 

20

11.6

282.5

22/04/03

NC/TN

Camped

 

21

20.6

303.1

23/04/03

Meet Pez

NC/TN

Flint Mountain Shelter

Shelter

 

22

22.1

325.2

24/04/03

Whistling Gap

Camped

 

23

13.5

338.7

25/04/03

TN

Erwin

Motel (Super 8 $52)

 

24

16.5

355.2

26/04/03

TN

Cherry Gap Shelter

Camped

 

25

19.8

375

27/04/03

Summit Roan Mountain

Stan Murray Shelter

Shelter

 

26

18.7

393.7

28/04/03

Mountaineer Waterfall

Camped

 

27

20.4

414.1

29/04/03

Pond Flats

Camped

 

28

25.4

439.5

30/04/03

Campsite

Camped

 

29

19.3

458.8

01/05/03

VA

Damascus

B & B (Montgomery Inn $60)

 

30

9.4

468.2

02/05/03

VA

Saunders Shelter

Shelter

 

31

19

487.2

03/05/03

Near Rhododendron Gap

Camped

 

32

18.7

505.9

04/05/03

The Hurricane Campground was closed.

Near Hurricane Campground

Camped

 

33

2

507.9

05/05/03

Off trail

Troutdale

 

34

0

507.9

06/05/03

Off trail

 

35

0

507.9

07/05/03

Off trail

 

36

0

507.9

08/05/03

Off trail

 

37

0

507.9

09/05/03

Off trail

 

38

0

507.9

10/05/03

Off trail

 

39

0

507.9

11/05/03

Off trail

 

40

0

507.9

12/05/03

Off trail

 

41

0

507.9

13/05/03

Off trail

 

42

0

507.9

14/05/03

Off trail

 

43

0

507.9

15/05/03

Off trail

 

44

0

507.9

16/05/03

Off trail

 

45

0

507.9

17/05/03

Off trail

 

46

4

511.9

18/05/03

First day back, and Ben finds trail magic as beer.  We haven’t even set foot back onto the trail and there is magic.

VA

Near Trimpi Shelter

Camped

 

47

23.9

535.8

19/05/03

VA

Near stream

Camped

 

48

19.4

555.2

20/05/03

VA

Near pond/stream

Camped

 

49

20.3

575.5

21/05/03

VA

Near Telephone line

Camped

 

50

16.2

591.7

22/05/03

VA

Campsite

Camped

 

51

23.3

615

23/05/03

 

52

6

621

24/05/03

VA

Pearisburg

Motel (Rendezvous Motel)

 

53

7.3

628.3

25/05/03

Hiked uphill most of the way to get to shelter

VA

Rice Field Shelter

Shelter

 

54

25

653.3

26/05/03

Wind Rock Vista /

Ben on Wind Rock

VA

War Spur Shelter

Shelter

 

55

18.7

672

27/05/03

VA

Near stream

Camped

 

56

22.3

694.3

28/05/03

Boy Scout Shelter (No Longer Here)  All that is left is the timber that was used for the shelter…there is still a privy here!!!

VA

Boy Scout Shelter

Camped

 

57

18.6

712.9

29/05/03

VA

Daleville

Motel (Best Western $60)

 

58

5

717.9

30/05/03

VA

Fulhardt Knob Shelter

Camped

 

59

26.8

744.7

31/05/03

VA

Bryant Ridge Shelter

Shelter

 

60

23.5

768.2

01/06/03

VA

Campsite near James River

Camped

 

61

11.9

780.1

02/06/03

VA

Punchbowl Shelter

Camped

 

62

24.6

804.7

03/06/03

VA

Seeley-Woodworth Shelter

Shelter

 

63

20.5

825.2

04/06/03

VA

Maupin Field Shelter

Camped

 

64

21.2

846.4

05/06/03

 

65

0

846.4

06/06/03

 

66

18.4

864.8

07/06/03

 

67

22.9

887.7

08/06/03

 

68

20

907.7

09/06/03

 

69

19.2

926.9

10/06/03

 

70

23.6

950.5

11/06/03

 

71

20.3

970.8

12/06/03

 

72

24.6

995.4

13/06/03

 

73

12.6

1008

14/06/03

Off trail

Harpers Ferry

 

74

0

1008

15/06/03

Off Trail

Baltimore

 

75

0

1008

16/06/03

Off Trail

Baltimore

 

76

0

1008

17/06/03

Off Trail

Baltimore

 

77

0

1008

18/06/03

Off Trail

Baltimore

 

78

0

1008

19/06/03

Off Trail

Baltimore

 

79

0

1008

20/06/03

Off Trail

Baltimore

 

80

0

1008

21/06/03

Off Trail

Baltimore

 

81

0

1008

22/06/03

Off Trail

Baltimore

 

82

0

1008

23/06/03

Off Trail

Baltimore

 

83

0

1008

24/06/03

Off Trail

WV

Harpers Ferry

 

84

40.6

1048.6

25/06/03

Maryland Challenge (40 miles) – walk entire State of Maryland in one day.

PA

Penmar Park

Camped

 

85

14.9

1063.5

26/06/03

 

86

23.7

1087.2

27/06/03

 

87

18.8

1106

28/06/03

Will Joins the Gang

PA

Boiling Springs

 

88

20

1126

29/06/03

PA

 

89

19.5

1145.5

30/06/03

PA

 

90

21.1

1166.6

01/07/03

PA

 

91

21.1

1187.7

02/07/03

PA

 

92

21.1

1208.8

03/07/03

PA

 

93

21.1

1229.9

04/07/03

PA

 

94

27.7

1257.6

05/07/03

PA

 

95

20.2

1277.8

06/07/03

Off Trail

PA

DWG – NYC

 

96

0

1277.8

07/07/03

Off Trail

DWG – NYC

 

97

0

1277.8

08/07/03

Off Trail

DWG – NYC

 

98

0

1277.8

09/07/03

Off Trail

DWG – NYC

 

99

0

1277.8

10/07/03

Off Trail

DWG – NYC

 

100

16.8

1294.6

11/07/03

NJ

 

101

20.4

1315

12/07/03

 

102

19.6

1334.6

13/07/03

 

103

18.9

1353.5

14/07/03

 

104

21.6

1375.1

15/07/03

 

105

11.8

1386.9

16/07/03

NY

Fort Montgomery

 

106

13.1

1400

17/07/03

Dinner at monastery

NY

Camped

Camped

 

107

21.1

1421.1

18/07/03

NY

Shelter

Shelter

 

108

16.6

1437.7

19/07/03

Billy does Connecticut Challenge (52 miles) – walks entire State of Connecticut in one day.

NY

Shelter

Camped

 

109

22.9

1460.6

20/07/03

Will leaves A.T.

CT

Shelter

Shelter

 

110

27.8

1488.4

21/07/03

Lunch in Salisbury

CT

Shelter

Shelter

 

111

16.8

1505.2

22/07/03

Meet Billy again

MA

Great Barrington

Motel

 

112

11.7

1516.9

23/07/03

 

113

24.6

1541.5

24/07/03

 

114

23.6

1565.1

25/07/03

 

115

22.4

1587.5

26/07/03

 

116

26.5

1614

27/07/03

 

117

21.2

1635.2

28/07/03

 

118

0.7

1635.9

29/07/03

 

119

23.5

1659.4

30/07/03

 

120

19

1678.4

31/07/03

 

121

6.2

1684.6

01/08/03

Off trail

VT

Rutland

 

122

0

1684.6

02/08/03

Off trail

VT

Rutland

 

123

0

1684.6

03/08/03

Off trail

VT

Rutland

 

124

0

1684.6

04/08/03

Off trail

VT

Rutland

 

125

4.6

1689.2

05/08/03

 

126

26.9

1716.1

06/08/03

 

127

21.5

1737.6

07/08/03

 

128

23.2

1760.8

08/08/03

 

129

14.4

1775.2

09/08/03

NH

Glencliffe

 

130

15.9

1791.1

10/08/03

NH

 

131

15.2

1806.3

11/08/03

NH

 

132

13.6

1819.9

12/08/03

NH

 

133

12.1

1832

13/08/03

NH

Mizpah Hut

 

134

12.1

1844.1

14/08/03

NH

Campsite nr Madison Hut

 

135

12.2

1856.3

15/08/03

NH

Wildcat D

 

136

16.5

1872.8

16/08/03

NH

 

137

1.9

1874.7

17/08/03

NH

Gorham

 

138

17

1891.7

18/08/03

 

139

19.9

1911.6

19/08/03

 

140

27.1

1938.7

20/08/03

 

141

15.7

1954.4

21/08/03

 

142

23.1

1977.5

22/08/03

 

143

22.6

2000.1

23/08/03

 

144

24

2024.1

24/08/03

 

145

25

2049.1

25/08/03

 

146

9

2058.1

26/08/03

 

147

19.1

2077.2

27/08/03

 

148

24

2101.2

28/08/03

 

149

27.4

2128.6

29/08/03

 

150

25.4

2154

30/08/03

 

151

13.4

2167.4

31/08/03

ME

Milinocket

 

152

0

2167.4

01/09/03

 

153

5.2

2172.6

02/09/03

Mt. Katahdin 2,172.6 miles of hiking (153 days)

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