Sunday, 4 November 2012

Looking to the Future: The Appalachian Trail

For several years now I have been planning to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I'm at a point in my life where I think I have a window of opportunity to do it that I might never have again.  I've decided to take advantage of that opportunity and hike the trail, starting in February of 2013.

For those who are not aware, the Appalachian Trail is a 2180 mile trail that goes from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Katahdin Mountain in Maine.  Most hikers on the trail will hike sections of it, but every year a couple thousand hikers attempt to hike the entire thing.  There is something like a 20% success rate among thru-hikers with many hikers dropping out pretty early.

I don't want to dedicate a blog post to describing the trail since I haven't been on it yet, so if my followers (also known as imaginary friends) are curious, there is lots of good information here.

The fact that I will be doing this hike is the main reason I have started this blog.  While I'm gone I want to be able to keep my friends and family updated, though I don't want to commit to a trail journal.  While I'm gone I will try to post brief updates every few weeks and I'll try to write a proper account when I return (hopefully I won't be part of the 80%).

I also want to document some of the planning and preparation that I am doing.  Whether I succeed or fail, I can look back at my planning and see what I did right and what I did wrong.  If I try to do another long trip in the future, this will be incredibly helpful.  Also, other people considering a thru-hike can see my successes and failures as early as the planning stage, so maybe I can help others avoid my (presumably embarassing) mistakes.

As of right now I have accumulated pretty much all of the gear I think I will need.  I've also purchased plane tickets, and will be departing for Atlanta on February 19 (I will be hiking north).  I'm starting a little earlier than normal as I want to have lots of time to finish before University.  I'll have more time constraints than most hikers since I'm not an American citizen and can only spend 6 months in the USA.  I'll also have to deal with winter conditions (and this year looks like it'll be harsh), so I expect to have some difficulty in the early going.

If anyone with thru-hiking experience happens to stumble upon my blog, I definitely welcome any feedback.  I want to do everything I can to make my hike successful.