The Appalachian Trail spreads across 2,190 miles through 14 different states and is considered as the longest continuous hike in the world. Every year, as a ritual, millions of hikers walk across this mammoth stretch though only a few go on to complete the entire distance. The Appalachian Trail is known to be treacherous at some stretches and beautiful and rugged in a few. The ones who undertake the walk usually begin from somewhere in the southernmost trailhead located on Springer Mountain in Georgia. That’s because the northernmost section of the Appalachian Trail, which ends on Mt. Katahdin in Maine, is widely considered to be the toughest part of the entire trek.
Because of the distance this trail covers, the terrain it goes over are varied. The weather too keeps changing. It is hence, important to plan the hike and pack accordingly. Let us quickly look at some of the planning ones should indulge in while getting ready to walk the trail.
When to start and which direction to go. This is important and both are related. The geography and the weather compliments each other. As earlier mention “through Hikers” usually start from the southernmost trailhead located on Springer Mountain in Georgia. This is done to avoid the most difficult part of the journey.
The weather also plays a big part. If you start in late winter, then Georgia is the place form you would need to embark from. This is done to avoid the heavy snow and the extreme cold conditions that are common at the northern part of the trail. If it’s the summer, then the best place to start for the trail is from Katahdin. That is because the temperature will e much cooler than down south. Should you plan to start during the fall, it is advisable to start in Maine and travel south at a quicker pace, as you’ll want to avoid the early onset of winter and get into the warmer sections before the snow begins to stop everything in its path.
Travel light because you have a long-distance to cover. However, not too light. While planning for the hike, list down the areas you would be crossing and research about the geography during that period in time. Pack accordingly. Now since the distance is long, the weather too will keep changing along the route. Pack the essentials. It is possible to walk the entire trail with a backpack weight of fewer than 25 pounds.
There is no need to carry a tent since there are more than 250 huts along the trail that allows you to spend the night. The distance between huts varies from 8 mils to 30 miles.
Fitness and nothing beyond should be the priority. This is a long walk with lots of going up and down, so if your body is unable to cope with the rigors of hiking, this endeavor isn’t going far.