Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Appalachian Trail Section Hike 2015 - An Introduction

My AT journeys to date -- 1/3 of the way done!
My route for this year's hike. I'll be going north to south, finishing in Harper's Ferry.

It's Hiking Time!

I've been backpacking on the Appalachian Trail (the "AT") since the late 1990s. I fondly remember my first multi-day trip -- 4 days and 3 nights hiking north from the James River to Reed's Gap on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 60 miles later I arrived at Reed's Gap -- exhausted, blistered, and sun-burned -- and I couldn't wait to get back out on the trail.

In the years since, I've knocked off 721 miles of the AT, traveling in sections from Erwin, TN, to the MD/PA border. Each year I try to add on a new section, and this year I've decided to write about my preparation and the hike itself.

The Plan

I'm currently training for the Richmond Marathon in November, so I didn't want to take too much time out of marathon prep for a hike. So this year I'm blocking out 7-8 days to hike south from Duncannon, PA, to Harper's Ferry, WV, a total of about 125 miles.

Pennsylvania doesn't usually show up on hiker's "must do" sections of the AT, but the hike is close, and I can drive to it, so there's less of an issue for travel time and expense. And it should be fun to finish in Harper's Ferry, the traditional "psychological" half-way point of the trail, and home of the headquarters for the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, the organization that coordinates the clubs that maintain the trail.

I'm planning on starting my hike on September 17 -- only a month away! In the meanwhile, I'll be posting about a variety of topics -- how I plan for a hike, the gear, clothing, and food I take with me, and some of what's involved when you actually hit the trail. And during the hike I'm hoping to post regular updates -- I hope you'll join me along the way!


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