Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Glossary of AT Hiker Terms

Here's a picture of a NOBO through-hiker as she heads out north from Newfound Gap. 

In our posts on this blog, our various social media pages, and on Erin's blog at Appalachian Trials, we often use some terms and slang that are common to the AT hiking community, but can be pretty confusing to everyone else. For example:

"Going NOBO across Newfound Gap, I yogied a couple of weekenders for a Snickers and a Coke. Glad I did, I was feeling the hiker hunger real bad, thanks to that green blazing I did."

Monday, April 20, 2015

Three Walls and a Roof: The AT Shelters of Georgia

Springer Mountain Shelter, from a previous visit to the mountain of the same name. This is the only picture of a shelter I have.

Of the eleven National Scenic Trails in the United States, the Appalachian Trail is unique in its system of shelters. In general, these structures are placed between 6-10 miles apart from each other, which makes them accessible by a day's hike for all but slowest hikers. No two shelters are alike, as they have different capacities, were built at different times, and use different designs and materials. Some are well built, protect from the wind, and have easily accessible water. Others are barely better than no shelter, are more shelters for mice than hikers, and seem to be built to funnel the wind into the shelter area.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Saving the Hike by Getting off the Trail

The sign at Dick's Creek Gap. In a couple months I'll have a picture showing me back on the trail.

I won't be through-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2015.

Those words were hard to type, but they are true. In the calendar year 2015, I won't be walking the entirety of the Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. With that being the strict definition of a through-hiker, I will not qualify.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ten Lessons Learned in Ten days on the Trail

Me at Neel Gap. 

  1. It's as Hard as Advertised
  2. Those who have said the trail is tough are correct. It's often steep, full of ankle turning roots and knee hating rocks. It's possible in a single day that you can worry about hypothermia and heat stroke. You spend all day beating up your body, just to get up the next morning and do it all over again. The uphill climbs seem to go on forever, and the downhill climbs aren't any better, particularly for a hiker with a high center of gravity. It's often not very fun and can really feel like work.