Remember when you thought the AT was America’s Final Frontier of Wilderness & Solitude? Yeah. Things change. As of 4 PM on April 5, 2016, 1,321 hikers had signed their names in the Thru-Hiker Registry at Amicalola Falls State Park, home of the Approach Trail to the AT.
Instead of everyone hitting the Trail in Georgia all at once, smart hikers start at Harpers Ferry, WV — near the halfway mark of the Trail — and hike northbound to Katahdin in Maine or southbound to Springer Mountain. When they finish that section they have the option to Flip Flop and go SoBo from Baxter State Park back to Harpers Ferry, they can get off the train in Albany with seven strangers or they can go northward from Harpers Ferry to end the Trail in Maine.