Flocks of NoBo Hikers on the Appalachian Trail

Published Aug 16, 2014

Potential Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Mike "Cannonball" Winter at Neel Gap, GA.  ~~  Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Potential Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Mike "Cannonball" Winter at Neel Gap, GA. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Wouldn't you love to get away from the rat race and hit the Appalachian Trail (AT) where you can be alone with nature and 11,037.6 bears?

So would everyone else; especially the folks who are already on the AT semi-insanely early in the season.

As of Sunday afternoon, February 23, 2014, 67 people had signed the Thru-Hikers' Log at Mountain Crossings at Neel Gap, in the shadow of Blood Mountain.

As of 1 PM on Monday, February 24th, Kim at Amicalola Falls State Park -- home of the AT Approach Trail -- says 101 thru-hikers have signed their log book. Many more hikers sign in at the rock on Springer Mountain.

Hikers are invited to share a thought or two in the log at Blood Mountain. One person quipped (sorry, all writers are compelled to use that word once per week): "Need Crowd Control."

Potential Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Colton "Stoney" Pallanck at Neel Gap, GA. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Potential Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker Colton "Stoney" Pallanck at Neel Gap, GA. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Reports of "catastrophic ice" storms, gargantuan snowfall and a tornado watch or two have done little to cull the herd of northbound hikers.

Pop a Snickers bar to hikers like Colton "Stoney" Pallanck of Ocala, Florida, and they'd cheerfully walk into Mordor for a zero day.

There's got to be an "Adopt a Hiker" program out there somewhere but, if not, you can always hit one of the Facebook pages where 2014 hikers congregate.

Make their hike yours. Cheer them on. Root for them. Encourage them and pop them a Snickers bar once in a while. They'll be yours forever. (Whether you like it or not. Sorry.)

Mountain Crossings Hostel at Neel Gap, GA, below majestic Blood Mountain. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

Mountain Crossings Hostel at Neel Gap, GA, below majestic Blood Mountain. ~~ Photograph by Robert Sutherland

There are lots of places to meet thru-hikers. One dandy chance will be on Saturday, March 1, 2014, at Mountain Crossings on Route 129 a few miles south of Blairsville, GA. They're hosting a hike and party to celebrate the Appalachian Trail.

Flatlanders will profoundly appreciate this chance to approach and even touch (by permission only, please) a pre-stinky thru-hiker.

Please Note: Thru-hikers have been known to pose for pictures in return for a Snickers. Be wise. Only hand over the goods after you get the shot. Thank you.

Click Here for 2014 Appalachian Trail Events

Click Here for 2014 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers

Click Here for the Mountain Crossings Partay on March 1st


Tags: Events, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Hiking Gear, News, Festivals, Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer

About the Author Robert Sutherland:
Robert Sutherland is a travel writer enjoying life. Robert has two adult daughters and six grandchildren.
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