Three months ago, as summer began, we updated our Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers' Tales. Northbounders had already been on the Trail for three months by then.
Many hikers timed their arrival in Damascus, Virginia, to coincide with the Trail Days celebration there in mid-May. Afterward, the long trek through Virginia taught them the true meaning of the "Virginia Blues."
Some would-be thru-hikers came off the Trail in Damascus or Troutville. Others held on all the way to Harpers Ferry.
A popular but unsubstantiated statistic would have us believe 25% of those who begin their adventures to tread the AT from Georgia to Maine (or vice-versa) actually go all the way. If that's true, 75% of those who begin fall away from the path at some point.
In my humble estimation, all those who saved the money, made the time, took the risk, bought the gear, packed their bags and hit the Trail were successful.
No, not like little kids in elementary school who all get trophies whether they make a contribution to the team or not.
Hitting the Trail is different. You don't simply wake up one day, call in sick, feed the cat, pay a bill or two and look around your place for your Keds, an old army sack and a shower curtain before you plug "Springer Mountain" into your GPS.
Hundreds of hikers spent months and hundreds of dollars shipping food to arduously selected drop-off points. Tents, backpacks, poles, water purifiers, stoves, boots, socks and everything else was studied, examined, gathered, weighed and packed.
In my humble opinion, everyone who says goodbye to friends, family and jobs to begin the Appalachian Trail is successful. If you did your best. If you went as far as you could. If you really tried, congratulations! You've gone farther than every mere dreamer ever will.
Some folks never gave up. Yes, maybe they had more money or more support or they were in better shape or ... whatever. They earned the appellation: Thru-Hiker!
But it wasn't easy for any of them.
Learn for yourself how they made it. When they almost quit. Why they pressed on and how they became thru-hiker success stories.
This is good reading. Non-fiction and mostly non-BS.
If you're planning on being among the next batch of thru-hikers, study how others were successful. You'll be educated and inspired.
I hope it helps you on your thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail or wherever you wander.
Tags: Appalachian Trail, Hiking, and News
Those who attempt to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail are heroes. Take the hike with them by reading these thru-hikers' tales.
The 2014 Warwick Appalachian Trail Community Day has an agenda packed with joyous ways to celebrate the AT, those who hike it and those who want to someday.
Thousands of hikers are attempting a thru-hike of the AT. Only 25% will make it to Mt. Katahdin, but they'll all have great Appalachian Trail Hiker Stories.