According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, roughly 2,500-3,000 people hit the Appalachian Trail with the goal to thru-hike from one end to the other in one gulp. I hate to break this to you, but it's a generally accepted fact that only 25-30% of them make it all the way.
My math is worse than my memory, but we're talking about fewer than 1,000 hikers who attain their lofty goal to be called a thru-hiker.
Some who don't make it are out of shape. Others run out of money before they run out of trail. Others become injured or have family emergencies or life gets them, one way or another.
You cannot predict what life is going to whack you with after you've been on the Appalachian Trail for five or six months. You can, however, learn how other people have made it ... and what those who didn't make it have to say that might benefit those who follow in their steps.
Seriously. If you're facing a tremendous challenge, who do you want advice from? Someone who has read eleventy-nine books on the topic or someone who has been there and done that?
We have a treasure chest of advice for you on how to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail from those who have done it themselves. Our 2014 Thru-Hikers Tales recount the victories of more than 70 adventurers who made it all the way during this season. If that's not enough, we have dozens more for you to read -- in their own words, usually -- from previous years.Please allow me to get all nasty and grumpy for a minute. You can read about how to swim but that doesn't make you a swimmer. You can memorize the precise gram-weight of every trail gizmo and regale your friends with the difference between the Gorphnik G-007 Butterfly Tent and the Frammis Mini-Micro-Butterfly Model FM3-SXT. You can know learn about every mail drop, shelter, hill and/or valley. But to be a thru-hiker you have to take the five-million steps between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
The best bargain you'll ever find for how to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail is right here. For free. The real deal on how to become a thru-hiker ... from thru-hikers.
Go for it. But be part of the 30% -- or less -- that make it all the way.
Tags: Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, News, and Robert Sutherland Travel Writer
The best trail mix is healthy, tasty and beneficial. So is this Appalachian Trail advice that will inspire you and empower you to thrive the Trail.
For every thru-hiker, there are 1,000 hikers who hit the Trail for shorter distances. All could benefit from the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers' Companion.