On a hike from Hog Pen Gap to Unicoi Gap in Georgia, two ladies saw an unusual sight: horses on the Appalachian Trail.
Misty Ward and Karla Borders McCarty captured the moment from their October 5, 2016 walk in the woods and posted it on Facebook. They were kind enough to grant me permission to use their photographs.
Horses are great. John Wayne rode several, so that settles it for me. But it is against federal law to ride horses on the Appalachian Trail. Even if you think you're John Wayne.
The A.T. is ... is a foot trail - travel by horse, bicycle, or motorized vehicles is not allowed.
No bicycles, dirt bikes, off-road vehicles or horses are allowed, except in small portions of Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
We're not just trying to be prissy and territorial. Horses destroy pristine trails that are lovingly maintained by thousands of volunteers along the 2189.1 mile national scenic park known as the Appalachian Trail or AT, for short.
Formal Definition of the Appalachian Trail from the "A.T. Management Principles"
"The Appalachian Trail is a way, continuous from Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia, for travel of foot through the wild, scenic, wooded. pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. It is a means of sojourning among these lands, such that visitors may experience them by their own unaided efforts.
In practice, the Trail is usually a simple footpath, purposeful in direction and concept, favoring the heights of land, and located for minimum reliance on construction for protecting the resource. The body of the Trail is provided by the lands it traverses, and its soul is in the living stewardship of the volunteers and workers of the Appalachian Trail community."
The AT is a footpath, not a horse path. If you see someone on horseback on the Trail, kindly remind them to vamoose. Don't go all Lone Ranger on them.
Take their picture. Pass it along to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. Send photos of horses on the Appalachian Trail here. They'll know what to do. Probably.
Tags: Attractions, Tourism, Appalachian Trail, Hiking, Appalachian Trail Community, News, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Clubs, Georgia Appalachian Trail Club, Robert Sutherland Travel Writer, Conservation, Hikers, Information, appalachian trail hikers, and horses on the appalachian trail
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.
You're hiking northward on the Appalachian Trail. You exit the 100-Mile Wilderness. You see Mt. Katahdin. You say to yourself, "You've got to be kidding."