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Hiking in the Appalachians  
by Brian Johansson

The Appalachian trail is a 2000+ mile trail that starts in Katahdin, Maine and ends at Springer Mountain in Northern Georgia. The trail will take its travelers through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia. The trail first opened as a continuous 2174 mile trail in 1937. One of the amazing parts about this trail is that every year thousands of people flock to the Appalachian trail to attempt to thru-hike, which means to hike the entire trail from end to end. Of these people only some 30% will actually be successful in their task. The rest will either give up, get injured, or have to leave the trail for some other reason.

People can either hike the trail as Northbounders hiking from Georgia to Maine or Southbounders hiking from Maine to Georgia. In either direction you are bound to pass other hikers coming in the opposite direction. Local trail clubs have setup shelters all along the trail and generally about a day's hiking distance in between each shelter. To hike the entire trail you should plan on spending anywhere from three to eight months on the trail. Planning the logistics for the trip and getting your body conditioned for the daily rigors will take several months to several years depending on your budget and physical conditioning.

Packing and planning are going to be two of the most important parts of your trip. When it comes to gear your primary concern should be weight. You have to carry everything your take with you so plan on taking only what you need. There are no fees for hiking the trail but it will end up costing somewhere between $2000-$4000 in miscellaneous expenses along the way. Hiking the entire trail can be an amazing experience but requires a lot of preparation and careful planning

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