Tomorrow starts this year's long hike for me. I'll be taking a plane to D.C., then bus, metro, and train to Harper's Ferry, WV where I'll find the Appalachian Trail.
The trail runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mt. Katahdin in Maine which is about 2180 miles, but I'm only doing the northern 1165 miles this summer/fall - that's why I'm calling this my "Half Hike". Other commitments both in the earlier summer and in October have allowed me only 55 days to hike so this is how far I figured out I can go - at a pretty brisk pace.
About 2000 people or so start hiking from GA to ME each year and they all start around the same time. This creates a big bubble of people moving up the trail. Since they have different paces, the bubble spreads out the farther north it moves. I will be starting my hike at the very tail end of the bubble, and hopefully will catch up to hikers every day. I'm excited about this, but also a bit concerned...
Who will I most likely find on the trail? Well, those that are slow, injured, or got a late start. Possibly people not having a really good time. But, they've all made it over 1000 miles, so I plan to be as encouraging as I can, and learn as much from them as I can quickly.
I'm starting on a fairly easy area of the trail so I have a few hundred miles to "warm up" before reaching what seems to me like the most challenging part - the White Mountains. Since I'm hitting these barren mountain tops late in the season, I will see cold temps and possibly snow. I'm hoping for a warm, dry Indian Summer in the northeast! :-)
As usual, you can follow my progress here since I'll be carrying my Spot tracker that will blip to a satellite every 15 minutes or so, and I'll be blogging every day.
I've made it possible to read comments you leave here on my cellphone and reply to them - assuming I have coverage out there. Just a 'howdy' can be a real boost when I've been plodding down the trail for days on end, so I look forward to hearing from you.
Also, I would appreciate it if you could tell any hiker friends you might have about my hike so they can follow along.
Finally, anyone living anywhere near the Appalachian Trail is welcome to contact me and hike along. An unexpected night off the trail at someone's house has always been a great surprise!
Posted: 13:41 08-11-2014 1100
Aug 13, 2014 - Katherine Smith
Hello, I have followed your blog for some time and have used many of your resources with my cub dens and pack. We live in the northern part of NJ and would love to meet up with you when you are in the area. Maybe I could even get some of my cubs out to hike with you or just meet up for a bit. We don't want to slow you down. We can access the trail in many places throughout stokes and highpoint state parks. We have also on occasion had a hiker or 4 stay at our house if a night off the trail is in the cards. Please let me know when you anticipate being in NJ. Yours in scouting. Katherine Smith
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