Hiking Log – Almost Done
This is part 26 of excerpts from the trail log which was located on a New York portion of the Appalachian trail. For the post which explains this series, click here. You can read all the previous hiking posts by clicking here.
Each new edition includes a quote from a hiker, along with this writer’s insight into what the person might have meant. Your interpretation may be different!
Following is my selection of this week’s thoughts of a hiker.
Can’t believe it’s almost over. Only 2 more miles until I finish my thru-hike. There are a lot more bugs around than when I got off trail at the next road last December. I’m going to miss the trail and everyone I’ve met along the way. ME –> NY <– GA
As I’ve mentioned before, the entire Appalachian Trail from one end to the other is 2,190 miles. Hiking straight through can take between 5-7 months, or even longer. If time off from work is an issue, another way to hike the trail would be to do it in sections. For example, some people hike a state at a time, which could take years to finish. Others start in the middle somewhere and walk north or southbound, and then come back to the same starting point at a different time and walk the opposite way.
This person had a slightly different plan. He walked from Georgia to New York in one year, and then came back and walked from Maine to the same spot in New York the next. We don’t know if he started at the same time each year, but it’s quite possible. The Georgia to NY hike would have taken him through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and finally New York, for somewhere around 1200-1300 miles. He ended that year’s hike in December. The next year he hiked through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, again ending in NY. That would have been another 800-900 miles which ended in August. Both portions would have been very long and challenging.
I wonder whether this hiker started the first year, with full expectation to do the entire trail in one year. Perhaps he started later than he expected and by December wasn’t as far along as he planned and he was running into nasty weather by then. Hiking through Maine in January or February would not be recommended! So perhaps he stopped in New York, and had to make arrangements to get home. As he drove home, he made a commitment that he was going to finish the trail next year, and his plans commenced.
I also wonder whether anytime during the year before he started the southward route he thought about NOT finishing the hike. Perhaps he remembered the blisters, exhaustion, falls, difficulty lugging his pack, bugs, upward climbs, rocks, sunburn and all the challenges of the trail. But even if so, the last sentence of his last entry into a trail log perhaps highlights why he did complete part two of the Appalachian Trail hike. It was due to the trail itself. The people he met. The ability to say he finished 2,200 miles of hiking.
Regardless of what he thought, the fact remains that he is done. I am in awe of anyone who can complete this hike. It’s quite an accomplishment. Kudos, hiker, kudos.