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The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply The A.T., is a marked trail in the eastern United States, extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. The majority of the trail is within wilderness, although some portions do traverse towns and roads, and cross rivers.

The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers—named thru-hikers—who attempt to hike the entire trail in a single season. Earl Shaffer—an American outdoorsman and author—was the first to do so in 1948.

Passing through Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, the trail is 2,179 miles long. The typical time it takes to walk the Appalachian Trail is 5-6 months, or about 175 days.

An extension, the International Appalachian Trail, continues north into Canada and to the end of the range, where it enters the North Atlantic Ocean.

The trail was conceived by Benton MacKaye, a forester who wrote his original plan shortly after the death of his wife in 1921. MacKaye’s idea detailed a grand trail that would connect a series of farms and wilderness work/study camps for city-dwellers. In 1922, at the suggestion of Major William A. Welch, director of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission, his idea was publicized by Raymond H. Torrey with a story in the New York Evening Post under a full-page banner headline reading “A Great Trail from Maine to Georgia!” The idea was quickly adopted by the new Palisades Interstate Park Trail Conference as their main project.

On October 7, 1923, the first section of the trail, from Bear Mountain west through Harriman State Park to Arden, New York, was opened. MacKaye then called for a two-day Appalachian Trail conference to be held in March 1925 in Washington, D.C. This resulted in the formation of the Appalachian Trail Conference (now called the Appalachian Trail Conservancy), though little progress was made on the trail for several years.

From Wikipedia.org

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