I asked my Facebook followers for any questions they had about me doing the AT. Here are some of the top questions…
Why do so many people Hike the AT? Over 2 million people hike some portion of the AT every year. Whether that’s the entire thru hike or a day trip, it’s a great trail to enjoy. So many people hike it because of its proximity to so many east coast cities. It’s only an hour or so from DC, Baltimore, Atlanta, and New York. The trail is well maintained through all 14 states through volunteers and the ATC (Appalachian Trail Conservatory). For many people it’s a great day out in the mountains. For the thru hikers, well everyone has their own reasons.
What type of training is required? None. You can go at your own pace. A 87 year old dude (from Indiana) is attempting his third thru hike. He will be the oldest if completed (previous record is 82 year old completed this year).
For me, I’ve been trying to hike 20 mile day hikes once a week. I’ve started lifting legs and major muscles and core in the gym. I’ve trained with 40lb packs while doing bleacher climbs or hill runs. Preparing physically was a daily aspect. I also prepared mentally by reading books by previous hikers. I have hundreds of hours spend researching the trail and learning what I can. I meditate and have worked on listening to my body and pushing it to do great.
What’s the most difficult part of the AT? In a 2200 mile hike, there is no real answer for this. Everyone has a different struggle. The entire trail is like climbing Mt Everest 17 times! Only 1 in 8 complete the trail who set out to do it in its entirety. There are definitely more physically grueling spots but it’s the mental struggle that keeps most from doing it. Lack of sleep, lack of good meals, days of rain and bad weather, injuries, and unpreparedness are some of the major reasons people quit.
What’s the most intimidating segment of the trail? Personally, I’m not looking forward to Virginia. 1/4 of the trail goes through that state and it will be around spring time when the weather is wild. There are some serious climbs and elevation changes. There are great views you hike up to but if weather is bad, you climbed for nothing.
I’m most looking forward to PA. Most people hate that section because it’s boring and bolder fields but I will be close to friends, family and my dogs that will hopefully join for dinner or hikes!
What’s your plan post hike? Thats a huge question mark. I will need to find some type of work to start earning money after almost a year of no real job. I plan to spend the remaining of summer with my girlfriend at the beach as we try to figure out the next moves. And Tons of dog cuddles!!!