Do you dream of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail, of slipping away from civilization for a while, paring down to only the simple essentials that can be carried in a backpack, and taking on a challenge that is bigger than yourself? It takes about five million steps to hike the AT from end to end, and the real first steps – to decide to do it and then make a solid plan, are perhaps the most difficult.
The Appalachian Trail isn’t the longest footpath in the world, but it is arguably the most famous and certainly the most traveled. The complete 2,189-mile trek is the ultimate backpacking adventure and the hike of a lifetime for many hikers. Several thousand people attempt the trail every year, but only a fraction who start actually finish.
In 2015, this hiker walked the entire AT – for the second time, the first in 1977 – from Springer Mtn. in Georgia to the summit of Katahdin in Maine, taking 189 glorious days to go the distance. From mid-March to early October, I wrote a series of columns for the Maine Sunday Telegram chronicling the long journey, and I have compiled those accounts into a four-part series.
Part 3 presented here covers the final leg of the long walk, through New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and finally, the Great State of Maine and Katahdin! I hope you enjoy this armchair adventure and find inspiration through my footsteps enough to maybe tackle the big hike yourself one day. Click on the highlighted links to read each piece. Enjoy!
Weary, but unrattled by the perils underfoot. Our hiker encounters snakes and bad weather, but gets closer to the end of his long trek.
Beyond Vermont, the high and mighty peaks of New Hampshire. Carey makes a side trip, to MacGrath’s Irish Pub at the Inn at Long Trail, for hearty fare and a pint of Guinness. His trail name is Beerman, after all.
The long journey leading to the final steps. With 13 states behind him, Katahdin awaits Carey Kish.
Carey Kish signs off on that long journey to Katahdin. After 189 days and 2,189.2 miles, the end of the trail is reached.
A walk in these woods rates sequel. Ample solitude, natural beauty and a life-changing experience are the rewards of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.
You can also follow my day-to-day progress on the AT through my blog, picking up here near the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border: Six-Moon Journey: The man behind the bullet-proof glass.