The Appalachian Trail – American Classic Scenic Trail!
Anyone who enjoys nature and taking long walks into the woods would definitely be on board that the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, also recognized by many as the AT, is the most popular hiking trail that provides one of the best organized tours in the world for hikers. The trails provides the Triple Crown of long distance hiking in the United States along with the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail.
The 2,174 miles of the Appalachian Trail spreads through 14 states of the US is still considered a number one choice to most hardcore and short term hikers. The northern starting point of the Appalachian Trail is located in Maine and the southern point is in found in the state of Georgia. Between these two ends, runs one of the most thrilling trails in the world that makes anyone who walk through it an admirer of natural beauty the earth has to offer and is the home to a few endangered plant and animal species.
Usually, Appalachian Trail hikers like to start hiking the trail from North Georgia to Maine than doing the opposite of that. These hikes most commonly begin in the month of March or April. They are known as the ‘north-bounders’ or NOBO and also GAME (Georgia(GA)-to-Maine(ME)), while hikes starting from the opposite direction are called SOBO or MEGA. 30 trail clubs and multiple associations maintain the Appalachian Trail. In terms of management, the National Park Service and the nonprofit organization known as the Appalachian Trail Conservancy are in charge.
75 miles of the Appalachian Trail is in the state of Georgia, which consist of the southern point at Springer Mountain which is 3,280 feet above the ground. The long twisting trail that starts 8 miles north of the Amicalola Falls is definitely a journey through North Georgia’s macrocosm of natural history. Across mountains such as Blood, Trey, and Big Cedar and gaps like Addis, Neels, and Woody, The Appalachian Trail illustrates and provides great anticipations to hiker about a whole new world when they are still walking through the North Georgia part of the trail.
During winter, most of the Appalachian trail is usually coated with snow. But when the weather is switching to spring, the whiteness all around the Appalachian trail gets away and brightful world of colorful flora and fauna comes to life. There is a large presence of wildflowers such as the bloodroot, trillium, and azalea in the region during this time. And in the summers the laurel and rhododendron take over.
The Appalachian Trail Options
The Appalachian Trail have 22 trail options for hikers within the state of Maine. The first six are usually known to be on the eastern side of Maine, which offers a number of days of great hiking adventure and natural wonders. Here are few ones that are most popular:
Mount Katahdin begins the Appalachian Trail from Millinocket town. This is the northern side of the trail which is approximately 10.4 mile long, a hike that takes you out and back. Standing tall at about 5,267 feet, this route usually takes hikers between 9 to 10 hours to finish. Along the way, hikers pass through the Katahdin Stream Falls.
Also, near Millinocket city, the Baxter ponds are found…it is an easier and moderate Appalachian trail hiking option that swifts through numerous waterways. This route is approximately a 9.9 mile long, with height gain of only 540 feet, and takes hikers about 5.5 from start to finish. Along the trail, the Nesowadnehunk Stream and waterfalls, the West Branch of Penobscot River and various other small water bodies are found.
Northern Lake Country
Appalachian trail hikers who take this route, spend approximately 12 hours. The trail stretches about 17.4 mile, point-to-point moderate along the city of Greenville. The are lots of tall trees, placid lakes, and surging streams around, no roads nearby the trail, and no stop to get any supplies before reaching Abol Bridge.
Central Lake Country
This Appalachian trail route is running along the Greenville city and requires approximately 6 hours to finish. It is 8.3 miles long, and represents the most beautiful part of the country in the Maine woods. An old-growth white pine forest and other stunning sights of sparkling lakes, even the imposing granite face of Mt. Katahdin, Crescent Pond and Pollywog Gorge are found along this trail.
Southern Lake Country
This average to requiring point to point Appalachian trail which is found closeby Millinocket city stretches for about 14.9 miles needs 10 hours to finish. The route passes through Maine’s Lake Country, it is uneven terrain of lowland which was a result of glacial ice.
White Cap Mountain
This 28.1 mile strenuous point-to-point route near Brownville Junction is a backpacking trip over White Cap’s summit. With an elevation gain of 2,994 feet, this trail takes 17 hours to complete.
This is another intense and requiring Appalachian trail which closeby Monson which stretches about 16.2 miles and needs 12 hours to finish. Even though it is known to be as one of the lower mountain chains in the Maine part of the Appalachian Trail, it passes through five major points making it a very rugged hike. This Appalachian trail consists of about 4,000 vertical feet between the climbing and ascending. People walking through this trail appreciates large variety of panoramic views of the Maine woods, sometimes can be momentarily views of Katahdin’s granite summit. Once a hiker is on this trail, there are no detour options or supply point until the end.
Monson Slate Hills
Monson is a 14.2 miles Appalachian trail that needs about 10 hours to finish. This trail takes the southernmost part of the 100 Mile Wilderness, passes through the Monson Slate Hills, including many small water bodies, and the highest waterfall on the Appalachian Trail.
The trail is found closeby Monson town, has 6.3 miles and needs 3 hours to finish. This is a laid back Appalachian trail hiking of the woods with very minimal sights to see.
Moxie Bald Mountain
This Appalachian trail elevation gain is up to 1,729 feet, up the Moxie Bald and passed through a tiny rapid on Baker Stream. Other things seen along the trail are, a single-cable crossing downstream, and sometimes blueberries and raspberries when in season. This route is along Bingham town, has 9.6 miles and requires 5-6 hours to finish.
Pleasant Pond Mountain
This is an average out-and-back Appalachian trail close to Caratunk town. This Appalachian trail stretches 3.2 miles and only needs 2 hours to finish. It is a steep trail but not long and allows a laid back hike. This trail is easy to go through, even though it is a bit rugged in certain places.
This Appalachian trail passes closeby New Portland town, and runs about 17.5 miles long that needs 9 hours to finish. It swifts through numerous water bodies, along streams and via the Kennebec River. In addition, this route passes a portion of the Arnold Trail ( the path of the legendary march led by Col. Benedict Arnold in 1775) and Jerome Brook on a small width footbridge. The path then swifts by a swampy area that is full of cedar trees.
This is a demanding loop on the Appalachian trail, which located close by New Portland town and streching approximately 13.8 miles. It requires 7-8 hours of hiking to finish the whole path. The trail takes hikers through the westernmost point in the Bigelow Range (Little Bigelow). At this place, stunning sights of the Flagstaff Lake country and the Dead River can easily be seen. The trail can be deceptive during wet weather and crosses via some distant and eroded areas, but with vast number of stunning scenes and resources.
The above is a sneak peak of the Appalachian Trail options that hikers can take. That being said it is not a necessity to go through this, hikers may have their own favorites, such as the Blood Mountain in Union County which is most selected and considered one of the most liked point in the Appalachian trail. The mountain names itself is a constant reminder about a battle that occured between the Cherokee and the Creek Indians. But the past is not the main attraction of the Blood Mountain, it is also Appalachian Trail’s highest peak in Georgia and the sixth highest spot in the entire state.
The Not So Known Facts About The Appalachian Trail
- The Appalachian Trail passes through six national parks, swifts through eight national forests and crosses fourteen states. This famous trail accommodates more than 2,000 extinct plant and animal species. The lowest incline of the trail is 123 feet at the Trailside Museum and Zoo, in Bear Mountain, New York, and the highest peak is 6,626 feet in Clingman’s Dome located in Tennessee.
- Approximately between 1,500 to 2,000 hikers takes the challenge to walk through the whole the Appalachian Trail in one annually. Only about 25% completes this challenging and demanding hike, and more importantly, a challenge that requires a lot of mental stamina. 10% of hikers drop the hike the first week, and a complete 20% of hiker drop in the beginning of 30 miles, before even getting to Neel’s Gap in Georgia. The whole Appalachian trail requires 5 and 7 months to finish.
- Statistics indicate about 10,000 hikers have walked the entire length of the trail, either as through-hikers or section hikers. Due to the fact, the trail needs 5 to 6 months to finish, some hikers breaks the hike into “sections” an approach that has led to the name of the hikers and causing no difference between the two types of hikers. However if a hiker completes 2,178 miles it considered an achievement.
- Cost is another factor that plays part in enjoying the Appalachian Trail. A through hike ranges between $3,000 and $5,000, with an additional $1,000 to $2,000 being spent on gear. Hikers also have to spend money as they go through towns during the hike. Imagine yourself burning 6,000 calories a day, a cheeseburger, milkshake, etc. seems like mana from heaven. Hikers often stops for hotel accommodation every time and opportunity comes up, as the Appalachian trail gets closer and closer to the town, something that elongates the hike.
Planning For Appalachian Trail Hiking
Thinking of taking the challenge of walking through the whole Appalachian Trail? If yes, then you need to plan and well prepar. The hike is most nature and hike lovers’ dreams and most get their dreams to life. But truth be told there are some, who have horrible experience with the Appalachian Trail.
Walking the Appalachian trail can be a very proud thing or achievement to complete, full of peace, and opportunity to learn things about one self. But if no right arrangements and preparation are done all these things can not be attained. Preparing for hiking the Appalachian Trail needs to be well thought out and well planned. Here are some few tips:
- Carrying a loaded pack and walking highly inclined and rough terrains of the Appalachian Trail is very challenging. It recommended to take backpack that weighs twice as much as the standard backpack used on a practice hike.
- Do a test run before attacking the Appalachian Trail, go a for a hike in the toughest terrain available to you for a number days and nights. If unable to complete these, do not think about getting on the Appalachian trail which needs months to complete and 2000+ miles.
- Figure out the perfect time of year to go to the Appalachian trail and start the hike. This question is usually answered depending on the starting point Appalachian Trail picked. For example, if starting point is Springer Mountain in Georgia then best to start the hike in early March. If went ahead with Georgia then the finish will be in Maine at Katahdin around the September. If starting point is New York, then start the hike in June and finish at Springer Mountain in November.
- Money of course is something else you need to put in mind as you will have to eat as you pass through different points of the Appalachian Trail.
All these things hikers have to consider before taking the Appalachian Trail. But even with this, only 25% of hikers that prepared completes the whole hike. Even though, a lot of hikers only make it the first week and many only make it the first 30 miles or so. Preparing ahead for walking the whole the Appalachian Trail can be part of the adventure. Planning properly will lead to making the whole trip memorable and wonderful experience. Discover the wonders of the world, the Appalachian Trail offers some of the most scenic spots and an array of natural wonders….take a plunge!!
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