The Appalachian Trail, also known as the A.T., runs approximately 2,200 miles, from Georgia’s Springer Mountain to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Managed by the National Park Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, this trail meanders through wilderness, across rivers and through some towns. The greatest challenge associated with the A.T. is the “thru-hike,” or an attempt to hike the whole way during just one season. If you are looking for an adventure that will let you see a great deal of the beauty of America, and you have a period of months to dedicate, then check out these tips about making it all the way from northern New England to the Old South.
There are some people who ship packages to themselves containing supplies, picking them up at small post offices along the way. However, the A.T. gives you access to quite a few towns with stores as you go, so you don’t need to worry about figuring out mailings. This way you can shop as you go, for most of the route. The only places where you might think about shipping packages is to the post office in Fontana Village, North Carolina (which also offers a place to stay and do your laundry), and to the Kincora Hostel, in Dennis Cove, Tennessee.
You’ll find almost 300 shelters along the trail, but they can get loud and crowded; the most seasoned thru-hikers recommend putting up tents instead. They are good places to stop and get the news about conditions up the trail, mooch some provisions from the short-term hikers, who are usually glad to dump the weight, and check out the shelter’s log to read the adventures of others.
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