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Buck30 - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2009

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Brian (Buck-30)
Begins: Mar 18, 2009
Direction: Southbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, Nov 2nd, 2013
Start: Front Royal
End: Chantilly
Daily Distance: 0
Trip Distance: 2,179.5

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 2,098
Journal Visits: 42,042
Guestbook Views: 1,549
Guestbook Entrys: 42

Appalachian Trail Map

AT Conclusion

I thought I'd log a few random thoughts about my hike:

-These 1200 miles were about as good as miles can get on the AT. Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are always gorgeous and then the typically not so great stretch from Connecticut to Harpers Ferry was really improved because of the Fall colors. I've never hiked through a Fall before and considering that the forest can get pretty boring the colors really made the scenery brilliant.

-Going southbound late in the season wasn't what I thought it would be. The first month I walked past hundreds of Northbounders and because I would only see them for a minute and cause I never stay in shelters, there was no bond with any hikers. After that month the Northbounders were gone and any Southbounders were well ahead of me so it was fairly lonely on the trail. Not lonely in a bad way but one thing that theoretically makes the AT great is the social experience which I got just about none of that.

-I thought instead of having the AT social experience I would have the trail more to myself. This turned out to be wrong as well. There were always overnighters and section hikers at the shelters and the weekends could be crazy with day hikers. Not that this was terrible, but it wasn't quite expected I guess.

-I found the noise pollution to be really, really annoying. With the exception of my last night I can't even remember the last time I had a truly quiet night. This was easily the most disappointing aspect of my hike. I truly value and enjoy camping in the wilderness and the AT failed miserably for 600 or more miles.

-Not surprisingly the green tunnel was the green tunnel. Having branched out to other, more obscure trails that aren't necessarily completed I really enjoy a varied hike. Road walking, farm walking, whatever. It's nice to have a change of pace. The AT is just so, so much forest. I get it that this is how they protect the trail and make it the most wilderness they can but so much of the hike I could hear roads that I would rather be able to see something say walking through farmland and have noise than always be in the forest and still have noise.

-This hike was the best I ever did not spending money on lodging. I spent a total of $ 110 which is really low. I did spend a lot of money on food and coke which I get a lot of enjoyment out of.

-I seemed to have crossed some line where not showering or doing laundry matters to me. If a shower presents itself, sure I'll take one but I just don't seem to care much anymore. It's not to say I was disgusting. I shaved about once a week and cleaned up in streams a lot but an actual shower just didn't really matter much to me unless it was easy and free. Same with laundry.

-If you've been reading this journal I'm sure you noticed I've become rather crodgidy when it comes to other hikers and peace and quiet. I was probably the most anti social I've ever been. I think it has to do with the timing and direction of my hike. One of the things I really like about thru hiking is how peaceful it is. On a typical northbound hike I can talk to and bond with other hikers during the day and then at night camp on my own and get that peacefulness. On this hike, since there wasn't a group of hikers around me, the only way to meet people was to stay at shelters which I hate or spend a lot of time in town or at hostels. I really didn't have much of a social experience and usually found it annoying to not actually see people hiking but always at the shelters.

Overall, these 1200 miles were actually quite great because I hiked through the brilliant Fall. But otherwise the AT just isn't for me anymore. I can't sit around talking about gear or drinking, smoking and partying. I can't sit around and talk about how amazing an accomplishment hiking the AT is. It's too bad. I've lost that innocence of a newby thru hiker in 2002 who was once so amazed that I walked from Georgia to Maine. 11 years ago the AT changed my life. It's just that I can never go back to the amazement of that first hike.

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Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is more than 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 and first completed in 1937, it traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Learn more: www.appalachiantrail.org

 

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