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Smankin - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2010

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City: Newton
State: MA
Country: United States
Begins: Apr 2, 2010
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Thu, Jan 14th, 2010
Start: Home

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 527
Journal Visits: 5,802
Guestbook Views: 830
Guestbook Entrys: 27

Gear list Training

Appalachian Trail Map

(Click image for full size)

try that on for size


Alright, so I saw a post like this on someone else's journal and figured it would be a valuable thing for me to write about. Many people have asked me questions about my trip, so here are some answers about what I will be doing and why:

What does it mean to be thru-hiking the AT? How long will you be gone? When do you leave and return?

Thru-hiking means hiking the entire length of the trail in a single year. I will set out on April 2nd and return in early september for college. Although my initial goal was to hike in one steady swoop, I think realistically I will end up hiking 5 months until college and then finish at the first convenient opportunity I get.

How long is the trail and where does it run?

The trail is about 2, 175 miles and runs from Georgia to Maine through 14 states.

Are you carrying a 5 month supply of food?

No! My incredible parents in Newton and great aunt and uncle in Georgia have agreed to send me food at different post offices along the trail every few days or so. One thing that makes the AT so appealing is that it runs through many towns with grocery stores, another source of food.

(No Sam F and Dan T, I will not be hunting; I'm a vegetarian!)

Will you take showers?

Although I wish no, my mom wouldn't be too happy! So yes, I will be showering occasionally. There are churches or other motels that allow hikers to stay for about ten dollars and up so I will do that every so often.

Where do you sleep?

In my tent or in a three- sided shelter. These shelters are conveniently placed along the trail.

Is the Trail Safe?

The people who ask this question don't know my lovely parents! My parents wouldn't let me go if the trail wasn't safe. According to numbers, it is more safe to be on the trail than it is to be in a city! That is not to say that the trail is squeeky clean. People rely a lot on intuition to tell whether others are safe.

How much do you hike each day?

Although I will begin with about 10 miles, most hikers work up to 20+ miles a day.

Do you need a permit to hike?

In most places, no. Yet, I will be crossing through a few national parks in which I will need a permit (but those can be obtained as I enter the park).

How do you get water?

Water is scarce in very few areas along the trail. There is a lot of rainfall and running water. The AT data book is clutch for planning ahead to locate when water sources are scarce. I have a water filter and I will be hiking with a camel back to promote hydration! (as my friends know I drink a lot of water)

Do you carry a map/ how do you know where you're going?

The trail is very easy to navigate because of white blazes along the trail (which are white markers painted on trees). I will be carrying an Appalachian Data Book and Thru-hiker planner with maps.

What is the weather like/What about rain?

Night time can be chilly and the day can get hot! For campers, I will be sleeping in a 3 season bag (so not quite cool enough for a winter sleeping bag, but still chilly). Of course there will be rain and I will just keep hiking :)

Unless there is thunder of course, in which I will remove my pack, get to low elevation, in a crevasse, and squat!


Yeah I'll probably see a few of those, but Ms. Norton wants me to take her bear spray and she has advised me to look big, make noise, throw things, AND don't climb a tree or run!

I got this one today and couldn't resist: So, um, what about going to the bathroom?

You just go and you'll love it. I'll bring a little shovel, dig a hole and the rest is self explanatory from there.

If you haven't peed in the woods before, I highly recommend it! Just don't wipe with a leaf or touch the ground because of that great plant called poison ivy! Ick.

Obviously I missed some questions, so let me know if there is anything else you want me to answer!

Some people want to know why I want to do this and yet some want to come with me. Some doubt me and some want nothing to do with the woods, but cheer me on from home. No matter what your thoughts are thanks to you all for being part of my adventure so far. I'm not very good at computers, but I will try to update this ever so often.

Please feel free to comment on the guestbook; I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading and any comments

Entry 2 of 11
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Samantha's Journal

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:


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