Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Virtual Appalachian Trail Walk - Mile 149.5

The Start.
 Typical Shelters.

(Continuing series of my virtual trail hike.  
Other posts found under the label The Virtual Appalachian Trail Hike)

Total August milage: 149.5

Springer Mountain, GA
0 Miles
So here starts my journey.  
The walking steps/miles in August have been applied to the Appalachian Trail.

Sweet Water Gap, Mile 149.5
Trail and Campsite
I think I did pretty good.
I virtually reached Sweet Water Gap, North Caroline after my first 31 days of walking on this trail.

I passed the Georgia-North Carolina border.  Nice they have a marker on the trail for that.

North Caroline - Georgia Border, Mile 76.4
The Appalachian Trail is approximately 2160 miles long.  Sometimes it is reported as 2150 miles and sometimes 2175 miles.  The distance changes because the trail is always under reconstruction somewhere and minor changes to the route are made.  The trail is cared for primarily by loving volunteers. A labor of love for sure.

Usually hikers start in Springer Mountain, Ga, in the spring and travel north to Maine to finish in the fall.  Traveling from south to North gives you the best weather at both ends of the trail while walking but there are thruhikers who start in the north (during the chilly spring) and go South (to the hot summer and fall).  Regardless of the direction traveled, hikers can experience all weather types from extreme heat with humidity and freezing temps with sleet and snow.

One of the biggest challenges from my perspective is where to sleep.  I am not big on sleeping in a tent. I have always said that "camping out" for me was staying a Days Inn, a simple and inexpensive hotel option found in most typical US states.
Mile 2
I would say these accommodations are a step down from Days Inn and a step up from pitching a tent.

I am not into bugs or rodents, and you can find these creatures as regular residents in these structures.  Other casual "residents/visitors" could include snakes, skunks and bears.  Yes, bears.  Days Inn doesn't have those!

Most of the shelters have only 3 sides.  Most have water somewhere near by.  "Bathrooms" can be found behind the nearest tree.  Sleeping in one of these is a shared experience - sleeping bags side by side like sardines in a can if the hikers are abundant.    You really get quite a sampling of humanity at these shelters and for some this might be a big negative.  You know, some of humanity isn't so great!  I guess this beats sleeping in a tent on the cold ground. And you have very little to pack up in the morning before moving on.


I have decided to track my progress against a mileage chart found at  If you are tracking your steps/miles and "walking" with me, you can find your own location against this chart and let me know how far along the trail you are.

For those who are walkers using a pedometer, you might enjoy tracking your own progress on an actual map of the Appalachian Trail.  Walker Tracker is a free on line site that provides a place to log your steps each day.  There are many other features that make this a wonderful incentivizing tool, but the most appealing feature are the "competitions" that can be joined by just clicking the "join" button.  Then each day as you log your steps, the steps are applied to any competitions you have joined.  A "little" icon (that represents you) shows up on map with all the others in the competition and marks where each person is on the trail.  Very cool!

I have started a competition called The Appalachian Trail on Walker Tracker.  It isn't really a competition - mostly an opportunity to track your progress on a trail map and see if you can finish the trail by May 1, 2013.  At Walker Tracker my name is "esknitter".  If you decide to participate there, look me up and "friend" me - friends are called "comrades" on Walker Tracker.  Be sure to tell me you are coming from my blog.

I will post Appalachian Trail blog entries at a minimum of once a month - but I suspect I will drop in to report my progress a lot more frequently than that.

Hope to see you on the trail!  But if not at Walker Tracker, at least here on my blog.

Happy Trail Walking!


  1. This is interesting! We do virtual works for our wellness program at work, but I never thought of doing it on my own! Great tip, and I'm going to check out your links. As far as the real trail, I've hiked small sections here and there, having spent many vacations in GA, NC, VA...and I lived in Front Royal, VA for a while so we had lots of opportunity. Actually hiking the entire trail was a kind of dream of mine when I was younger. I enjoyed this post!

  2. Good start. I'll be walking right along with you. : )

  3. That first trail marker is a handsome classic. Did you read the Bill Bryson book about his hike there?


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