Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Remembering the Hikers of 2007

Smoky Mountain Diner

One of the main attractors (or detractors) of hiking the Appalachian Trail is the number of other long distance hikers out there. Even if you start out late, as we did, you're bound to run into the 'herd' of hikers at some point. For us, that began around the halfway point, when we reached Boiling Springs, PA.

If you prefer solitude, the A.T. is probably not the trail for you. But if you can drop some of those expectations and embrace the unique traits that distinguish A.T. from other trails, interacting with the hiking community can be enjoyable.

As a fun challenge, last week Lauren and I began compiling a list of every long distance hiker that we personally met on the A.T. this summer. Our list of trail names can be found here.

Some of these were section hikers and some were aspiring thru-hikers. Some we met for 5 seconds, a few became recurring parts of our journey, and with some we shared a deeper connection.

We were actually surprised by how many hikers we met over the summer, probably because we were covering slightly more mileage than most. In total we were able to remember over 225 people that we met on our journey, simply because they adopted a unique trail name.

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