A little history about the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, otherwise known as the Appalachian Trail. We hikers  tend to just call it the AT, for short.

The trail is about 2200 miles long and passes through 14 states starting on Springer Mountain in Georgia to the northern terminus on Mount Katahdin in Maine. Most of the trail is in the wilderness but some of it enters local towns. It crosses many roads and rivers along the way as well.

One of the earliest hikers to draw attention to the trail was Earl Shaffer. Earl was a WWII veteran, and told a friend that he was “going to walk off the war”. He completed the first documented thru-hike in 1948. He went on to complete the trail twice more, the last time at the age of almost 80 years. He was the oldest hiker to do so at the time, in 1998. This is what Warrior Hike is all about for our group…to walk off the war. Hopefully we all end this journey with a little more hope, more faith, and with a new sense of direction in our lives. If we shed just one bad memory over these many steps we take, it’ll all have been worthwhile. We all have something in common known only to those that have endured war. War is Hell, as Sherman well said. Please pray for us on this journey.

There are many different ways to complete the entire AT. The most popular is what is called a thru-hike. Generally most start in the south in Georgia and hike north to Maine. NO-BO is what we hikers call it for short. It’s the most popular way to complete the entire trail. You start in Spring and end in Autumn/Fall. Another way to complete the trail is to start in Maine and hike south to Georgia. Some prefer to do a So-Bo because there are less hikers starting in Maine, and it offers more solitude. It also starts out with some of the toughest hiking on the entire trail from day one. Hiking No-bo gives you a chance to acclimate gradually to the rigors of hiking with a pack on your back for many miles a day. There is also a way to complete the trail by doing it by sections, thus this way is called Section Hiking. There’s also Leap Frogging, starting in say Harpers Ferry, WVa. and hiking north to Pennsylvania, then jumping north to Maine and going South back to Penn. Then starting at Harpers Ferry and finishing up in the fall in Georgia. This way you get to see the changing of the season and fall colors of the Virginia highlands. Roughly less than 10% that attempt a thru-hike each year complete it. We’re determined to defy those odds!

I’m exceptionally grateful for this opportunity of a lifetime. I’m thankful for the founders of Warrior Hike, Mark Silvers and Sean Gobin. Without their tireless legwork and efforts, this wouldn’t be possible. It’s been one of my dreams for many years now and I guess it’s one of the things on my bucket list I can check off upon completion,God willing! Life is Good!

I’ll try my best to keep this blog up to date and maybe even throw a few pictures up of our activities. Stay tuned!


About William Guill

Bill is a two-tour veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He's embarking on a journey of a lifetime with 12 other fellow veterans in the Warrior Hike "Walk off the War" program to hike the Appalachian Trail. ~ From Springer Mountain, Georgia all the way to the terminus of the trail at Mount Katahdin, Maine. Roughly 2200 miles of trail to be conquered starting March 17th, 2013. Let the journey begin!
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2 Responses to A little history about the Appalachian Trail

  1. murphy dean riggan says:

    good luck and enjoy. keep us supplied with many pics. oh btw, pack a pistol in your bacpack, just in case.

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