why extend the Appalachian Trail?

We got an important comment from the official AT.

UPDATE:

“Actually the terminii of the Appalachian Trail were determined by an act of the U.S. Congress when it established it as the first National Scenic Trail in 1968. To “lengthen” the official Trail would take a similar act of Congress.”

Martin A. Bartels – www.appalachiantrail.org

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original post:

Most finish the AT at Mount Katahdin, Maine.

But the Appalachian Mountains continue into Canada. Surely the standard 2,175mi is not long enough.

You could cross the U.S.-Canada border at Fort Fairfield and add another 500mi or so. This is one of the extensions referred to as the International Appalachian Trail.

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Trek Through to the True End of the Appalachian Mountains
– GORP

But is that far enough?

Why not extend your walk through to the north tip of Newfoundland?

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source – InternationalAT.org

Walking for walking’s sake is not necessarily a good thing. Because it’s there, not a good enough reason.

Be discriminating when you choose your hikes. That’s what besthike.com is all about.

Life is short.

grand slam of American hiking

Ken Powers and his wife Marcia have done all four: Appalachian, Pacific Crest, Continental Divide and — a weak fourth — the American Discovery Trail.

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larger version

Having done none of the four myself, I was interested in their answer to this question:

Which trail is the hardest, best, prettiest, most fun?

This is a difficult question to answer. The Appalachian Trail is usually considered the hardest because of it greater (and steeper) elevation gains.

But many things on the AT seem easier because of its proximity to civilization. Sometimes it is too easy to go off-trail to get pizza and ice cream.

Best, prettiest, and most fun becomes a subjective question. We usually say the Pacific Crest Trail is the prettiest. It seemed to have the most views per mile. But the Continental Divide Trail also had great views and was our greatest accomplishment. The constant focus on navigating the CDT was an additional challenge.

The western portion of the ADT also has incredible views. The red rock areas of Utah are incredibly beautiful, but bring your own water.

We felt the Appalachian Trail was a more social trail. There were many more hikers and the frequent shelters became a gathering place for hikers every night. The trail passes through hardwood forests for most of the trail. The views are limited by the constant cover of leaves. Our AT hike was very different than hiking in the western states.

FAQs

(via Two-Heel Drive)

planning for the Continental Divide Trail

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Continental Divide Trail map – GORP

Southbound Or Northbound?

The choice between nobo and sobo may depend on snow conditions in a given year, and some experts feel sobo gives the best chance of completing a linear thru-hike. It’s important to know that there will be snow in Montana in May so sobo hikers should check with area rangers and land managers to see how deep the snowpack is before choosing this option. …

Backpacker

Now is the time to organize for 2007.

a South African mega-hike UPDATE

I saw on the Two Heel Drive blog details of the Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative.

UPDATE – This hilarious picture (the socks are not hers) comes from a collection contributed by 7 hikers, so far. It gives you a good feel for this new hike.

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more photos on a group shared Flickr photo stream

This extreme hiking experience is the first of its kind in South Africa, and your opportunity to traverse more than 400km of mountain landscape in the Southern Cape in support of the establishment of conservation corridors.

The objective of the Mega-Hike, is two-fold, firstly to give hikers the opportunity of walking through remarkable landscapes and secondly to raise funds for the Eden to Addo Conservation Corridor Initiative. The mega-hike is an inspiring walk through some of the most incredible landscapes of the region linking various nature reserves, national parks, working farms, communities and private lands.

official Eden to Addo Corridor Initiative website
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Via Alpina – Europe’s best long distance hike

Via Alpina, 3100mi (4989km), is Europe’s best trans-Alps trail.

In the summer of 2005 signage was completed for the entire route. Start packing.

Hikers choose from 5 main colour coded routes. The Red Trail, for example, crosses borders 44 times and traverses the Alps in 161 distinct stages.

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The Via Alpina includes some of the most famous hikes in the alps: the Tour du Mont Blanc in France, the Triglav Lakes Valley Circuit in Slovenia, and the Col du Grand-Saint-Bernard between Switzerland and Italy, among them.

The official website is excellent offering detailed information on trail stages, hiking distances, GPS coordinates, challenge levels, and lodging options from huts (or refuges, in Alpine parlance) to chalets. In 5 languages!

NEED TO KNOW: In June and September there’s usually ample space in the hut systems along the Via Alpina. In July and August—or if you’re traveling with a large group—it’s smart to plan ahead. The Via Alpina Web site (www.via-alpina.org) lists contact information for huts, lodges, chalets, and B&Bs along each stage of the trail.

Another good starting point is Alps Travel along the Via Alpina – National Geographic Adventure Magazine

planning for the Pacific Crest Trail

Most PCT thru-hikers will start from Campo on the Mexican border after the annual kickoff party in late April or early May and hike northbound to Manning Provincial Park along the U.S-Canadian border in 5 to 6 months, averaging about 20 miles a day. Some PCT thru-hikers will finish in 4.5 months–starting in mid-May and finishing in late-September, averaging about 22 miles a day with a zero (rest) day every 7-10 days. Planning to do it this quickly, however, doesn’t factor in time for contingencies like illness and other medical issues.


plan your trip on the pacific crest trail
– Backpacker

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introducing Andrew Skurka

Andrew Skurka was named 2005 Person of the Year by Backpacker magazine. He hiked 7700mi across North America, 339 days, the first to complete the new Sea-to-Sea Trail (C2C).

(This is not the American Discovery Trail (ADT) from Delaware to California. The C2C is tougher and almost 1000mi longer than the ADT.)

Interview – Andrew Skurka

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finishing in the Pacific Ocean

Andrew’s home page is AndrewSkurka.com

introducing Chris Townsend

townsend.jpgChris is one of the world’s leading long distance wilderness walkers.

In 1988 he was the first to walk the continental divide of the Canadian Rockies, a 1600mi challenge. The book is titled High Summer.

He published too his 2002 desert trek: Crossing Arizona

In 1996 he climbed all 517 summits over 3000ft in the Scottish highlands.

He has walked the 2600mi Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, the 3000mi Continental Divide from Mexico to Canada and 1000mi south to north through the Yukon.

In Europe he has walked 1300mi end-to-end through Scandinavia and 1250mi from Lands End to John O’Groats in Britain.

The Backpacker\'s HandbookIf you buy only one how to hiking book, it’s his Backpacker’s Handbook.

Aside from his books, he’s authored hundreds of articles, and contributes regularly to TGO (The Great Outdoors) magazine. He’s their gear guru.

Chris Townsend’s official website.

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