What is the Appalachian Trail?
Also known as the AT, the Appalachian Trail stretches approximately 2,180 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Katahdin in Maine along the Appalachian Mountain Range. The trail passes through 14 states which include Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
“The A.T. was completed in 1937 and is a unit of the National Park System. The A.T. is managed under a unique partnership between the public and private sectors that includes, among others, the National Park Service (NPS), the USDA Forest Service (USFS), an array of state agencies, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and 31 local Trail-maintaining clubs.” -Appalachian Trail Conservancy (www.appalachiantrail.org)
Side note: This year, the trail is 2,185.9 miles long. It changes from year-to-year depending on any changes in trail routes.
What is a thru-hiker?
A thru-hiker is someone who hikes the entire trail in one journey. That’s what we’ll be attempting in March. The number of hikers varies from year to year, but about 2,000 people attempt to hike the trail and only 1 in 4 will finish their thru-hike. Staggering statistics, I know. There are a lot of reasons why people drop out. We’re hoping to beat the odds and walk home to Maine.
How long will it take you to thru-hike?
If all goes according to plan, we’ll summit Katahdin in 4 to 6 months from our start date on March 14th. That puts us at finishing somewhere between July and September, but I’m thinking we’ll be closer to finishing in August or September.
What do NOBO AND SOBO mean?
NOBO is short for northbound and SOBO of course is southbound. We’ll be considered NOBO hikers.
What is trail magic?
Trail magic is this awesome thing that comes in many forms. It can be in the form of soda, candy, hot meals, maybe some ibuprofen, or even a place to sleep, a good meal, and a hot shower at a person’s home. A little can mean a lot, especially to a dirty, hungry, and tired thru-hiker. If you ever have the chance to do some trail magic, I would highly recommend it!
What is the meaning of the title of your blog, “Dirigo Bound?”
I came up with Dirigo Bound from the state motto of Maine. Our state motto is Dirigo, which is Latin for “I lead.” In the state seal that I’ve added below, you’ll see Dirigo with the North Star, Polaris above it. Maine was the northernmost state when it was admitted to the Union in 1820 and therefore the addition of Polaris, also used to guide sailors out on the open sea. The history behind it all is pretty interesting and since we’re walking north to Maine, our home, it was only fitting that we inject some Maine pride into this blog. We love the 207 and we’re hoping that the whole mindset of hiking to our home state will help us complete our thru-hike. If you’re out there on the trail, I’ll be sporting a small Maine flag on the back of my pack!
Where will you sleep?
We’ve got a few options when it comes to sleeping. We’ll have our tent, but we can also sleep in one of the many shelters along the trail. These are three or four-walled structures along the trail also called huts or lean-tos depending on where you are along the trail. We can also stay at a hostel or hotel in town when we’re in need of a bed and a shower.
What about food?
We’ll be able to re-supply every few days in towns that lie along the trail. The AT runs through some towns and others are only a few miles from the trail. We’ll have a few mail drops along the way where we will have my parents send us boxes of needed supplies and food, but we’ll mostly stick to buying food in towns along the trail.
Why are you guys doing this again?
My answer is, why not?