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.

Map of the AT

Map of the AT

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!

The State of Maine seal.

The State of Maine seal.

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?

Good question.

My answer is, why not?

9 thoughts on “FAQ

  1. Pam Smith says:

    Good “walking”, I have done parts in NC and Virginia and will be there again this summer! Looking forward to following your journey.

  2. Madison Porter says:

    Lindsey, I’ve been keeping up with your blog as much as I can and it sounds like you guys are having a wonderful time. I’m writing my research paper about the Appalachian Trail for Cloute’s Nature class and I need an interview. I figured you would be the perfect person. : ) I didn’t know if it would be better for me to ask you the questions on here or if you had another way that would be better for you. If you could let me know, that would be awesome! Thank you!

    • linzgordo says:

      Hi Madison! That is awesome that you’re doing your paper on the AT! I would be more than happy to answer your questions. Feel free to email me our questions if you like. I don’t have Internet much out here, but we will be taking a day off in town on Friday, so I could answer your questions then. I may also be able to do the interview over the phone on Friday if you prefer that, but AT&T service can sometimes be spotty. Whatever works for you! My email is Lindsey.cait.gordon@gmail.com

      I look forward to answering your questions!

      • Madison Porter says:

        Hey Lindsey,
        I e-mailed you yesterday my questions and I’m just wondering if you got it. I know you don’t have internet all the time.

        Thanks! Madison

      • linzgordo says:

        Hi Madison,

        I sent my answers to you late last night. Did they not send? I will try again if not.



  3. ken schultz says:

    HI, know its been a while since your trip but I am hoping you can help. You have a post about staying at the falls creek campsite, just north of Penmar park. I am planning a hike with some boy scouts and cant seem to find confirmation that there is camping near falls creek. Any info you can provide would be a huge help. Thanks so much

    • linzgordo says:

      Hi Ken, there is indeed a camp site right at Falls Creek. It’s a decent-sized campground, so you shouldn’t have a problem camping there with the scouts. How many of you will be camping there?

      • ken schultz says:

        Thank you so much for the info will prob be about 10 of us with 5 tents, we have been hiking north in sections starting at harpers ferry and dont want to skip any parts. Thanks this really saves us.

      • linzgordo says:

        No problem! It’s a nice campsite right next to the creek and quite close to PenMar. When I can access my guidebook, I’ll check to see if there are any other details I can give you. From what I remember, there should be enough space there for 5 tents.

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