How much can a 2,000-mile hike on the Appalachian Trail change a man? Take a look

In May of this year, a man set out, walking down a trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia’s Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. He kept walking for the next 153 days until he reached the top of Maine’s Mount Katahdin. He hiked along, of course, the Appalachian Trail, a stretch of hiking paths that runs more than 2,000 miles from end to end. Millions of...

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The story of Dakota Joe, a jailbird on the Appalachian Trail

It was the winter of 2013, and Dakota Joe thought he was about to die. Hail was beating a crater into the mountain’s bald face, and his Kmart jacket had stopped keeping the cold out a long time ago. His pants were soaked through to the skin—wet denim is slow to dry and wearing it on the Appalachian Trail is generally a bad idea. Every muscle in his body was tense from...

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The Amazing People I Met While Hiking the Appalachian Trail Changed My Life

by Julie Fast The Appalachian trail became my therapist. As a way to recover from a friend’s suicide, I set out on the trail that extends more than 2,000 miles from Georgia to Maine. I needed time to follow my thoughts to completion and find peace in nature. What I found instead was a motley crew of diverse people who entertained, challenged, and accepted me with no...

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Fresh off Appalachian Trail, former Marine paddling Mississippi River

Closing in on 30 and coming off a three-year stretch he likens to a country song, Jared McCallum decided he needed more adventure. So the former Marine from Florida set out April 1 to hike the Appalachian Trail. Nevermind that he’d never hiked before – or even camped. In August, as he neared the end of his five-month, 2,180-mile adventure, McCallum decided the best way...

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NPS Implements Interim Policy Prohibiting Unmanned Aircraft on Appalachian National Scenic Trail

The National Park Service has developed an interim policy prohibiting the use of unmanned aircraft, also known as drones, on NPS managed lands of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. This is a new park use that could affect park resources, staff, and visitors in ways that the National Park Service has yet to identify, analyze and examine. It is the National Park...

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Snake Den Ridge Trail and Appalachian Trail to Inadu Knob, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Cosby area in the Smokies offers quite a few long and rugged hikes from valley floor to mountain tops, including this leg-wrecker from the Cosby Campground to the Appalachian Trail on the Snake Den Ridge Trail. Even up top there are multiple potential destinations. We chose Inadu Knob and the old search & rescue helicopter pad at Deep Creek Gap for the views...

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A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail   Back in the United States after 20 years in Great Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by hiking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes — and to a writer with the...

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Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis

Adventures on the Appalachian Trail   Before she hiked Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu and the Pacific Crest Trail, before she was the speed record holder on the Appalachian Trail (AT), Jennifer Pharr Davis was a young, just-out-of-college 21 year old with normal fears about her future and questions about who she really was. Then she thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail...

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Murder at The Jumpoff by Jenny Bennett

Jenny Bennett first crossed my radar when I happened upon her website Endless Streams and Forests. She writes about many things, but among them are trail and hiking reports for areas of Great Smoky Mountains National Park that were very familiar to me. What intrigued me about Jenny’s reports was the type of hiking she does. Jenny is what is known as an off-trail...

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Big Bald Mountain on Appalachian Trail, Cherokee National Forest

Northeast of Mars Hill, NC, the Big Bald Range straddles the Tennesssee/North Carolina border and marks the boundary between Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests. The Appalachian Trail (AT) follows the state line, as it does for nearly all its length between these two states. The destination for this hike is 5,516 foot Big Bald Mountain, another of the grassy balds that...

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Appalachian Trail from Beauty Spot to Unaka Mountain, Tennessee

High above the community of Erwin, Tennessee, the Appalachian Trail follows the North Carolina / Tennessee state line through the Unaka Range. From a grassy bald ridge with the appropriate name Beauty Spot, to the summit of 5,184′ Unaka Mountain, the trail winds northeasterly for a 4-mile section through a continuously changing ecology. Stand on the bald with...

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Appalachian Trail on Grassy Ridge, Roan Highlands

Located along the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, and where Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests merge, Grassy Ridge in the Roan Highlands is the longest stretch of grassy balds in the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachian Trail navigates this stunning ridge, hopping from Carvers Gap to Round Bald to Jane Bald, and on to the 6,169 foot Grassy Ridge Bald. The...

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Appalachian Trail to Max Patch and Buckeye Ridge

Standing guard along the state line, Max Patch Mountain is a grassy bald with fabulous panoramic views of the surrounding North Carolina and Tennessee Great Smoky Mountains. Oh, and by the way, the celebrated Appalachian Trail crosses its 4,629 foot summit. So far as Southern Appalachian summits go, this one is moderately short and easy, but you can make a day of it by...

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Appalachian Trail to Charlies Bunion, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Appalachian Trail straddles the Tennessee/North Carolina state line in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for more than 70 miles. A particularly scenic day hike on the AT is the four mile stretch from Newfound Gap to Charlies Bunion, a remote and rugged outcropping that sits on the ridge between the states. Along this sharp ridge you will pass magnificent views of...

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Low Gap and Appalachian Trails to Mt. Cammerer, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

You don’t have to climb to 6000 feet to get spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains. In fact, Mt. Cammerer has some of the best views in the national park, yet doesn’t even reach 5000 feet. You can see Snowbird Mountain and the Pigeon River Gorge to the east, and Mt. Sterling south, and the full expanse of the national park to the west. Mt. Cammerer was...

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Chestnut Branch and Big Creek Trails, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sitting right along the Tennessee/North Carolina border in the far northeast corner of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an enjoyable section of forest and creek side trails that navigate the Big Creek area of the park. The Appalachian Trail goes through the area, as does the Benton MacKaye Trail, named for the planner of the AT. There are mountains in the region as...

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