Vanished: The untold, unsolved case of Jessie Hoover

On the morning of July 11, 1983, Maine State Police Detective Sgt. Ralph E. Pinkham got a call from a woman in Texas worried about her sister Jessie Albertine Hoover. She hadn’t heard from her since May 16, when Hoover called from a Bangor motel. At the time, her sister said, the 54-year-old had only about $15 to $20, but intended to wire for money when she passed...

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Pisgah National Forest: A History by Marci Spencer

When George W. Vanderbilt constructed the Biltmore House, he hired forester Gifford Pinchot and, later Dr. Carl A. Schenck to manage his forests. Over 80,000 of his woodland acres became the home of America’s first forestry school and the heart of the East’s first national forest. Now comprising more than 500,000 acres, Pisgah National Forest holds a vast...

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10 Things You Should Know About the Appalachian Trail

On March 3, 1925, roughly two dozen outdoor enthusiasts meeting at the Raleigh Hotel in Washington, D.C., formed an all-volunteer organization charged with building the Appalachian Trail. Though work at first proceeded only in fits and starts, the Trail eventually skyrocketed in popularity, attracting the attention of prominent politicians who protected it from...

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The seven hardest day hikes on the Appalachian Trail

When you picture the mountains that span the Appalachian Trail, what comes to mind? Massive, majestic, daunting peaks? Likely not—and you’d be right. It is for this reason that the uninitiated confuse the 2,189 miles that make up the United States’ original long trail as easy hiking. Some of it is. Most of it, however, is excruciatingly difficult. In fact, of the three...

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Voluntary Thru-Hike Registration System Aimed At Protecting Appalachian Trail Now Available

In order to enhance the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) experience for thru-hikers and better manage this natural resource, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), in cooperation with its partners, has launched a new voluntary registration system for those attempting to hike the trail in one year. This registration system, available at the Conservancy website, exists to ease...

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Teaching English and More, From Stops Along the Appalachian Trail

Penny Studt hasn’t seen her Eco-Literacy English students at Union High School since before Christmas, but for the last three weeks she has been giving them assignments, grading their work and commenting on their class discussions. She’s doing all of these things, not from a satellite classroom or even an office somewhere, but from stops along the Appalachian Trail, a...

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Appalachian Trail Specialty License Plates Generate Record Funds in Virginia

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy says a record amount of funds were generated from sales of the Virginia Appalachian Trail (A.T.) specialty license plate in 2014. Those funds have been applied to the protection and stewardship of the Trail in Virginia. The Conservancy says $45,000 was generated and will enabled the it to fund projects including open area management in...

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New Official Appalachian Trail Mileage Is 2,189.2 Miles

Re-measurements and relocations of the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) have brought the total mileage of the footpath to 2,189.2 miles, an increase of 3.9 miles from last year’s mileage of 2,185.3. This mileage is carefully documented in the Trail’s official guidebooks, which include the Appalachian Trail Data Book and the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hikers’ Companion. Both books...

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Volunteers Donate More than 200,000 Hours in 2014 to Maintaining the Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) has announced that for fiscal year 2014, 5,617 volunteers reported 241,936 hours to maintaining and protecting the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) for hikers to use. Since the ATC began collecting reports in 1983, individuals have contributed more than 5 million hours to the A.T., resulting in a volunteer network that is recognized...

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In My Shoes: Sharing and caring abound on the Appalachian Trail

After listening to my sister’s stories about her Georgia-to-Maine adventure on the Appalachian Trail, I’m thinking it might be a good idea for us all to spend some time on foot in the deep woods. Life on the trail, from what Pat tells me, while hugely demanding physically and emotionally, seems a lot like life ought to be here in “civilization.” On the trail, everyone is...

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Veteran hikes the Appalachian Trail, canoes the Mississippi

His job wasn’t difficult, but it wore on him all the same. He craved adventure. He had to do something. That something, it turned out, was hiking the venerable Appalachian Trail in an unbroken streak from Georgia to Maine and, that not being enough, paddling a green canoe from the headwaters of the Mississippi River all the way to Baton Rouge, La. Jared McCallum...

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Land near Appalachian Trail conserved

As the popular Appalachian Trail continues to morph and grow and attract more users and admirers, protecting the land that hugs the footpath and winds into its view is more important than ever, conservationists say. And now one of the more popular access points to the trail in Mitchell County, North Carolina has a little more elbow room in permanent preservation. The...

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10 Fantastic Hiker Traditions on the Appalachian Trail

We humans are pretty ritualistic creatures. We crave routine and seek out the familiar. When we start to pass these behaviors down through enough generations, we start calling them traditions. Every culture has its own traditions, including the community that surrounds the Appalachian Trail. Hiker traditions and customs can be hard to understand for those on the outside,...

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The business of hiking

While Warren County and Front Royal, Virginia are drawing up plans for extensions of the Appalachian Trail to bring hikers into town, there has been little discussion on the effect hikers have on the economy. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy states more than 2 million people visit some part of the trail every year, spending between $125-168 million annually, with $27...

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Filmmaker uses love for Appalachian Trail to make documentary

It runs more than 2,000 miles, from Georgia to Maine. The Appalachian Trail, the brainchild of Benton MacKaye had humble beginnings in 1921 and became a continuous footpath in August of 1937. “I learned a lot about life and a lot about people out on the Appalachian Trail,” said documentary filmmaker Sam Henegar. Henegar has a special bond with the trail....

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Asheville benefit for Appalachian Trail Nov. 6

For some, hiking the Appalachian Trail is a bucket-list item. Completing the 2,185-mile trail has come to signify extreme stamina and perseverance. But of the thousands who hike the trail each year, says John Odell of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, only a small fraction are through-hikers who complete the whole trail from Maine to Georgia or vice versa. The vast...

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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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