The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the AT, is a marked hiking trail in the eastern United States extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. It is approximately 2,181 miles long. The path is maintained by 30 trail clubs and multiple partnerships,and managed by the National Park Service and the nonprofit Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The majority of the trail is in wilderness, although some portions do traverse towns and roads, and cross rivers. The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Along the way, the trail passes through the states of Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011
500 miles +, Marion VA 5/25
Talked to Ryan this afternoon. He’s in Marion, VA. He was in a shuttle into town to do some restocking and will return to the trail this evening. He will be staying back on the AT at the Partnership Shelter. Since leaving Damascus, he’s done 13, 16, 24, and 18 mile days. He is currently at 520 miles. Ryan separated from the group in Damascus by deciding to lay over an additional day. He’s currently hiking off and on with Habitat and Kipper. He caught back up with Lemon, Fish, and Beer Burger this afternoon.
He describes Virginia as awesome. He ran down a long list of wildlife they encountered since entering Virginia that included wild ponies, a variety of snakes, turtles, salamanders, and an equally large list of small mammals. He said they hiked though Grayson Highlands yesterday and met up with wild ponies that came up to them unafraid. He said they were friendly and like licking the salt off hikers arms. It was a close as he has come to a shower in 4 days.
He was amazed at how quickly the terrain and views changes after crossing the Virginai border and lists Virginia as by far the best state yet. He will be dropping a SD card in the mail today with pictures. Telephone reception was good since they were within 15 miles of Interstate 81. Looking at the map he will have little reception in the coming week.
I always ask the question of how are you doing. Ryan responds positively and then I ask how are you really doing. His answer has always come back again positive but he seemed exceptionally upbeat and excited this time. He said something clicked over in Damascus and he still views the milestone as some sort of change or new beginning. Hiking 500 miles is exceptional from any perspective. Applying this to the entire AT puts you right at 25%. It's unfortunate that the accomplishment of hiking 500 miles has to be diminished by being compared to the overall objective. But I really don't get the impression that someone at 500 miles on the AT is ready to discuss a through hike. They are just hikng. He said the key to the final destination is completing and enjoying today's destination. That was a rather profound "poet but don't know it" statement.
He sounded great.