Monday, November 23, 2009

Appalachian Trail

There’s nothing like getting some fresh air. To be outside on a clear, crisp autumn morning with the sun in your face, birds chirping away, and colorful leaves slowly drifting to the ground. It’s going to get cold soon…you can feel it in the air and you know this will be your last time to enjoy nature for almost six months. So what can you do? Well, go for a hike. And if you’re 2/3 of the United States population, you’re within a day’s driving distance of one of the greatest wilderness trails in the world, the Appalachian Trail.

Extending between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine, the Appalachian Trail is 2,178 miles long. And if that isn’t enough walking for you, there is an extension called the International Appalachian Trail (609 miles long) that extends into Canada ending in Belle Isle, Newfoundland at the North Atlantic Ocean. Along with the Continental Divide Trail and Pacific Crest Trail, these three systems form the trifecta of long distance hiking in the U.S.

The trail has more than 250 shelters and camp sites available for passing hikers. Most coverts are open, three-walled structures with a simple wooden floor while others are more elaborate.

But the trail is not only admired for its scenery, but for its animal life as well. The American black bear is the largest omnivore residing in all states the trail passes through, with deer, elk, and moose (most noticeably in Maine) also being seen. There’s no need to fear any of these animals since most choose to avoid human confrontation and are easily scared away by noise.

black bear


As far as the animals to be afraid of, there is the Eastern timber rattlesnake as well as the copperhead. These two venomous snakes are normally found in drier, rockier portions of the trail in Connecticut up until New Hampshire.

timber rattlesnake


Notable geographic features include Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia, and Mount Moosilauke in New Hampshire.

Great Smokey Mountains National Park

Grayson Highlands State Park

If you would like to find out how you can help conserve this trail, visit for details.

Did you know?- It takes about 5,000,000 adult footsteps to hike the entire trail!

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