Appalachian Trail Sees Record Numbers in Wake of Bill Bryson Film

The gold standard has always been 2,000 thru-hikers wannabe’s a year. But that has changed and the number is closer to 3,000 this year. Of course, only about 20 or 25 % of them will make it all the way to Mount Katahdin in northern Maine. Nonetheless, it’s great news. Short of loss of life or serious bodily injury, a thru-hike attempt inevitably becomes a highlight of a person’s life. It is a shout of freedom that few people...

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Skywalker Appalachian Trail Film Reaches 10,000 Viewers

Skywalker–Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail, a popular hiking book by Bill Walker, has been out for ten months in video form and has now reached its 10,000 viewer. This ten minute film done by Catherine O Shorr and edited by Melissa Matisko, touches on the highlights of Walker’s 2005 thru-hike of the 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail, which Walker calls “undoubtedly the best way to see...

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America Can Build New Hiking Trails if the Appalachian Trail Becomes ‘Too Crowded’

“It’s going to be single-file walking up the trail after Bryson’s movie comes out.” I have recently begun to hear thoughts and sentiments to this effect, now that the long-awaited film version of Bill Bryson’s bestselling Appalachian Trail (AT) book, A Walk in the Woods is really being filmed. To be sure, this is a valid concern. After all, when Bryson’s book was released in 1998, the so-called ‘Bryson...

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Southbound Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike is More Difficult

“I would never do the Appalachian Trail any way but northbound,” I have told many people. “I just love the way the hike develops with a crescendo effect in the final two states of New Hampshire and Maine.” Well, I have now broken that pledge. A friend asked me to accompany her (only to have to cancel at the last minute!) for the first part of her southbound thru-hike. Like many southbounders, she was beginning in the...

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Record Crowds on Appalachian Trail–Go America

I had always said I would never hike the Appalachian Trail any way other than northbound. However here I am in Millinocket, Maine, poised to begin southbound tomorrow morning at 6:30. Incidentally, what a nice trail town here, where hikers all stay at the Appalachian Trail Inn and eat at the Appalachian Trail Restaurant. The shuttle driver last night reported that the number of southbound thru-hikers is expected to reach 400 people this year....

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Skywalker “Most Realistic” of the Appalachian Trail Books

“This is the most realistic look at the tough slog that is an Appalachian trail thru-hike,” a recent book reviewer wrote on Amazon.com. Those words were music to my ears. For that is the exact purpose I had upon setting out to thru-hike the 2,180 mile Appalachian Trail, which runs 14 states from Springer Mountain in north Georgia to Mount Katahdin in northern Maine in 2005 despite never having even spent a single night outdoors. My...

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