Jan 24th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Discover the Amazing AT

My wife suggested that I write a blog on the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, perhaps the most famous hiking trail in the world.  We have friends whose son Darrin hiked the entire trail.  He told us that he woke up one morning in his sleeping bag and there, just inches from his forehead, was a rattle snake coiled up.  So start with that seniors and go for it.  It did not strike if that is any consolation and Darrin now has one of the most memorable experiences a hiker could have in finishing to the end of the trail the entire 2,174 mile hike.

The Appalachian Trail, known by hikers as the AT, runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. In January 2012 the trail will be celebrating it’s 17th birthday. And get this…the AT traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral and culturally resonant lands of 14 states in the eastern U.S. Furthermore the AT is enjoyed by an estimated 4 million people each year. It is within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the U.S. population. People of all ages and abilities, youth and seniors alike enjoy short walks, day hikes, and long-distance backpacking journeys. It offers a variety of opportunities for viewing spectacular scenery, for exploring, for adventure, for exercise, for nature study, and for renewal.

The Appalachian Trail is currently protected along more than 99 percent of its course by federal or state ownership of the land or by right-of-way. Annually, more than 4,000 volunteers contribute over 175,000 hours of effort. In the course of its journey, the trail follows the ridge line of the Appalachian Mountains, crossing many of its highest peaks, and running, with only a few exceptions, almost continuously through wilderness. Take the thru-hike in 7 1/2 minutes via this video.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), established in 1925, is a national not-for-profit corporation that is both a confederation of the 31 local organizations with assignments to maintain the Appalachian Trail and a membership organization with support from all 50 states and more than 15 other countries. Under agreements that date back to the 1930s, buttressed by federal legislation in 1968 and 1978, ATC leads a cooperative-management system for the Trail that equals the National Park Service and USDS Forest Service at national, regional, and district levels, a variety of agencies in 14 states, a few other federal agencies, and even some county and town agencies.

Fall is one of the most beautiful times to enjoy the A.T. Peak of color ranges from late September to early November. Click here to find a guide to peak foliage along different areas of the Trail.

Senior Activity Along the Trail

This site will not only get your started, but also has all the information you will need to succeed in your trek. If you would like to help as a volunteer there are lots of opportunities to do so. Senior volunteers are active in all aspects of Trail work, from basic maintenance to major projects such as building bridges and shelters and building new sections of the A.T.

You will definitely want some kind of a hiker’s guidebook for the AT.  Take a look at these Trail Maps that cover the entire distance. You may even want to consider joining the Maine Appalachian Trail Club on this site. This page can be used to aid those who are planning a thru-hike or other long distance hike of the Appalachian Trail.

So bone up on hiking skills, equipment, what is needed to follow a dream and consider doing one of the most sought after trails in the world. jeb

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  1. […] range of hiking possibilities for seniors of all skill and fitness levels. The Blue Mountains and Appalachian Trail offer easy hiking treks on a variety of terrain, taking you through farmland, by lakes and up […]

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