There are several things to consider before setting out to hike the Appalachian Trail, and it is vital to plan well in advance. Although plans will change as you progress, you should have a general idea of how many miles you plan to cover and the basic equipment you’ll need. A common mistake people make is over-preparing for the hike, thinking they can cover more miles earlier than they’re actually capable of. Also, it’s crucial to know your personal fatigue level when planning a hike.
The Appalachian Trail is an excellent way to collect mail, but you may have to trek to post offices. Often, they are off the trail, or at least off-trail and farther away than a convenient store. Instead, you can drop your mail off at a hostel, hotel, or outfitter. Mail dropped off here will ensure your mail is received on time, and you’ll be able to save valuable time while on the trail.
The Dartmouth Outing Club maintains 70 miles of the AT in Vermont and New Hampshire. Hikers often donate food items and other necessities to the hostels, but the boxes are especially helpful for those who don’t want to eat everything at one time. The boxes are also a convenient way for hikers to share the burden of bringing food and water into towns. While they may be convenient, they aren’t exactly necessary.
While drop boxes on the Appalachian Trail are convenient, they may not be necessary for every hiker. Some hikers resupply in towns every couple of days. Others opt to forgo resupply in towns altogether and mail themselves their drop boxes. However, they often need additional gear, dietary requirements, and specialty medicine. If you want to mail your food, make sure you check with a local post office or gear store along the trail.
Mail drops can be particularly useful for hikers on a budget. They can be used to replace worn shoes, send food, and catch hikers in towns. During the hike, resupply options are limited, so mail drops can help you save money. If you plan to send your mail through the mail, consider using priority mail or first class. It’s best to follow USPS guidelines when sending cooking fuel.
If you’re a backpacker or hiker who has traveled the Appalachian Trail for years, you’ve likely heard of stealth camping. It means sleeping outside the designated campsites and away from people. While it’s not very glamorous, it’s certainly more comfortable than sleeping on bare ground. However, it’s important to note that there are rules and regulations for stealth camping. Read on to find out more about this method of camping.
First and foremost, you should plan your route. Before you start scouting a campsite, be sure to observe wildlife and other hikers to avoid being discovered. Also, be sure to camp in an area where you won’t disturb other hikers or campers. You’ll also want to choose a location away from the trail’s crowded areas. Even if it seems like an isolated spot, it may be difficult to spot another hiker.
The best time to camp is before dark. Otherwise, you run the risk of being noticed by hikers who are still out for the day. Likewise, setting up camp in the dark is very difficult. Using a headlamp or flashlight isn’t very effective if you’re trying to stay hidden. Avoid wearing white or reflective clothing so that you won’t be easily spotted.
Some areas on the Appalachian Trail are prohibited from camping. While some areas allow unmarked camping, others prohibit it completely. Stealth camping on the Appalachian Trail isn’t illegal, but it does require a bit more effort to remain inconspicuous. Regardless of where you decide to camp, you should keep in mind that the rules for primitive camping will apply and you’ll need to follow them.
Some hikers prefer to set up their tents near a shelter to be more private. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy advises against setting up camp in a semi-enclosed space. In general, though, this practice is considered safe. However, there is still a chance of being caught by a pandemic disease. If you’re unsure of whether or not a site is marked, you can always check a guidebook for any rules regarding camping.
If you are planning to hike the 100-mile Appalachian Trail without camping, make sure you have a plan for your itinerary. While you can make plans while hiking, making them beforehand will be easier. In general, you should carry less than you need to carry on the trail. The less weight you carry on your back, the easier it will be to carry your gear throughout the day.
Shelters – When planning your route, you should consider whether you’ll need a shelter or a tent. Shelters are communal structures. They typically hold eight people but can be larger if you’re hiking a long distance. Some shelters charge small fees to use their facilities, so you might want to keep cash with you when you hike. If you want to avoid using shelters, however, make sure you have some extra cash with you.
Lastly, make sure you have adequate skills to complete your hike. You should be familiar with basic first aid and navigation skills, as well as the ability to navigate in snow. Taking a class to learn about the trail is a good idea if you’re unsure of certain aspects of hiking. Involving your loved ones in the planning process will make them feel more comfortable with your decision.
Lastly, when planning your hike, keep in mind the location of your destination. The AT trail is maintained by many agencies, which means the closures vary from one state to another. In case of an outbreak, it’s best to plan your route in areas with plenty of shelters and nearby amenities. Moreover, be aware of the fact that the state and local regulations may change from week to week. Moreover, bears are also unpredictable, and you never know when they’ll reappear on your hike.
Regardless of which direction you choose, it’s a good idea to learn about the trail before setting off on your adventure. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy website contains a wealth of resources on the trail, including printed maps and guides. Also, consider attending a hiker’s gathering in Virginia each October. The organization offers slide-show lectures on gear and other aspects of the hike.
While the Appalachian Trail is a popular place to hike, there are a few health risks you should consider when you don’t camp. The most significant of these is exposure to Lyme Disease, which is transmitted by ticks. Ticks are common in the woods of the northeast, but you can protect yourself by wearing clothes that are treated with permethrin, a pesticide that kills bugs on contact. Also, make sure to check yourself frequently for signs of the disease as you may not be aware of the symptoms.
While not all snakes are poisonous, they are generally not aggressive. Snakes are also common on the Appalachian Trail, but you should take special precautions to protect yourself. A yellow jacket is especially dangerous because it will attack you if it catches your toe on a tree root. It can sting multiple times and cause swelling in the throat, clogging your airway.
During your hike, you should not share food, water bottles, or utensils. It is best to have your own water bottle, and use it for drinking. Always remember to wash your hands with biodegradable soap 200 feet away from water sources. Alcohol-based sanitizers are not effective against norovirus. Be alert to red flags and stay alert while hiking. Follow Leave No Trace guidelines when disposing of human waste.
The Appalachian Trail is a popular destination and can become very crowded. Hundreds of thousands of people attempt to hike the whole thing every year. This has led to an increasing trend of “flip-flopping” on the trail. There are thousands of hikers along the A.T. Every day, about 5,579 people try to hike a part of the trail without camping.
Water is one of the biggest issues. The temperature can drop to 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit, and a lack of water can lead to hypothermia. Additionally, the Appalachian Trail is full of streams and rivers. In addition to carrying your backpack above your head, you have to cross streams and riverbeds. Water is the most important resource for hikers, and without it, you will quickly find out how limited your supplies are.