If you are planning on hiking from one end of the Appalachian Trail to the other you must be properly prepared. This is something that individuals dream about. Indeed, many make this dream a reality. Others, find there attempt to accomplish their goal nothing but a nightmare. Many people have watched a video or read a book that has described the joys of such a trip, only to find themselves cold and hungry when they attempt this adventure themselves.
Hiking the trail can be incredibly rewarding. There can be times of great peace. An individual can learn things about them self that can change the rest of their life. Without proper planning for this type of excursion they may not have a life to live.
Preparing for hiking the Appalachian Trail needs to be well thought out and well planned. I have spent many days on the trail and it can be both physically and psychologically demanding. Hauling a heavy pack through steep and rough terrain can become quite a burden. I suggest that you take a pack that weighs twice as much as you would normally carry on a practice hike. Hike through the most strenuous terrain that you can find for several days and nights before you think about doing it for several months. If you have a difficult time traveling 30-40 miles you will not make it the 2000+ miles that is required to complete the trail.
There are many questions that you need to ask yourself while planning this trip. You first need to figure out what time of year that you will start. This question is answered by determining which end of the Appalachian Trail you are going to start from. If you are going to enter at Springer Mountain in Georgia I would suggest starting your trip in early March. If you start in Georgia you will finish in Maine at Katahdin in the September. If you are going to start your journey in New York I suggest that you start in June and finish at Springer Mountain in November. The reason for this is simply because of the weather, hiking in the heat is miserable. Parts of the trail at Baxter State Park in Maine are closed from October 15th to May 15th, so plan accordingly.
You also need to ask yourself if you have enough money. The trip can cost in upwards of $5000 to complete the 2,000 miles. You will need the proper equipment. You will need food sent to different pick up points along the way. There are several towns that you will pass through and I suggest you stop and have a steak, six months is a long time without a steak.
You have to plan all of this before you leave. Still, 25 percent of the people that plan to walk-through make it the entire way. Although, most people only make it the first week and many only make it the first thirty miles or so. Planning ahead for hiking the Appalachian Trail can be part of fun. Plan the right way and the entire trip will something that you will enjoy the memories of for a lifetime.