If you have an adventurous heart, then hiking the Appalachian Trail is likely on your bucket list of things to do at some point in your life. As with everything that requires a great amount of physical exertion, this kind of experience will be made easier and more enjoyable with the right kind of preparation.
The following is a list of suggestions that will help you be as prepared as possible for this life-changing adventure when hiking the Appalachian Trail:
Learn to Pack for the Trail
Packing for biking the Appalachian Trail (AT) will be a lot different than packing for other outdoor activities. You will need to find out what your tour guides suggest. Your packing list will depend on the length of the trip, your abilities, and the time of year you decide to take this trip. Follow these suggestions closely as they will help you many times along the way.
Research the Map of the Trip
Each area of the country comes with some unique views and exciting pieces of culture, but also with some new hazards and potential dangers. Take some time to research the areas you will be riding through so that you can have a good idea of what kind of challenges you might be facing. This research will help you know what to look out for along the ride and can give you the chance to properly stock up and prepare against these dangers.
Get Your Equipment Serviced
Even if you had your tires pumped and your gears oiled recently, it will be a very good idea for you to have all of your biking and camping equipment looked over to make sure everything is in good condition. You do not want to get out on the trail and have a chain break or a brake stop working when the issue could have been spotted and resolved before the trip even began.
Shop for Appropriate Clothing
The right attire for this kind of trip can be a little hard to shop for. You need clothing that is tight so that you don’t end up with too much wind resistance. You also want clothing that is loose enough to be comfortable to move in. The material should be heavy enough to keep you warm as you travel at high speeds, but light enough to keep you from getting overheated. All of these paradoxical requirements can be hard to meet.
The best way to handle this is to head to a store that handles high-adventure outings like the one you are embarking on. They can help you find the best clothing to help you handle this trip with grace and comfort.
Purchase Lightweight Nutrition
Most of these adventures come with meals, but that will not keep you from getting hungry and possibly weak on the road. It takes a lot of exertion to endure this kind of adventure, so if you are worried about needing an extra boost here and there on the road, then be sure to pack some lightweight nutrition options. There are some great protein gels and power drinks that will give you the healthy boost you are looking for without weighing you down too much.
Review Survival Skills
Some good preparation to consider is brushing up on your survival skills like CPR, rescue breathing, and other first-aid skills.
All of these things will help your trip biking the Appalachian Trail be calmer and more exciting. A little bit of preparation can go a long way when it comes to this kind of adventure. Your efforts to prepare well will be met with a successful trip full of amazing views, good friendships, and incredible memories.
If you are someone who loves the outdoors, then you need to be sure that you put biking the Appalachian trail on your bucket list. This is an amazing experience that can enhance your life in some really beautiful ways. Those who make this kind of trip enjoy many benefits including, but not limited to the following:
- Beautiful landscapes: When you bike the Appalachian trail, you will be riding through some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth. This is a very unique area, geologically speaking. The rolling hills that are so close to the East coast create a strange and lovely mixture of vegetation and formations.
- New skills: Even if you are an avid biker, this kind of tour can help you to gain some new skills. The terrain that is covered can create some different pedal methods and breathing techniques. You will come away learning new things about the area as well.
- New friends: It is really hard to go on adventures of this nature with a group without really bonding with those people. It takes a certain kind of person to invest in this kind of experience. If this is something that you love, then you know that a lot of the other people you meet on this adventure will have similar backgrounds and mindsets. You could come away with some life-long friends thanks to investing in this one experience.
- Deeper relationships: If you decide to experience this trip with someone you love, then get ready to care about them in a deeper way than ever before. You will be able to see a new side of this person, and this can create some incredibly deep bonds.
- Amazing memories: It is doubtful that you will ever see things like this ever again in your life. The sheer uniqueness of the experience will make it something to remember. Memories are one of the few things you can take with you after this life is over, so investing in experiences that will create such lasting memories is a wonderful thing.
- Familiarity with a new area: As you bike through the different towns, lakes, and forests, you will be learning new things about the area. This section of the country has a fascinating history, and there is a lot to learn about the culture, plants, animals, and people. This new familiarity can be a cool thing and will add to your love for the diversity that makes this country such a wonderful place to live.
- Physical fitness: When you spend your vacations doing physical activities of this nature, then you are investing in a healthy body and mind. Physical fitness is a hard-won quality for most people, and this kind of vacation can help
- you with this.
Peace of mind: “There is healing power in nature”. Spending a great deal of time hiking or biking through the beauty of nature can help you to reflect on important things. You can find inner healing and personal peace of mind on a deeper level than ever before. If you have a job that brings a lot of stress to your life, then you need a good chance to get away from the tension and fast pace of that life for a little bit and gain some inner peace.
The next time you are ready to get outside and feel at one with nature, you need to sign up to bike the Appalachian Trail. This is an experience like no other. There is a reason a wait list often forms for most of these tours. Get some good time to bond with a loved one, and a good chance for self-reflection in one of the most beautiful environments on the planet.
What goes through 14 states, (approximately) 2,184 miles, and almost every climate and ecosystem America has to offer? The jaw-dropping Appalachian National Scenic Trail – known as the Appalachian Trail, or just the AT. It’s taken partway or ends to end by over 3,000,000 hikers each year, and along with the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, it’s one-third of the Triple Crown of US long-distance hiking.
Where – and Which Way?
The trail runs from south to north, from Georgia up to Maine. If you’re on a roll, you can even continue into Canada to the Atlantic, a jaunt known as the International Appalachian Trail.
You can reverse the order too, going from Maine to Georgia. This has an impact on the weather and conditions you can expect: heat is more extreme in the south, and cold in the north. If you’re starting in the winter or spring, go from Georgia north. But later in the year or autumn, starting in Maine while it’s warm will get you to Georgia as it cools.
Not a Walk in the Park…
Aside from the physical challenge of walking a dozen or more miles a day for several months – and they are considerable – the main issue you’ll face will be the equipment you’ll need to carry with you at all times. This can run to over twenty pounds. As with any trip to the USA, travel insurance is a must, doubly so when you rely so heavily on what you carry. Prepare physically with cardio and strength training, but, if possible, take on some smaller local trails to test yourself and your gear.
Take in the Sights, and Beware of the Bears
The camaraderie of those you’ll meet on the road is a highlight for many people… but not all of them are human. The trail is home to deer, snakes, raccoons, countless birds, and too large numbers of black bears, which are usually shy and avoid humans – but they will inspect your campsite at night. Keep food in a bear canister and hang it from a tree.
Some more things you shouldn’t miss: – The highest point is Clingman’s Dome, in Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains, up to 6,625ft. The views can be incredible up here. – It’s possible if you plan carefully to do the whole AT without a tent. The whole length is catered for by over 250 huts – but they vary from 8 to 30 miles apart. More than adequate if you need them. – For a full list of what not to miss, see here: https://appalachiantrail.com/at-attractions/famous/. –
Another guide worth following is Bill Bryson’s hilarious, heartwarming A Walk in the Woods – worth a pound weight in your bag, even more so as an eBook.
Preparing for the Trail – What You Need:
“The big four”: – Good quality backpack – Sleeping bag or quilt – Shelter (hammock, tent or bivouac) – Sleeping pad
More must-haves: – Lightweight shoes or boots – Waterproof clothes – Good USA travel insurance that covers what you need.
Nice to haves: – A light foldaway camping stool – A French press coffee maker – for a little help warming you up in the morning.