I’m sure that, among the thousands of people who read Great American Things, there are bound to be some who’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail in its entirety. All 2,181 miles, from Mount Katahdin in Maine to Springer Mountain in Georgia. Or the other way, depending on whether you’re a SOBO (southbounder) or a NOBO (northbounder). Along the way you passed through Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia.
The original idea for the Trail belonged to a man named Benton MacKaye. The New York Daily Post published his dream, and the ball got rolling. Or, rather, the people got walking. But the entire trail didn’t open all at once; the first section was completed in 1923, but the first person didn’t actually hike the trail’s entire length until 1948. Even so, the trail wasn’t completely marked until 1971.
The longest stretch of the Appalachian Trail goes through Virginia (550 miles); the shortest through West Virginia (4 miles). If you’re one who’s contemplating the hike, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy says you’ll take about 5,000,000 footsteps to complete it. Some 10,000 people have reported doing it. I think that’s great; but I had to go and soak my feet after just writing this post.