Hiking the Appalachian Trail
I'm "section hiking" the Appalachian Trail. Have completed the trail in Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts. We have also hiked some bits and pieces of Virginia and Vermont.
The AT in PennsylvaniaThus far (Aug 2004) we have completed Pennsylvania from Clarks Ferry Bridge (Susquehanna River) to the Delaware Water Gap. Fortunately, most of the northern PA trail is easily accessible from Route 78. However, finding the appropriate parking can be a challenge.
The AT in Northern Pennsylvania is notorious for its rocks. Many ridges are composed of "Titan Gravel" ... Loose and pointed rocks piled up on the trail. Most sections aren't too bad, but the area around "Knife's Edge" is pretty treacherous. We discovered that we could cross either with full packs or leading dogs. It took us four trips. The next morning, we decided to avoid the jutted ridge and did our best to skirt around its base.
Water can be a problem in Pennsylvania. From the ridges the views are spectacular, but there are few reliable springs near the top. Be prepared to carry water for some distance. In 2005, we completed the Southern end of Pennsylvania. It is quite beautiful and well-maintained. Boiling Springs is a nice stop. However, we were surprised to find the shelter before Boiling Springs in the middle of being replaced unfortunately this was during a thunderstorm. Check the ATC site before you hike!
The AT in New Jersey and New YorkWe have completed all of the AT in New Jersey and New York. These sections are beautiful with glacial lakes peaking out here and there. A favorite for Sparky, who likes to take a dip now and then and rest his aching paws.
Despite the beauty, there are some drawbacks. There are bears, but we watched them neither disturbing or being disturbed. Infrequent cow pies and sties proved to be a challenge with the dogs. The quiet and beauty of large sections of the NJ/NY AT are disrupted by the distant roar of cannon fire from West Point and the din of biker rallies.
The AT in Connecticut and Massachusetts
We completed most of Connecticut in one long labor day weekend. The walk along the Housatonic is delightful but because the corridor is so narrow, you are up and down the ridge constantly. Our second 18 mile day was exhausting. The race track near Route 44 was a disappointment. The final day was raining cats and dogs, but Gretl didn't seem to mind.
We've hiked all of Massachusetts. South of the turnpike, we stayed at Race Brook Lodge (very dog friendly and people friendly too) and did day hikes. North of the turnpike, we spent a very cold and windy evening (October 2002) in a shelter and awoke to snow the next morning. That night tested the limits of our equipment. Two days later we started off for a day hike in Berkshires from Race Brook. Here are the dogs (or "burritos" as we call them) with their red backpacks.
February 2003, we ascended Mt. Greylock. But with four feet of snow, we stuck to the snow mobile trail on cross country skis, so the dogs won't have to posthole -it. Not really the AT but the start and the endpoint were on the trail We returned to Massachusetts, summer 2005, hiked at 75 miles up and over Mt. Greylock.
The AT in Maryland and Virginia
In 2005, we hiked all of Maryland into Harper's Ferry on one very rainy cold, long weekend. However, Maryland is very hiker friendly. Some of the parks along the way even had showers. The trail was gentle and easy but we arrived drenched in Harpers Ferry. We now begin the great state of Virginia. The first few sections with undulating ups and downs was exhausting. We'll soon be south of Front Royal. Picture Pending
The AT in Vermont and New Hampshire
Summer of 2006, we started Vermont. Base camp was a cottage in Londonderry near Bromley. On July 4th we swam in a mountain pond when Robert, Joann and Jamie visited. Picture Pending
Here is a good site for more information about the Appalachian Trail.
The Appalachian Trail Conference
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