HikeMore Online Newsletter - Appalachian Trail Edition, Spring 2004


AT Survey Guide

Getting Ready
Background Info
Making Time
Start Dates
Mail Drops
Bounce Boxes

Backpacking Gear
Top Twelve
Sent Home
Best Gear
Worst Gear
Top Brands
First Aid
Water Treatment
Maps / Guides
Seasonal Changes
Backpack Weight

Pain / Problems

Weight Loss

Trail Food
Top 5 Foods

Danger on the Trail

After the Trail
End Dates
Hiking Again
Favorite Sections
Biggest Surprise
Best of the Trail
Worst of the Trail
Lessons Learned


Appalachian Trail 2003 Hiker Survey

The majority of survey responses we received were from northbound thru-hikers, so these results are therefore representative of their experiences. To date we have received 49 replies to our Appalachian Trail survey. According to the ATC, there were 503 hikers that reported finishing the AT in 2003.

After the Trail - Continued

Best of the Appalachian Trail

Thru-hikers list what they liked the best about their time on the AT:

  • People, friendships, and local community
  • Peace, quiet, simplicity
  • New places, new people, new experiences each day
  • Freedom
  • No timetable or schedule
  • Solitude and full immersion in nature
  • Natural wonders and beautiful views
  • Eating whatever you want
  • Walking, exercise, and fresh air
  • The Trail's length and the mental challenge
  • Not working 9 - 5 every day
  • Conquering fears
  • Getting in shape


Worst of the Appalachian Trail

Thru-hikers list what they liked the least about their time on the AT:

  • Rain
  • Wet clothes
  • Cold weather
  • Bugs and mosquitos
  • Hut system in the White Mountains and the beauracracy of the AMC
  • The amount of thru-hikers and the daily race for shelter spots
  • Missing family and friends
  • Heavy pack weight
  • Being alone for too long at times
  • Severe weather
  • Being dirty all the time
  • People who were selfish, negative, or always complaining
  • No variety in diet
  • Hiker gossip
  • The difficulty
  • Noise
  • Rocks in Pennsylvania
  • Finishing


Lessons Learned on the Appalachian Trail

Every thru-hiker leaves the Trail with their own impressions, memories, and experiences. Above all they leave with a new piece sewn into their soul, to replace that which was left behind on the AT.

Restoration in the basic goodness and kindness of people.
How relatively unimportant money and possessions really are.
Finding confidence in myself and the knowledge that I can take care of myself.
Take it slow.
Strength and endurance come with time.
Less is more. Simplify.
Manage your money carefully.
Don't judge character by appearance.
Save the best for last. Don't eat all your Little Debbies first.
How little is needed to be truly happy.
That my limit is higher than I thought and I can do anything I put my mind to.
To lose my idealism early on. The Trail is what it is, not what I wanted it to be.
Enjoy life and don't let it control you.
How important friendship and relationships are in life.
With laughter, any difficulties can be overcome.
The Trail gives you everything you need - it's amazing how it happens.
Don't be shy about asking for help. Most people want to help.
Learned to trust myself and others.
Rednecks exist in every state of the union.
How long 2,000 miles really is.
The grass is always greener on the other side.
Congratulations to all of the Appalachian Trail thru-hikers, past, present and future.

< Back to After the Trail Page 2

Hiking the AT in 2003
Danger on the Trail
Agony of the Feet
Appalachian Trail Documentary
Appalachian Trail 2003 Survey Results
Trail Food Ideas and Recipes
Comics - Coming Soon
Trail Days in Damascus

Additional AT Info

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HikeMore Online Newsletter | Appalachian Trail Edition | Spring 2004

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