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Appalachian Trail 2003 - Chelsea's Journals

Entry #6 - March 27, 2003

Our trip has officially begun. We left Red Wing, MN on the train at 9:05 AM. We got there about 45 minutes early, but there was really no point. The station was unmanned, so there was nothing to do except wait for the train to get there and then hop on. 

I decided right away that I liked the train. It moved kind of slow, but was steady for the most part. No waiting at stoplights, no traffic jams. It just barrelled along, only stopping to fill up or unload. I was really enjoying just watching the scenery and towns roll by – It felt wonderful to just sit and not do much for a while. We must have been about halfway to Chicago when I began to realize how much garbage I was seeing along the tracks. There was trash strewn about the woods, piles of stuff tossed over the sides of roads, junkyards and junk piles. By the time we got to Chicago, I was thoroughly disgusted by the multitude of garbage I’d seen. Maybe the last straw was the two crackheads I saw sitting on a rotting couch that was wedged between a crumbling brick building and the train tracks. But, shortly after that we were downtown in time for rush hour. Union Station was bustling with 9-to-5’ers who take the commuter trains. We grabbed a bite to eat, had a beer, checked our packs, and now we’re back on – On our way to Charlottesville, VA. 

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Preparing to Hike the Appalachian Trail?

Commonly used guides by A.T. thru-hikers include the Appalachian Trail Guides (published by the Appalachian Trail Conference), the Appalachian Trail Thru-Hiker's Companion, and the Appalachian Trail Data Book. The guide series includes a guide for each section, along with a series of trail maps. The Thru-Hiker's Companion has helpful info on towns, shelters, and water. The Data Book has basic distance info for road crossings, shelters, and other features. All are excellent tools for use during a long distance hike.




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