Appalachian Trail

About Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is a long-distance hiking trail extending almost 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) through the Appalachian Mountains in the eastern United States. It runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine and is one of the most popular and iconic hiking trails in the world.

The idea of the Appalachian Trail was first proposed by Benton MacKaye in 1921, who envisioned a trail that would run along the Appalachian Mountains, linking wilderness areas and promoting outdoor recreation. The trail was officially completed in 1937, thanks to the hard work of volunteers and the support of government agencies and private organizations.

The trail passes through 14 states, including Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. It traverses diverse landscapes, ranging from lush forests and rolling hills to rugged mountain peaks and alpine tundra.

Hiking the entire length of the Appalachian Trail is a major accomplishment that requires months of planning and preparation, as well as physical and mental endurance. It typically takes hikers 5-7 months to complete the trail, with most starting in early spring and finishing in late fall.

Along the way, hikers encounter a tight-knit community of fellow hikers, as well as trail angels who provide food, shelter, and other support. They also face challenges such as inclement weather, rough terrain, and wildlife encounters.

Despite the challenges, the Appalachian Trail is a deeply rewarding experience that offers a chance to connect with nature, challenge oneself, and forge lasting friendships. It is a symbol of America's love for the outdoors and a testament to the power of community and perseverance.

How I discovered the Appalachian Trail

My discovery of the Appalachian Trail came in 2012 through Bill Bryson's book "A Walk in the Woods". At the time, my daughter was working on a book report and I stumbled upon the book on our coffee table. Despite living only an hour's drive from the AT for 15 years, I had never heard of the trail before.

Though the book was entertaining, I believed that hiking the AT was only for the fittest of the fit, and not something that a normal person like me could ever do. It wasn't until 2018 when I stumbled upon the "Mighty Blue on Appalachian Trail" podcast that my perspective changed.

Listening to interviews with thru-hikers and section hikers on the podcast, I realized that the people who hike the AT are everyday people like myself. By fall of that year, I had acquired the necessary gear and completed the Maryland section of the AT in two section hikes, totaling 41 miles.

The AT bug had bitten me hard and I find myself thinking about the trail or listening to trail-related podcasts every day.

My Progress on the Appalachian Trail

Over the past six years, I have completed 23 section hikes on the Appalachian Trail, totaling 116 days on the trail. I have already conquered around 1,465 miles of the trail, hiking from Route 25A, New Hampshire  to Sam's Gap, Tennessee. Despite the physical and mental challenges along the way, the incredible vistas and unforgettable experiences have made every step worth it.

Each milestone I reach fills me with pride and a sense of accomplishment. The trail has taught me to value life's simple pleasures and treasure every moment spent in nature.

Throughout my journey, I have met numerous fellow hikers who have offered me unwavering support and inspiration. I eagerly anticipate the chance to continue my adventure on the Appalachian Trail, eagerly looking forward to exploring fresh sections of the trail as soon as the weather turns warmer and I can take some time off work. I can hardly wait to get back on the trail and follow those iconic white blazes once more, as hiking on the Appalachian Trail has become one of my favorite pastimes.

Pandemic Year

In the spring of 2020, I had initially planned to undertake a section hike along Virginia's Appalachian Trail. Unfortunately, I was unaware that a pandemic was on the horizon, which led to the closure of the trail and everything else. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy even advised those who were thru-hiking to leave the trail or avoid it entirely. Despite not being able to embark on my hike, I decided to recreate the trail experience by painting the white blaze on my tree. Additionally, I loaded my backpack and simulated climbing mountains on my treadmill. To further immerse myself in the experience, I imagined standing under the shower while the rain fell on the trail. I even pretended to spot a real bear by hiding my kids' pink bear in the tree :) Finally, I camped out in my backyard, complete with building a campfire, to make the experience even more realistic.

Fortunately, as the pandemic progressed, people began to realize that the safest place to be was outdoors. Eventually, I was able to return to the trail and complete a few section hikes later in the year.

Trail Name - Lucky Dog

What is Trail Name? 

A trail name is a nickname or alias that hikers adopt for themselves during their long-distance hiking journeys. Trail names can be inspired by various aspects, such as a unique characteristic or trait, a memorable event, a personal experience, or simply a personal preference.

People acquire trail names while hiking on long-distance trails, such as the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, or Continental Divide Trail. Trail names can be given by fellow hikers, bestowed upon oneself, or earned through a significant experience or accomplishment. Sometimes, a trail name can also be a play on one's real name or a reference to their profession or hobbies.

Trail names often become a part of a hiker's identity and are used to refer to them while on the trail. It is a way to establish camaraderie and connection with other hikers, and it serves as a reminder of their experience and journey on the trail.

How I got my trail name? 

During my initial section hike, I unfortunately lost my cellphone somewhere along the trail. Due to my unawareness of when and where it slipped out of my pocket, I felt quite disheartened. However, I decided to share my story with other hikers who were also on the trail, hoping someone might have found my phone. To my surprise, by the end of the day, my phone was returned to me! The person who found it even referred to me as "Lucky Dog". Since then, I have been known by that nickname while hiking on the trail.


In the summer of 2022, I was offered a chance to appear on the esteemed JESTER SECTION HIKER podcast, which shines a light on section hikers. During the episode, we delved into various topics, including how I discovered the Appalachian Trail, the experience of carrying a hefty 65lbs backpack, how I acquired my trail name, and my upcoming summer hiking plans. The conversation was lively, and we shared plenty of laughs throughout the episode. If you're interested, check out the link to listen to the episode!

Interactive map of Appalachian Trail 

This Interactive Map of the Appalachian Trail is a comprehensive guide to the trail's most popular landmarks and amenities. It includes important points of interest such as the popular Blue Blazes, AT parking lots, AMC Huts, AT outfitters, hostels, shelters, hotels, and B&Bs.

Using the Interactive Map is easy! Simply click on the markers for each of the amenities or landmarks you are interested in. You can use the zoom function to get a closer look at the trail and to see the different landmarks and amenities.

The Blue Blazes markers on the map indicate alternate routes or side trails that hikers can take to access nearby attractions or resupply points. The AT parking lots markers indicate where hikers can park their vehicles if they wish to access the trail.

The AMC Huts markers indicate the locations of huts that are operated by the Appalachian Mountain Club. These huts are located along the trail and provide a place to rest, eat, and sleep for hikers. The AT outfitters markers indicate where hikers can purchase gear or supplies along the trail.

The hostels markers indicate where hikers can stay overnight, usually for a fee. These facilities provide basic accommodations such as a bed, shower, and sometimes meals. The shelters markers indicate the locations of the trail's designated camping areas, which are typically open-air structures that offer some protection from the elements.

Finally, the Hotel & B&B markers indicate where hikers can find more upscale accommodations, including private rooms and other amenities. These options are ideal for hikers who are looking for a break from camping or who wish to take a break from the trail altogether.

Day by Day Hike Details

To learn more about a specific day that interests you, click the link for additional details.

Section Hike Videos