“Grandpa”, as he’s known to some of us, is thru hiking the 2,192 mile Appalachian Trail! Follow along as he makes his way down the Appalachian Mountain range, passing thru 14 states as he makes his way south.
What is a thru hike?
Hikes that traverse an entire trail from one terminus to another in an uninterrupted foot path are considered a thru hike.
How difficult are thru hikes?
Of the 3 million people who set out on the Appalachian Trail each year, only a small fraction attempt a thru hike. Of those who attempt it, only about 25% are successful. In 2019 only 365 people were classified as successful thru hikers.
5,269 feet high, Mount Katahdin marks the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Grandpa is on his way!
Katahdin Stream Campground
South-bound AT thru-hikers register with the a Ranger here at the base of Mount Katahdin. Ready, set, let’s go for a walk.
Hurd Brook Lean-to
Night one in the Hundred Mile Wilderness! This section of trail is the longest stretch without services or civilization. Hikers are advised by large warning signs at each end to carry 10 days of supplies and not to underestimate this section of trail.
Rainbow Stream Lean-to
Saw the first moose of the trip!
Nahmakanta Stream Lean-to
Just started raining as Grandpa made it to camp. Some nice views today, beautiful trail.
Cooper Brook Falls Lean-to
Pemadumcook Lake offered a beautiful spot for a break & a snack today.
Logan Brook Lean-to
He’s officially starting to smell really, really bad.
Chairback Gap Lean-to
Biggest miles to date! 17+ miles is a long way to walk. 4 mountains summited, including White Cap Mountain (3,650′).
Long Pond Stream Lean-to
The 100-mile wilderness is challenging, but beautiful. Broke a hiking pole today – first gear casualty of the walk.
Leeman Brook Lean-to
Last day in the 100 mile wilderness! If ever a man needed a shower, it’s now!
Maine Highway 15
CIVILIZATION! Grandpa hopped a ride (I hope the windows were down!) into town. Showers & resupply are in order. The 100 mile wilderness is behind him and the second half of Maine awaits.
Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to
Had a nice break today at Horseshoe Canton Lean-to. Could have stayed here, but pushed on another 4 miles to Bald Mountain Brook Lean-to.
Taking his first zero! Grabbed a shuttle from Highway 201 into town. It’s nice to put your feet up for a day. He’s now crossed the halfway point for the state of Maine!
West Carry Pond Lean-to
Nice day today. Had a lemonade and a cookie at Harris’ Camp (mile 154.8).
Safford Notch Campsite
Had a moose & her calf walk right up to him today! Didn’t seem to realize he was there til it was already really, really close. Getting wet this afternoon, rain rolling in. Foggy at camp.
Into town he goes! Climbed the Bigelow Mountain’s today. What a view!
Found a good spot in the woods to make camp today. No official name, but it did the trick.
Poplar Ridge Lean-to
Had a nice day up two mountains. Crossed the 200 mile mark today!
Caught a shuttle into town today. Always nice to take a shower!
Feels good to be back on trail.
Hall Mountain Lean-to
Maine is beautiful! Had a thunderstorm today but waited it out in a lean-to while he cooked supper.
Maine post offices are like black holes. Can’t recommend.
Speck Pond Campsite
Very crowded at the campsite but he just squeezed his hammock in. Tomorrow’s a big day with a milestone landmark.
Carlo Col Shelter
Went down Mahoosuc Notch today! Labeled the hardest mile on the AT, he described iy as “any eleven year-old that spends time on a playground could do it”. Seems like he might be downplaying it there.
Maine – New Hampshire State Line
First state down!!!! Blew by this landmark first thing in the morning.
Tident Col Tentsite
Town day! Who doesn’t love clean clothes and showers.
Carter Notch (just south)
Found a quiet place in the woods to set up camp for the night. Just south of the Carter Notch landmark.
Hitched a ride back to Gorham, NH for a comfy overnight stay. Prepping for the highest east coast peak – Mt. Washington. This peak is actually very dangerous with a 12 mile above-treeline exposed ridge to tackle.
Valley Way Tentsite
Tomorrow’s the big day! Mt. Washington awaits. First to tackle is Thunderstorm Junction, which can be as treacherous as it sounds.
Mizpah Spring Hut
Made it! It was a beautiful day for a summit.
Guyot Shelter / Campsite
This site is nestled between two mountains. Heard today that after summitting Mt. Washington yesterday, winds were recorded at over 140 mph! (Not sorry to have missed that!)
Liberty Springs Tent Site
Made it to camp before the rain hit!
Made it to Route 3. Last night was a windy one as a hurricane worked it’s way up the east coast, but it’s nice to be back in civilization. “Embrace the suck”, as they say.
Eliza Brook Shelter
Nice day for a walk.
Looking forward to hitting the 400 mile mark tomorrow.
South Jacob’s Brook
Went up Mt. Cube today. Nice views!
Moose Mountain Shelter
Dry camping tonight.
Into Hanover, N.H. we go! Resupply, pizza, and thai food.
Thistle Hill Shelter
State #2 is down! Into Vermont bright and early. The state line is on a bridge, which makes for an interesting crossing as the AT goes right down the sidewalk here. 🙂
Stony Brook Shelter
Trail magic! Pasta + sauce.
Governor Clement Shelter
Stopped by Killington Peak Lodge for lunch today. Fancy bacon cheeseburger + fries for lunch!
Little Rock Pond Shelter
Hit 500 miles!!!
Into Manchester Center we go!
Story Spring Shelter
A 21 mile day. Quarter of the trail complete!
The final day in VT. Made it thru the White Mountains and am really picking up speed! New personal best of over 23 miles.
Ice cream stand across from the campsite. Can’t beat that!
October Mountain Shelter
Mt. Wilcox Shelter
Hitched a ride back to Great Barrington for the night.
No water at this shelter at the moment :/ .
Pine Swamp Brook Shelter
Arrived just as it started to rain. Looks like more weather coming, time to plan a zero in town!
Hitched a ride back to Great Barrington. Had a nice little storm dodge in a gentleman’s shed, and waited out the tornado warning in comfort. Not many hiker services in Connecticut!
Telephone Pioneers Shelter
Into New York. This site doesn’t have water and it’s a cold dinner tonight, but it’s good to have another state down.
William Brien Memorial Shelter
Rained today, and it’s time for a new pair of shoes.
Tired legs today, but making miles!
New Jersey! Another state down!
Walkin’ fast today! 13.7 miles in 5 1/2 hours.
Gren Anderson Shelter
Starting to really think while he walks. Today’s riveting musings: Cromwell and the Scots.
Mohican Outdoor Center
Got a nice lil cabin at the AMC Mohican Center tonight.
Into Delaware Water Gap we go! Another state down, Pennsylvania’s home for the next week or so.
Leroy A. Smith Shelter
How much BBQ is too much for one man? Let’s find out! After taking a zero, moved out to the Leroy A. Smith Shelter; rough trail today.
Ran into town to a hostel for the night. There’s a pizza here with my name on it.
Allentown Hiking Club Shelter
Turns out you can weigh a package at a Russell Stover’s. Chocolate not included.
Crossed the 1,000 mile mark!
Route 11 / 15
Jumping into Duncannon for a zero. 🙂
Did not step on the 3′ long rattlesnack laying in the middle of the trail today. Counting that a success.
Mt Holly Inn isn’t ‘roughing it’ in the wilderness, but it’s cold out there at night.
Frost warning tonight, glad to be indoors where it’s warm!
Took a zero in Gettysburg.
Deer Lick Shelters
Weather’s warming slightly again, and we’ve bounced our cold weather gear further south.
Pine Knob Shelter
Maryland! Enjoying the one and only night in the state of Maryland.
Shenandoah Street, Harpers Ferry
West Virginia! Took a zero here in historical Harpers Ferry. The Appalachian Trail Conservatory is located here and is a major stop for thru-hikers.
Bears Den Hostel
Manassas Gap Shelter
It’s official! Trail name: GHOST.
Picked up by a friend, into town we go.
Pass Mountain Hut
The pulled pork sandwich at the wayside made it possible to hit 26+ miles today! Easy trail didn’t hurt.
Big Meadows Lodge
Time for a new pair of shoes!
Well it’s not exactly a camp site, but home is where you make it, right?
Cow Camp Gap Shelter
Half mile off the AT tonight. Trail was wicked pretty today.
Time for a zero! Swapping out my light quilts for my cold weather gear. Saying a sad goodbye to the Palante pack, rotating in the Zpacks.
Cornelius Creek Shelter
Wet feet today, but the rest is pretty dry.
Bobblets Gap Shelter
Time to ditch this hip belt for a smaller size. Lookin’ lean!
Heading to a gear shop & the grocery store for a resupply.
Johns Spring Shelter
Vinegar pulled pork, Jamaican Jerk pork tenderloin, push puppies and curly fries for dinner tonight. A man can do a lot of things after some good bbq.
MacAfee’s Knob & Dragon Tooth overlooks today. Part of the Virginia Triple Crown. 🙂
War Spur Shelter
Rice Field Shelter
Glad to have a puffy jacket. Gettin’ a lil chilly.
Angels Rest Hostel
Let the platinum blazing begin!
Into the Weary Feet Hostel we go.
Helveys Mill Shelter
Headed into the Mountain Garden Hostel.
Headed into a Walmart restock & a warm night at the Relax Inn.
Had to retreat north at the end of the day. Ponies in the campsite we planned to sleep in.
Lost Mountain Shelter
Dancing Bear Hostel
Landed in Damascus, Virginia. This trail town is home to Trail Days every year, and the Dancing Bear Hostel is right on the trail.
Just a short hop off trail, Scotty’s Bunkhouse gave me a roof overhead another night. No heat, but warmer than sleepin in the woods!
Into town we go, short day on trail.
Grabbed some zzz’s off the ridge.
Beauty Spot Gap
Was going to stop somewhere else today, but decided to push on to Beauty Spot to camp where there was water.
Bald Mountain Shelter
Seem to have misplaced my headphones, but a fella walking North was kind enough to not only find them, but forward them back to me.
Flint Mountain Shelter
Spring Mountain Shelter
Green Corner Road
Tri-Corner Knob Shelter
We’ve entered the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, east entrance.
Mt. Collins Shelter
At 5,900 feet in elevation, it’s chilly up here.
Spence Field Shelter
Went by Clingman’s Dome today, but no luck on a view.
Route 28, Fontana Dam
Officially exited the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
Taking a zero – this refers to hikers who take 24 hours in the same location to rest. These are often taken in town, where services and resupply are readily available. For some hikers, a zero is a busy day running errands. For others, it’s spent with epsom salts and ice packs. Some hikers also take a rest day with few miles hiked, called a “nero”.