15 years ago I became keenly interested in the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail (or the AT as it’s commonly known) is a hiking trail marked with white blazes in the eastern United States and it extends 2,184 miles between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. I had only been hiking for a few months and had just recently begun running. But of course, like anything else I’m interested in, I became obsessed with it and devoured all the pertinent info about it I could find. In this case, that began with a trail map that I bought which extended from the floor to the ceiling of my dining room!
Every year thousands of thru-hikers (or people hiking the entire trail at one time) start from one end of the AT (usually Springer) and make their way to the other end. Only about 1 in 4 makes it the whole way on their first attempt. Some take as many as 8 months to complete the journey while others complete it in as little as 3. The un-official record for the fastest “supported thru-hike” (or, a hike with a little help from your friends) is 47 days by Andy Thompson in 2005. That’s more than 46 miles a day! The “unsupported” record is 60 days by Ward Leonard back in 1990. An equally impressive travel rate of 36 miles per day!