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Tag Archives: Maine

A Shelter on the Appalachian Trail

My Idea to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail

The idea to establish the Appalachian Trail was formulated in 1921. My idea to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail was in 2018, a brief 97 years later. 

The Appalachian Trail, often referred to as the “AT,” is a nearly 2,200 mile (2,194 miles as of 2022) footpath stretching from Springer Mountain in Georgia all the way north to Mt. Katahdin in Baxter State Park, Maine. A trail this long sees many visitors. There have been more than three million hikers setting foot on this trail in a single year, yet only around 3,000 of them attempt a thru-hike. Out of those 3,000 thru-hikers, about 1 in 4 are successful. 

My idea to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail began with a short backpacking trip on the AT.

One of my first backpacking trips was in the Roan Highlands, hiking along the AT. It was early November 2018 and the higher elevations of the balds led to many cold, sleety drizzles. It was a tough hike for me. The weather was bad, my boots were frozen, and the mileage was more than I was used to. On the second night of the trip, while sitting in a shelter with my friends, a very tired backpacker strolled into camp. I was surprised because he did not seem to be carrying much at all. In fact, with the weather, he seemed to be carrying an unsafely little amount of stuff.  He was heading south, with just under 400 miles until he was done with his five-month-long journey.

Being new to the hiking/backpacking/outdoor community, the idea of thru-hiking was incredibly foreign to me. I thought this man was insane. However, my friend Ben seemed to know what was going on. He offered the hiker a beer and chatted with him for the evening. In the morning the hiker was gone. The following day while summiting various balds along the trail we ran into several more thru-hikers. By the end of this four-day trip, my mind was pretty much made up. I was going to hike the AT one day. 



When I set off for the AT this summer I will be heading south. I will start at the northern terminus at Katahdin mid-July and plan to get to Georgia in mid- to late-November. Ideally, I will finish just before Thanksgiving. Starting in the North with notoriously more difficult terrain, I suspect it will take longer to get my trail legs and I will move slower with less miles per day. 


The views on the Appalachian Trail are part of what draws me to thru-hike it.

Learning and planning for any long trail poses many challenges, such as food, water, and shelter. Luckily, the AT simplifies the shelter situation with over 250 three-walled shelters between Georgia and Maine. There is also an abundance of water throughout the trail. Theoretically, I may never have to carry more than two liters of water at once, but that can always change. 

For food on the trail, I will be resupplying in towns rather than having food boxes shipped out to me. I figure this gives me more flexibility with how much food I have to carry, and if I do not like a meal I can swap it for something else at the next town I resupply in. 



I think the biggest challenge I will personally face on the AT is not a physical one but a mental one. This will be my first ever solo backpacking trip, and while the AT is a popular hiking destination, I will do all the decision-making myself. This will be tricky as I have always had someone hiking with me to bounce ideas off of. 

As I near my departure date, I am filled with excitement to set out on this grand adventure. I look forward to being able to push myself mentally and physically each and every day.

The Roan Highlands are one of the highlights of the Appalachian Trail.


by: Dalton Spurlin


Follow along for more updates and information as Dalton’s start date approaches! Look for additional blog content, interviews, and social media updates.

Southbound: episode 3

September 23rd  2006
Written by: Bryan Wolf and Joe White

We have made it to our 2nd town in Maine ! We have blazed about 187 miles of the trail so far. Just the day before, we crossed the 2000 mile marker for all the northbound hikers, which is a little less exciting benchmark for us, but we will be hitting 200 miles in the next day or so. Since we left Monson, it has been like a total different trail. Our spirits are high, our bodies don’t want to fall apart when we make it to the lean-to or camp. Actually, we feel pretty good overall. The miles have seemed to go by really smooth even when we are climbing up and over the mountains.

Only a couple of miles out of town, we crossed a logging road and stumbled on some trail magic, an old cooler filled with all different kinds of beer. Of course, we sat there and had a drink, but before long, two hikers in their 50s or 60s sat down with us and killed a few. They told us cool stories about the trail and about the time one had to take a SWAT team on a canoeing trip that turn into a drunken free for all. We parted ways and pushed on. That night we cowboy camped under the stars next to the river, supposedly we should have seen meteor showers but no dice.

Two days later we came to the Kennebec River in Caratunk , ME. The river is far too wide and too deep for us to ford and there is no bridge, but there is Steve the Ferry Man. He, ferries hikers back and forth across the river in a canoe. He has been doing it for like 18 years and the AT Conservancy pays for it, so we don’t have to. Well we made it to the river too late in the day and we needed to resupply on snacks for the rest of the week, so we hitched a ride down to the ferry man’s store. We also figured we would just cowboy camp outside so we didn’t have to pay for a bunk, and since it was suppose to rain, Steve was going to lets us sleep on the porch under the awning. Although, when the rain starting pounding, Steve told us to sleep in one of the cabins for the night, a most excellent gesture.

We awoke the next morning and were taken back to the trail head by Steve, walked a half mile with him, and then strapped on the life jackets. We signed our waiver and then were ferried across the beautiful Kennebec . Steve was immediately greeted by Northbounders as well. We made about 14 miles that day, and in about seven hours. We were definitely proud of the pace and the ease of the rolling hills. There we stayed in a crowded lean-to with 7 others, 3 of them going south on section hikes. We thought for a second we may have company on the trail, but the next day we would find ourselves pushing on past the 7 miles that group would do.

The following day started as an easy 8 miles to the next lean-to, but by the time we got there, it was only 11:00 in the morning. We had to push on to the next lean-to on top of Bigelow Mtn (4100 ft), only after climbing Little Bigelow Mtn (3100 ft) first though. The first mountain was tough, but it went by pretty fast. Actually the traverse across its ridge line seemed to go on forever though. We had to drop down about 1000 ft before we could start climbing back up the next mountain. We found some really cool caves that we could have slept in, but it was still too early in the day and the weather was too perfect not to summit. The summit was cold and the winds were howling around 50 or 60 miles an hour. It was hard to simply stand in one place without being shoved around, so climbing back down was not an easy task.

Once we got down to where the lean-to was supposed to be, we found out that it was torn down and replaced by campsites. We were worried about cowboy camping because it snowed up there the night before. The next set of lean-tos were another 3 miles over the ridge. We had to push on even though we only had another one to 2 hours of hiking before it was too dark. We could have made it, but Tundra Wookie’s knee was giving him trouble. Several times, he had to sit down and work out the muscle. After an hour of hiking with headlamps, we made it safely to our lean-to.

The following morning we took the 5 mile stroll downhill to the road that would bring us here to Stratton. We didn’t even walk 100 ft before this jeep honked his horn, dropped of some hikers, and picked us up. Thanks to him, we didn’t have to hike the 5 miles into town. Nothing much to say about Stratton, its not like home, but there’s a grocery store across the street that we raided for food and mt. dews. The tent, maps, and food all made it to the post office in time, thank you guys. we push on toward Andover in a hour or so. We hope to be there in 6 to 7 days.


This exert was originally published on It’s content has not been edited from the original post.

by: Bryan Wolf

 This had to of been the most free feeling and relaxed I have ever been in my life.  I can recall phone conversations from Stratton; instead of the doubt and hardship that I explained in Monson, I spoke confidently of finishing.  This was the first time on the trail that I knew there was nothing mentally that would get in the way.  My friend Robert asked me “how far do you think you’ll go?”. My reply “We’re going to Georgia now”. Maine is all rugged but will always be my favorite state!