It was 1994, on my 23rd birthday, when my father gave me an envelope which I figured would be a gift certificate for something outdoors or even a golf club coupon. But to my surprise, it was an airline ticket to Atlanta! I was utterly confused. But that confusion soon turned into huge excitement when he said, "We are going to hike the Appalachian Trail in less than 50 days. Get ready son."
I was excited, and I asked him why he hadn't ever hiked this trail. He said he'd always had the dream of hiking it with me. In his words, "I saved the best for you."
That was a trip I will never forget. I think to date that is one of most fun and adventurous things I have ever done. We were able to finish it in 49 days, too. We both were very proud of each other. Soon after that trip, my dad was diagnosed with a severe case of arthritis. Even though the doctors said it was not because of that trip, they think it was too many hiking trips through many rough and rugged terrains that contributed to his condition.
When I originally had the idea to write a guidebook on how to hike on the great Appalachian Trail, at first, I thought I should just write it like a journal of what we did. But then my father told me that might not help every listener. He suggested that I should write it like a guidebook that can help anyone from a beginner to an advanced hiker. This way we cover a broad range of hikers. So this book is not about my hiking trips, but yours. My main focus in this book is to get you familiarized with the trail and get you prepared for it.
This book is truly a guidebook which is divided into two parts where I start off with some basic facts and information about the great Appalachian Trail, then give my listeners a clear overview of the trail in every region and state it crosses. Next, I talk about how to get started hiking the Appalachian Trail, along with all the different options like a day hike, multi-day hike, and through hike.
Next, I spoke about what to expect on the trail, what kind of help and support is out there, how weather can affect your hiking, and what wild animals you have to be aware of. Then I discuss how you can find sanitation, restrooms, showers, etc. on the trail, and how to deal with various illnesses while on the trail.
Next up is how you should pack, what gear you need, how to plan a through-hike, and how to actually get started on this amazing trip.
In the second part of the book, I share how to hike each section day by day and what you can expect, what you need to be looking for, and what you need to be aware of on each section of your hike.
After hiking through the great Appalachian Trail twice, I can assure you it can be done. No, it is not a monumental task, but yes, it will take effort and a strong willingness to go through with it. I know if I could do it, anyone can.