[This post is rated “I” for intermediate, meaning it is neither basic information, nor little known.]**
A previous post highlighted the Appalachian Trail by looking at some “numbers,” which outlined various facts about the Trail as a way to better understand the nature of the AT and the nature of a thru-hike. One number I omitted was 5,000,0000. Ever since Earl Shaffer completed a thru-hike of the Trail, 5 million has been considered the number of steps required to travel the entire length of the AT.
One way I think of 5 million steps is persistence and consistency in doing an otherwise simple task many times to reach an otherwise seemingly impossible goal – much like my friend Buddy Beaver, whose handiwork I encountered during a shakedown hike in the Berkshires of Massachusetts last fall.
There are many (many) memoirs about attempting and completing thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail. In future posts I will recommend a few that I think are particularly good. One of those that goes with this post’s theme is: Five Million Steps on a Journey of Hope: Thru-Hiking the Appalachian Trail by Bob “Buckeye Flash” Grau (self-published in 2013 about the author’s 2011 NOBO charity hike).
5 Million Steps!
Please follow my planned adventure. Believe it or not, I plan to start the 2,200 trek by leaving Springer Mountain and heading north just 60 days from now.
Please feel free to pose whatever questions you may have about this planned journey in the “Comments” section below any post.
Finally, please share this site with others who might be interested in the Appalachian Trail or with my plan to attempt a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
** Rating System. Due to the difference experience level people have with the AT, I will “warn” people at the beginning of a post as to whether I consider the information “Basic” or “Beginner” level – for those essentially new to all things Appalachian Trail. I like to think of Beginners as “Day Hikers.” (Follow along and by the end of my hike you will be completely literate about the AT and thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.) The other “ratings” will be “I” for “Intermediate.” and “E” for “Expert.” I like to think of those with Intermediate knowledge as “Section Hikers” and those with Expert knowledge as “Thru-Hikers.” [For instance, a Beginner will not yet know to what Section Hiker or Thru-Hiker refers. More about Section Hikers and Thru-Hikers in a future post.]