February 4, 2012

Appalachian Trail - becoming a "2000 Miler"

My first Appalachian Trail hike was in 1972. What started out as a week long adventure had turned into a life long passion. It took me 31 years to complete the A.T. one section at a time. In 2003 I earned my "2000 Miler" status atop Pleasant Pond Mtn in Maine. To quote Ed Garvey, it truly was "An Adventure of a Lifetime".

How it all Started! 

That first Backpacking trip in 1972 was with a group of friends called the Mosquito Hill Gang!

We followed the Appalachian Trail for a week with an assortment of gear that ranged from heavy to heavier. That was not an ultralight backpacking trip!

In 1976 I attempted a thru hike of the 2000 mile Appalachian Trail. That hike ended in Waynesboro VA after 700 miles and two months of backpacking.
Years went by and I still wanted to "hike the whole trail". In 1996 I decided to complete the trail one section at a time. What I had each year was a limited amount of time to spend section hiking. I soon began to believe that I would never complete the whole Appalachian Trail.

Beyond Backpacking

In 1999 I "discovered" the book Beyond Backpacking : Ray Jardine's Guide To Lightweight Hiking. In it I discovered his amazing philosophy of ultralight backpacking. Around the same time I finally got "on-line" and discovered both Michael's, and JohnO's, Ultralight Backpacking pages. A light went on! Maybe if I carry less weight, I could hike more miles per day, and that would allow me to complete the Appalachian Trail IN THIS LIFETIME !!!

My Section Hikes

What follows is a list of each of my A.T. section-hikes. The list is in chronological‪‬ order starting with my first hike in 1972.

197237.5 milesMaine - Rt 17 to Rt 27
197340.1 milesMaine - Rt 201 to Rt 27
197533.3 milesMaine - Rt 26 to Rt 17
1976883.9 milesGA->VA - Springer Mtn GA to Waynesboro VA
197623.9 milesNH->ME - Rt 2 to Rt 26
198054.3 milesMaine - JoMary Rd to Katahdin
199524.0 milesMaine - Moxie Pond to Rt 15
199643.3 milesMaine - JoMary Rd to Long Pond Stream
199614.4 milesMaine - Long Pond Stream to Rt 15
1996  7.0 milesMaine - Rt 201 to Pleasnat Pond Mtn
199715.2 milesNew Hampshire - Rt 2 to Carter Notch
1997  5.9 milesNew Hampshire - Carter Notch to Pinkham Notch
199726.0 milesNew Hampshire - Pinkham Notch to Crawford Notch
199779.3 milesNew Hampshire - Dartmouth Skiway to Crawford Notch
199811.4 milesNew Hampshire - Dartmouth Skiway to Etna Rd
199822.2 milesNH->VT - Hanover NH to Rt 12 VT
1999128.4 milseVT->MA - Rt 12 VT to N Adams MA
200014.0 milesMassachusetts - N Adams to Cheshire
2000194.6 milesMA/CT/NY - Cheshire MA to Arden NY
2001266.1 milesNY/NJ/PA - Arden NY to Boiling Springs PA
2002147.4 milesVA/WV - Waynesboro VA to Harpers Ferry WV
200398.7 milesWV->PA - Harpers Ferry WV to Boiling Springs PA
2003  6.0 milesNew Hampshire - Hanover to Etna Rd
  4.9 milesMoxie Pond to Pleasant Pond Mtn !!

Whats your story?

In a nutshell, that's my Appalachian Trail experience. Again and again I'm drawn back to following those white blazes. Quite often I find myself dreaming of another thru-hike attempt...

What's your Appalachian Trail story? Post A Comment below and tell me about it!

More information on Ultralight Backpacking Gear, Tips, and Techniques can be found at Onestep's Ultralight Backpacking Resource  “section hiking the Appalachian Trail with a 10 pound pack”.


  1. Well, I dabbled in day hikes because of geocaching, and thanks to your expert advice on carrying water within my limitations. Doing those hikes, especially Moat Mtn progressive geocache challenge and hike, along with Tumbledown Mtn's education, it made me want to hike the AT. Unfortunately, 3 back surgeries later, I am lucky to walk a few hundred feet to a geocache. I still have hope that some day things will change and I will have the resources to tackle the AT, or at least the Maine portion, a little at a time. Thank you for sharing your journey with us and for changing how I feel about hiking. Oh, but I definitely wouldn't do it alone because I would be too scard to stay in the woods alone at night. There are bears out there!! MARTES

    1. Martes... cache on! Little Hiking Steps are better than none at all. Somehow I feel you have another Moat Mountain left in you!

  2. Hey Kurt,
    I can't believe that just when I'm getting into some serious obsessing about hiking the AT, and yes getting the weight waaaay down, your site popped up. Great timing! After many years of long daytripping up hills in all seasons, I'm wanting a new challenge and your site certainly fits right into my education. I'm toying with the idea of doing the AT in 2 or 3 stretches, probably starting at the Big K and heading south just after the worst of the black fly season, most likely in 2013, as one of my first retirement projects. I'll let you know when I need pizza delivered...
    Nice job on your site, Kurt, and thanks!
    John Jaeger aka snoshoovt

    1. Hi John! - Welcome aboard, but whats this about "obsessing"? I found (again) that long distance hiking is a great alternative to peakbagging for those of us who want another list to pursue. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Just being outdoors is what matters! Keep me posted on your AT plans... and remember, a pizza delivery deep within the 100 Mile Wilderness is in the realm of possibilities!!