Appalachian Trail: Am I Hiking Alone? – The Trek

“You are on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.” -Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go

The first question asked by friends, family, coworkers, and strangers was—are you hiking ALONE? Is your husband coming? I was genuinely touched that so many people were instantly concerned for my safety. They were curious how I was going to make it out there on my own. 

I Hike, You Hike, We All Hike

Good news: I am actually hiking with about 2000-3000 other people. Starting in March (or April) places hikers smack in the middle of the ‘hiker-bubble’. Approximately 3,000 people will attempt to thru-hike each year, and 76 percent will start in March/April in Springer, Georgia heading northbound NOBO to Katahdin, Maine. 

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy publishes trail registrants by day, and as of mid-March 2022, there were 3,005 northbound hikers registered already, while only 91 planned to march southbound. In March, the peak month for hikers starting their adventures, 1,590 hikers registered to start their trek—that’s more than half (53%) of all the other months combined, followed by April (26%). That’s one BIG hiking bubble. 

On the day I started, more than 50 hikers were registered to be on the trail, and that was an average volume day for March. Was I going to be alone? Highly unlikely. At least not for the first few months. My husband was also section hiking and we were starting the NOBO trek together. 

Starting Solo

Nearly 70 percent of all hikers start the thru hike solo, but almost everyone ends up making friends and hikes in a group together (Source: 2019 Hiker Survey, The Trek). 

After all, for most people, it’s hard to find friends and family members willing to give up their lives for 5-7 months to go walking through the woods. It took a year of planning for me to finally make the decision to go—and it’s never convenient to take a six-month vacation. 

Communities Along the Trail

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Source: https://thetrek.co/appalachian-trail/appalachian-trail-am-i-hiking-alone/

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