Saturday, May 18, 2013
Hiking USA -- #1 : The Appalachian Trail : Section Hiking the New York -New Jersey Stretch
And here I am talking about my plans to section-hike one of the longest and most famous trail in the world. Its something I never ever dreamt about before, so of course hadn't had any plans to hike until this may. Yes it is The Iconic Appalachian Trail, America's most storied footpath. .
My readers who, haven't heard about this trail before, let me briefly introduce you to this over 2100 miles or 3500kms trail that runs through 14 states in the eastern United States, stretching from Georgia in south to north most in Maine, running via many state parks and national parks most notably Great Smokies and Shenandoah, and ending all the way in to Canada.
The map image on the left is actually this trail in its entirety. depending on your strength and stamina, it usually takes around 5 to 6 months if your through-hiking also called thru-hiking the trail. through-hiking is doing the entire stretch of the trail in one journey, something not very easy to do, but one can take off a week or two or for that matter weekends and do certain selective stretches either as part of National Park hiking or otherwise. and that is exactly what I am planning to do this upcoming long-weekend.
Since I am in Jersey currently and very close to much happening New York, I was looking for some hiking options somewhere close-by in my very favorite way of doing it, Google'ing that is, and wont you agree it was the best way, it ended up giving me the Appalachian Trail. So I studied the trail from Harper's Ferry near Washington DC to Delaware water Gap and all the way to Hudson Highlands. Harper's Ferry, obviously was very far-fetched but I had absolutely no idea about the distance, so I called up the Appalachian trail conservancy office in the Virginia, and asked em about the distance, I had by then figured out one end up in NY and that was Pawling.
Now here is the funny thing, the trail is not circular, good for me, I wasn't really looking forward to go to the peak and come back or sort, which i have been doing all this time. the trail has parking spots every 10 miles for so I believe, so that you can start a trek at certain point, do a distance, get down and get a ride someway or the other to your car, if you have one. Now what I was looking for was public transports and this is how I found Pawling and harper's ferry,
the only two train stations on the trail itself. So first i thought I'd do DC to NY but when I learned that its about 400 miles, I was laughing out loud on myself. anyways, at-least I could finalise on one end-up, so all i needed was to find one more end-up well with in the 3 days hike, and thats when I found Peekskill on the map. ( see below the connection map)
Turned out I was not the only one craving for public transports and long-weekend hike on the famous trail. this blog assured me the plan I was making, was doable and thats when I put my final stamp on it.
View Larger Map
I looked through the pictures on google and most of the nice ones I found, are from down south. so I have absolutely no idea how the trail is going to look like next week when I hike. but east coast is fresh green and beautiful right now, and with changing weather, sometime its very sunny and misty the other times. this is what explains why I picked up the picture I posted in the beginning of this post. I am thinking it'll even better in fall specially the stretch I am attempting, but I cant wait till then and for falls I have other plans. Another thing to mention, this area is not much touched, I am not sure why, and that perhaps also explains why there aren't many pictures of NY-NJ part of the trail on the internet. I am also not sure about how many people going to be on the trail over this long weekend. it could be crowded or not. There are some specifics about hiking in this area too, like educating yourself and preping for bacteria infections or hunting for example, I think I can only imagine for now how its going to be. but I am sure it'll be interesting. fingers crossed.
1. AT Distance calculator
If you are planning to section-hike and trying to find the distance between any two points of the trail.
for example, The distance on the Appalachian Trail between High Point Shelter, NJ and County 20-Pawling, NY is 108.4 miles.
Good Part, its also give you the idea of entire trail, where all its runs from and along. very educating.
2. Maps of Shelters along the trail.
As the title says, this has the details and locations of the shelters along the trail, no matter what your start or end point is. there are approximately 260 trail shelters on the Appalachian Trail. so this map is pretty useful for you to determine where you want to start and end your trek, in case your doing a weekend hike only, I must say. You can also download the GPS data from here for your trek.
3 - Thru-Hikers Resources
I did not yet go through any of links listed in this site, since I wasn't looking for that long hike anyway. but if you are doing a 100 miles for more stretch, you might find useful things in there.
4- NPS Appalachian Directives
Another good resources point to start with for thru-hikers. You can buy brochures, guides books etc.
5- Lyme Disease or Deer Ticks
A good Article to explain you about the bacteria infection you can risk exposing yourself to while on Appalachian trail. also the details about the repellant etc. tell you this almost made me drop my plans, to do this hike. Leeches never did that to me in Western Ghats of India. but then one who's willing to try will try right, with precautions but. so Thank you for educating me about this in advance, I'll be carrying Permethrin, DEET, antibiotics and of course I'd blouse my pants and wear long-sleeves.
The local portal on hiking, something I'll be going back to many times in coming months. It has very good details about the treks in near by area and I found it very helpful figuring out which stretch I would want to attempt first.
Well, wish me luck and hopefully I'd come out with some interesting story and pictures from my first long hike in the east coast USA. :)
( Above photo courtesy - clickbooq.com & http://www.appalachiantrail.org/ )