Welcome to American Backcountry’s Notes from the Trail. Here we share stories and thoughts from some of our favorite contributors. Each mountain is different and each trip has a different story – these are notes collected along the trail.
July 18, 2014
So I am back out on a section hike of the Appalachian Trail this weekend looking to unplug and recharge the mental batteries after a very busy spring. This year I am looking to knock out 120 miles on the AT and started southbound from a little hamlet called Ceres, VA. My friend and neighbor Jeff (Cascio) and I (Trailworthy) have been slogging out sections for a few years now and find we are in same spot so have chosen to join up to make the logistics of section hiking a little easier.
As we trekked south we knew we would be running into the bubble of AT hikers traveling north especially in light of AT Trail Days Festival in Damascus, VA. 1st day we passed 60 thru-hikers and second day 53. It’s not too difficult to tell who is thru-hiking. Haircuts and hygiene have given way to the realities and priorities of day to day living on the AT. I would say the mean age of who we passed was 27.
I had an interesting realization as I was on my last mile down the trail to where we were meeting our shuttle back our car. In the last several days I had not once seen anyone glued to a smartphone screen or plugged into technology gadgets other than a few with ipods cruising to their own beat. This came as quite refreshing as I realized that the trail, as always, maintains it magic in keeping me in in the present moment. Something I am challenged daily with otherwise. Sometimes that is stopping for lunch, sometimes that is finding a place to hole up for the night. The adage of “hike your own hike” is alive and well.