March 02, 2007
Appalachian Trail on my Mind
Round Bald along the Appalachian Trail in NE Tennessee
Seven years ago this week I set off from Springer Mountain, Georgia headed towards Maine on the Appalachian Trail. Five and a half months, 14 states, and 2,167 miles later I was standing atop Mt. Katahdin, and my hike was over. I had accomplished my goal and completed a thru-hike of the A.T. Three years later in March 2003, I would find myself resigning from Verizon Corp. after a 19-year career, after accepting a job offer from American Hiking Society.
A strange phenomenon afflicts many thru-hikers this time of year. They develop a malady known as Springer Fever. This affliction has a number of symptoms including a strange compulsion to travel to the mountains of North Georgia for some backpacking.
After receiving a call this morning from my colleague Shad Baker, who is the President of the Pine Mountain Trail Conference in Kentucky, Springer Fever hit me hard. You see, Shad invited me to join him and his friends for a hike of the A.T. in Georgia, starting next October. Although October is many long months away, that call set my mind in motion, and soon I was thumbing through an old copy of the Appalachian Trail Databook, looking at the place names, trail towns, and the mileage between campsites and shelters.
Having another backpacking trip on the horizon is always helpful for me. It tides me through difficult days, and provides me with something to dream about and look forward to.
If you'd like to take a glimpse into the world of the thru-hiker, you can do so by visiting Trailjournals.com. There, you'll find all kinds of hiker journals, including mine from the year 2000. It's a great way to experience trail life vicariously. But I warn you. I will not be held responsible if you suddenly develop a fever. Springer Fever, that is.
PS: If you see my wife, please don't tell her about my hiking trip next October. I'd like her to hear it from me first.
Great Places to Hike | By Jeffrey Hunter | 08:20 PM