HikeMore Online Newsletter - Appalachian Trail Edition, Spring 2004


AT Survey Guide

Getting Ready
Background Info
Making Time
Start Dates
Mail Drops
Bounce Boxes

Backpacking Gear
Top Twelve
Sent Home
Best Gear
Worst Gear
Top Brands
First Aid
Water Treatment
Maps / Guides
Seasonal Changes
Backpack Weight

Pain / Problems

Weight Loss

Trail Food
Top 5 Foods

Danger on the Trail

After the Trail
End Dates
Hiking Again
Favorite Sections
Biggest Surprise
Best of the Trail
Worst of the Trail
Lessons Learned


Appalachian Trail 2003 Hiker Survey

The majority of survey responses we received were from northbound thru-hikers, so these results are therefore representative of their experiences. To date we have received 49 replies to our Appalachian Trail survey. According to the ATC, there were 503 hikers that reported finishing the AT in 2003.


Danger on the Appalachian Trail

When thinking about spending months in the woods, hikers imagine all sorts of threats. Most have to do with rattlesnakes lying in wait on the side of the Trail, or a bear ravaging a tent in the middle of the night. While some of the "dangers" of the Trail may actually be this dramatic, many are unexpected. Accepting rides with strangers, fording rushing streams after violent storms, or stumbling on a rock mid-stride all have the potential for real danger.

Following are the answers hikers had for the question of whether they found danger on the Trail.

Weirdos and Other Hikers

Hitched with a guy that took us with him to get Percosets. After popping a few, he drove 100 mph down twisty roads.
We went into town somewhere in Virginia to have lunch and this guy, who had seen us hitchhiking, followed us into the restaurant. He sat near us and started asking questions. We lied about our names, said we were truck drivers. Soon he left.
Met up with a strange guy in jeans and no pack. He was asking where the trail leads to.
I really only ran into dangerous folks in town.
Crazy rides while hitchhiking.
Only one weirdo - just gave me the creeps, his stories didn't match up. He was later arrested for larceny.
Picked up by a man in a white Jeep Wrangler outside Vernon. He tried to feel me up. I slapped his hand away, he pulled over, and I was on my way.
Found out that a hiker whom I spent several nights with was a thief.

Wildlife and Animals

Moose outside of tent.
In the north part of the Shenandoahs, circled by a territorial bear that later charged [other hikers.]
Stepped over a copperhead near the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Bee stings.
Encounters with copperheads and rattlers.
Hiking with my dog through a cow pasture and had a scary incident with the alpha male bull. Dogs and cows don't always mix.
A huge mother bear
Dogs - use hiking poles for defense.

Other Dangers

Snow and ice on Mt. Katahdin.
Fords in Maine after pouring rain.
Hypothermic episode.
Electrical / lightning storms.
Fell off bunk in shelter and hurt back.
Road crossings - Palisades Parkway in New Jersey
Slipped outside of Roanoke in the rain and slid about 40 feet down a granite slope.
Night hiking and took a wrong turn. The trail took me straight to the edge of a cliff. Stopped there and camped until morning.

Interested in learning more about some actual thru-hiker experiences? Read our article on "Danger on the Trail."


Next > After the Trail

< Back to Trail Food

Hiking the AT in 2003
Danger on the Trail
Agony of the Feet
Appalachian Trail Documentary
Appalachian Trail 2003 Survey Results
Trail Food Ideas and Recipes
Comics - Coming Soon
Trail Days in Damascus

Additional AT Info

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HikeMore Online Newsletter | Appalachian Trail Edition | Spring 2004

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