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.


Trail Health

Health issues can be a concern for those who plan to be hiking the Appalachian Trail for months at a time. There are many potential dangers and sicknesses that a hiker will be exposed to, including physical injuries from the repetetive work of hiking, diseases stemming from the environment's animals and water, and common illnesses that can be exasperated by lack of nutrition and rest. The main thing to remember is to use common sense, listen to your body. Don't push yourself farther than you know you should, and take care of problems right away - before they force you off of the trail for good.


Medical Coverage and Insurance

Many hikers choose to have medical insurance to cover them while on their Appalachian Trail hike.

Did you have medical coverage on your hike?

Yes 66%
No 34%


Types of Medical Coverage

Cobra 23%
Often offered to employees of a company when they leave their job. Extends medical coverage for a limited amount of time.
Family Coverage 15%
Includes coverage under spouse or parent.
Retirement 8%
Work Insurance 12%
Some hikers elect to take a leave of absence from their jobs, which allows them to keep their employer's coverage.
Accidental / Catastrophic 12%
Temporary / Short Term 15%
Companies such as Fortis and Celtic offer short-term coverage at a low cost. Regulations vary according to the state you live in.
Other Plans 15%
Includes traditional coverage such as BlueCross and United Healthcare. Aetna?


Of those who reported getting sick while hiking the Appalachian Trail, 42% labeled it as a "24 hour flu." In 2003 particularly, many hikers felt their flu bug was somehow linked to Erwin, Tennessee and/or Damascus, Virginia. It's unclear whether the bug came from the hostels, a restaurant, the woods, or simply from too many dirty hikers traveling together.

Did you get sick on your hike?

Yes 55%
No 45%

Other ailments while hiking the trail included: pneumonia, kidney stones, hypothermia, toenail infection, colds, rhotovirus, rashes, ingrown toenails, sprained ankle, spider bite, poison ivy, food poisoning, and a mix of nausea, diarrhea, dehydration, and cramping.


Next > More Info on Trail Health

< Back to Backpacking Gear

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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