Tag Archives: thru-hiker

On the AT: Hiking through the thru-hikers

The backpacker looked up from his reverie, saw me and jumped. “Whoa! Didn’t see you there,” he said.
Our paths converged a little after 9 Tuesday morning, on Section 9 of the Appalachian Trail midway between Rock Gap and Albert Mountain in western North Carolina. “Country,” as he soon identified himself, was why I was on this particular trail at this particular time headed this direction, south. The reason Country (pictured) didn’t notice me was he had other things on his mind. Like Maine.
Country was an AT thru-hiker, one of perhaps three dozen I ran into during two days on the trail. The AT thru-hiking season – for northbounders headed from Springer Mountain, Ga., 2,178 miles north to Katahdin, Maine – officially launched March 15 and the bulk of the class of 2010 was now hiking into southern North Carolina.
Country, for instance, had started March 19 and had so far covered about 110 miles. Not all of those miles had been fun.
“The 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th days, it was bad,” the Alabaman said as he leaned on an impromptu hiking staff. “Rain, cold and a little snow. Since then it’s been great.”
Country admitted he had come into this six-month journey ill prepared, a fact I’d gathered by the tennis shoes he was wearing. “Had a guy quit and give me his tent, a Wenzel. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on the tent. I say, ‘Thanks!’” He shrugs, then adds, “I don’t have to tell ’em the whole story.”
I asked Country how he got his trail name. “There were two of us with ‘Country’ early on. The other guy wound up being ‘Country Gold.’” read more