|Author/Hiker Michelle Pugh|
The Appalachian Trail (the AT for short) stretches across 2,184 miles of mountain, meadow, and occasionally asphalt from Georgia to Maine. Some intrepid adventurers begin at one end, usually Georgia, and hike every inch of the AT in one trip, until they summit Mt. Katahdin in Maine. These people are known as thru-hikers and only 10% of the people who attempt the trail this way are successful. Other hikers, called section hikers, do the trail a piece at a time. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy says the number of thru-hikers has grown steadily from the early days. Only 5 people completed the journey during the first three years the trail was open, 1936-1939. Compare that to 2010-2013 when 2,203 hikers made the trek -- about 25% of those adventurous souls were women.