START: Knot Maul Branch Shelter, VA
FINISH: Double Springs Shelter, TN
DISTANCE: 107.7 miles (km)
DAILY AVERAGE: 35.9 miles (km)
TOTAL DISTANCE: 1735.1 (km)
Rainy Mondays: Call it the curse of the The Carpenters, but during my AT hike I seem to have encountered an inordinate amount of precipitation on Mondays. Indeed, it’s reached the point where I don’t even bother checking the forecast; I simply put on my rain jacket, break out the umbrella and start singing Rainy Days and Mondays.
5 Things I like about hiking the AT in late Fall:
1. The shelters are never crowded; in fact 95% of the time I have them to myself.
2. Sunrises and Sunsets: With the leaves having long since fallen, the early morning and late afternoon vistas are often sublime.
3. The views in general have been good; a far cry from the AT’s reputation as the “long green tunnel.”
4. Town Lodgings: As I am usually the only guest staying at some of the hiker hostels, I often have the opportunity to sit down with the proprietors and have a good old chinwag about all things pertaining to the AT.
5. Balance: One of my favourite aspects of long distance hiking is chatting to my fellow wayfarers whilst out on the trail. That being said, the AT is a very popular hike, and in the middle of hiking season it can feel like a proverbial backcountry highway. From my own perspective, walking in the late Fall provides an ideal balance between solitude and the social, cultural and culinary elements for which the AT is known.