For anyone who aspires to conquer the Appalachian Trail, those who have completed the journey and want to hike down memory lane, and even those who simply want to taste the experience, Backpacker Magazine promotes AT in a Day. Their goal is to unite the hiking community to collectively complete the Appalachian Trail in a single day.
Sounds fun, right? That’s what I thought! So this year I got online to register for a section. Most of the options were only three or four miles, but one stood out: A 25+ mile section (not counting the approach trail and side excursions) from Franconia Ridge to Route 302 that was marked as a “challenge.” It’s moments like this where I’m blind to common sense. Challenge accepted. But why horde all the pain and suffering for myself? I called my brother Brad and roped him into the masochism. After all, misery loves company.
The following is a photo diary of our journey. If you’re looking for trail descriptions, please refer to the Pemi Loop, Franconia Notch to Mt. Garfield, Mt. Garfield to Mt. Guyot, Mt. Guyot to Mizpah Spring Hut posts.
After descending Mt. Garfield to the spring at the Garfield Ridge Campsite, it probably wasn’t a good sign when we were talking to a thru-hiker, and upon telling him where we were going, he looked at us like we were crazy. “Where’d you start?” he asked, as if he hadn’t heard us correctly.
After beginning our hike at 3:20 in the morning, we finished at 9:30 p.m., completely spent. Total miles: 28.4. In other words, we hiked 1% of the Appalachian Trail for AT in a Day. Not too shabby.