This includes concealed weapon permits that are valid or recognized in all the 14 states through which the trail passes. Black bears will generally want to eat your food. This Complete Hiking the Appalachian Trail Blog has some of the best Appalachian Trail thru hike tips and information you will need to successfully complete your AT thru hike 2021. Great post! Bugs and creepy crawlers are a fact of life on the Appalachian Trail. In North America, one mountain range which has a long history steeped in the inexplicable and bizarre is the... Read more » This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies. Animals . Give animals space. The answer to this question is similar to the one above. If you do surprise one of these poisonous snakes, do not freeze. My fear is the same as Kathleens…getting caught in between campsites seems kinda scarey…would it be weird to set up a line around my tent with a couple bells just for safety? First, we should cover ticks – as tick-borne diseases pose the largest risk to human health while hiking the Appalachian Trail. Dangerous animals on the Appalachian Trail. (No offense to blonde haired folks. There is certainly a chance of an encounter with a bear or cougar that would require defending yourself, but having had many bear encounters and in the vicinity of cougars, I can say that if you handle yourself smartly the odds are very, very slim that you will have Contact | Privacy Policy. For hiking enthusiasts and nature lovers, the Appalachian Trail is something of a legend and an epic undertaking. Katahdin is a dramatic climb that requires some more boulder scrambling. A willingness to trudge, in Bryson's case, the full length of the Appalachian Trail, some 2,160 miles, from Springer Mountain, in Georgia, to Mount Katahdin, in Maine. A simple “have fun” would suffice. Many backpacks have a safety whistle built in on the clip of the sternum strap. But the things you should protect yourself against fall into a different Venn circle than that of mom’s concerns. So I guess you can say I’m afraid of babbling brooks. I feel silly for asking but have heard of people doing this and I will be hiking alone. Another common cause of snake bite is human unawareness. Anytime I plan any sort of hiking adventure, international travels, or road trip it seems like there’s always a handful of people who want to question my sanity and lack of male protection. I said YES! Related: How To Hike The Appalachian Trail Alone Safely; Remember that, especially if you’re a newbie hiker, the Appalachian Trail is arduous – whether taken in sections or as a multi-month long thru hike. Between the hikers and the rescuers they got him out. More likely they will wait until you’re sleeping and try to get to your food bag you hung in a tree. You just have to get out there and see for yourself that it’s not scary. My biggest fear would be not making it to the next campsite, or losing my water filtering equipment. There are many considerations, such as climate, terrain and wildlife. Other than soiling themselves, a good plan B is to carry a trowel to dig a small hole in the dirt so other animals don’t accidentally step in it whenthey are pooping. Another tricky section appears in the form of Baxter State Park and the ascent of Katahdin, the longest continual ascent on the whole trail. We tackled Katahdin back then, and now get to adventure on the rest of our lives together. The wilderness of the 2,190-mile Appalachian Trail can pose many risks to its visitors. The latest killing happened on the 11th of May, 2019, when a deranged man attacked a group of four hikers with a knife. ! In this article we look at the risks involved in undertaking the most famous thru hike on the planet. There are numerous species of tick in every single state the trail passes through, and the most common disease they carry is Lyme disease. Your email address will not be published. Even before the arrival of humans in America, grizzly bears did not populate the eastern side of the continent. Contracting Lyme disease is unlikely if you find the tick early. To be out on the trail without navigational equipment or expertise, and to be inadequately prepared for rapid changes in weather are the biggest dangers you will face (along with ticks, although preparation takes care of them as well!). Maybe I'm too excited about the PCT, and it's early to think about things like this, but I don't know, I've just want to make something to achieve it. It is an old perception that it is not safe for women to be alone, but there are countless adventurous women who hit the trails everyday as solo travelers. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely been times when I’ve been sexually harassed on the Appalachian Trail and that sucks. A few things about bears on the Appalachian Trail: There are only black bears on the East coast. Does anyone have any fears I didn’t mention? Appalachian Trail animals includes amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles. After a few nights of camping alone, you’ll probably feel less scared and might not need the bells anymore. Snakes will normally only attack a human if they are provoked. I have walked the Camino twice and hope to tackle the AT next year – covid permitting! It is estimated that close to three million visitors are hiking the Appalachian Trail to some degree. Postholer.Com Resource for Hikers. This is a wonderful post. This is an irresponsible and dangerous method for the A.T. Sleeping with one’s food habituates animals to shelters and tents and greatly increases the likelihood of a mutually negative encounter with wildlife. The logistics are tripping me up as I need to fly and schedule a shuttle. You should do whatever makes you sleep more soundly. It would then disappear without a trace into the night. Also, I cycled recently through the Balkans. Read on to learn about where dogs are not allowed on the AT. Like all the other animals you will encounter, these poisonous snakes will only be dangerous when surprised or cornered. You can also buy the “The Thru-hiker’s Handbook” through this site. 8 Tips for Backpacking in the Sawtooth Mountains, Tips for Staying Fit While Long-Term Traveling. Eastern diamondback rattlesnakes inhabit Georgia and North Carolina. It’s the small things you have to look out for! Robbery / Rape / Murder: Indeed there has been some violence on the Appalachian Trail, including murders, which I outlined in this post about murder on the Appalachian Trail. There is a majestic, vast, rugged quality to them that make them seem like perfect places for mysteries to lurk hidden away from the eyes of civilization. “Are you bringing a gun?” “A gun?! Unlike bears, they are difficult to identify, and you … There are far too many mammals, birds, reptiles, … Hiking is a long, vigorous walk, usually on trails or footpaths in the countryside. The Appalachian trail is filled with challenge, beauty, and mystery. Your guide to outdoor adventure since 2019. The second amendment has always been my carry permit. If one starts off in Georgia. So, it can be very confusing about whether or not you are fully cleared to carry your firearm on the trail with you. Most campsites are not very far off of the trail or they are on a side trail. You will spend time hiking with people you have met, and there will be other groups around the place. You may also find it quite difficult to find a partner for a thru-hike. You can spray yourself with bug spray to keep ticks and mosquitos away, but covering your skin in chemicals and not being able to wash it off is probably bad for you too. I think women especially have concerns about hiking solo, particularly in regards to running into creepy men while we’re hiking all alone. If there is an additional species that you would like included here, or if you have comments or suggestions concerning this … Although you may hear a pack of coyotes calling at night (accompanied by horrified tingles down your spine), they do not represent any threat to humans and will keep to themselves. If you don’t make it to the campsite, you can just set up where ever you find a good spot. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. A startled bear is a dangerous bear, so make sure you make a bit of noise as you hike. In 1993, an A.T. thru-hiker contracted hantavirus as he hiked through Virginia. Although snake bits are exceedingly rare in the US (and death by snake bite is even rarer still), it is still important to know what to do in case you come across one of the lethal species. He set up his tent on an incline for the night. Snakes are probably the least scared of you. You will likely encounter bears and snakes, and probably hear a pack of coyotes. You will also be forced onto some not-so-hot sections of eroded trail with high exposure. (Unless in bear country then see link below) These are wild ponies found on the Appalachian Trail. Whether you are just going for a quick two-hour jaunt or are hiking the Appalachian Trail, there is always plenty to see. Two years ago I met the love of my life on the Appalachian Trail. Several critters that inhabit the Appalachian trail have particular concerns associated with them. But I’ve never felt like I was going to be the victim of a violent crime. The iconic end of the trail for Northbounders and the beginning for Southbounders. Mountains seem to invite tales of mystery and danger. Here are a couple reasons why people suggest a hiker should carry a gun on the Appalachian Trail. If you read some of their stories, it just may inspire you to do something similar. Completing the Thru-hiking Triple Crown: AT, PCT & CDT. Don’t go really far off of the trail. Henry David Thoreau famously climbed it in the 1800's. Do a tick check every night before bed. Practical, not alarmist – really fine work. And as far as your water filtering equipment goes, I didn’t treat my water ever and I was fine. The customs man at the border was far more concerned about violence in my country (Ireland) than anything in his! A black bear won’t attack you for your food. Be vigilant, and do not share your plans openly with strangers. Be aware of this feature if you ever do get lost. The Appalachian Trail is home to thousands of species of plants and animals, including 2,000 rare, threatened, endangered, and sensitive plant and animal species. The most vicious animals you are likely to encounter will be domestic dogs brought to the trail by other hikers, or the domestic dogs of folks who live close to the trail. Today's trail hiker can walk up to the summit of Mount Greylock and also appreciate Mount Greylock from the Cobbles, a quartzite outcrop on the trail. I tend to travel much emptier spaces than the AT and may not see people for days at a time if my luck holds out. The FT often traverses ranch lands, and hiking season is also calving season. “Are you bringing a gun?” “A gun?! Dangerous animals on the Appalachian Trail. The trail takes in the 6,289-foot summit of Mount Washington, heading up and down for about 100 miles of tricky, steep and rocky terrain. People all across the nation enjoy hiking and one of those trails being the Appalachian Trail. Why does everyone think I should carry a gun?! He begins by scaring you a little. Thank you. This is a big concern for the family members of hikers. The highest black bear populations on the trail are in … The chances are good that you are going to stumble across a black bear or two while on the Appalachian Trail. Why does everyone think I should carry a gun?! Friendly hikers (like in Wild) are the norm on the trail. What a familiar phrase. Take a look at the Spot GPS device. When I did my Wilderness First Responder certification, my instructor told us that most snake bites happen to intoxicated young men. This short hike is jaw-droppingly dangerous; it’s not named the world's most dangerous walkway without reason. It is one of the reasons that mice are a problematic and universal experience in the shelters along the Trail. If you have any advice on safety please let me know! Our Tax ID number: 526046689. I’m not sure Bella will help you sleep well there is wind and tiny animals and any bell jingle might have you on edge. Last updated:January 6, 2021 Sharing is caring! Although the Appalachian Trail is safer than most places, it is not immune to criminal behavior-including crimes of violence. The Appalachian trail winds through areas that have abundant wildlife. So, I’m writing this post about the dangers of the Appalachian Trail and how to stay safe, not because I think you’re in danger or I want to fear-monger potential hikers. It can take up to 7 months of your life to complete the Appalachian Trail, and there are not a whole lot of people out there willing to sacrifice that much of their lives to a hike. That aside, there are some definite sections worth mentioning for their difficulty, no matter the conditions on the day. If you’re a man try to be especially aware of if you might be unintentionally making any solo females uncomfortable. As long as you are careful, there is little danger associated with animals on the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail is crossing 14 states, and five national parks and the route is marked by white blazes on trees, rocks, and posts. I hope this post did something to ease some of your concerns about the dangers of the Appalachian Trail. Ticks, Spiders, Waterborne Pathogens, Norovirus, and other small but harmful organisms. Is the wild pig on your list? Not you. Watch out for the little critters! The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is a 501c3 organization. I’m writing this to show support to all you newbie hikers who have doubts filling your heads and want literally anything to say to your family and friends to make them shut up. Thanks for that. Only species ranges that the AT crosses are shown. I started to think there were maybe monsters in the woods that people weren’t allowed to tell me about…you know, like in the horror films there’s always someone who tries to warn the kids off before they go to the cabin/camp/whatever. Chicas on the Appalachian Trail Women-specific Tips for Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail and Conversations With Badass Women Hikers (Book) : Seymour, Jen Beck : "Hiking the Appalachian Trail is your dream adventure - but so far, you've done nothing but dream. Don’t be that person who tries to pick up a snake. gary mccomas. Black bears live along many parts of the Trail and are particularly common in Georgia, the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains national parks, and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54wY04A8b5Y, 1 dead, 1 injured after knife attack on Appalachian Trail (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54wY04A8b5Y), What To Do If You See A Coyote While on the trail, Are Freeze Dried Meals Healthy? As well as being against the ‘spirit’ of hiking, carrying a gun can alienate you from your fellow hikers. Getting hopelessly lost or falling ill, wild animals and dangerous weather are … The White Mountains fit the brief, and the weather can be notoriously difficult to predict here as well. As long as you are competent and confident in your own abilities, there is no reason why a woman should not hike the Appalachian Trail alone. Around 12,000 people have hiked the full length Since its completion in 1937, as estimated 12,000 people have hiked the whole trail. These dangers are presented below: 1) Deer Ticks Even in the late 19th century, the furthest east the grizzly bears were found were the present-day states of North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. I’ve never even shot a gun! There are lots of animals in the Appalachian Mountains, and some of them can be dangerous if not treated with the proper respect—we just want you to be prepared. Around 12,000 people have hiked the full length Since its completion in 1937, as estimated 12,000 people have hiked the whole trail. Each year, thousands of people attempt to hike it, but only one in four succeeds. I sincerely appreciate you sharing it. Both women and men will be subject to the exact same dangers out on the trail, and their ability to deal with such things is not determined by a hiker’s gender. Additionally, photos are not a priority when you spot an animal. You all have heard that before I’m sure! However, these animals have no interest in being around you. It is estimated that close to three million visitors are hiking the Appalachian Trail to some degree. Coyotes don’t want to get close to you either. The site includes articles, news and updates and hiking forums. The most vicious animals you are likely to encounter will be domestic dogs brought to the trail by other hikers, or the domestic dogs … Business ... “I knew that it was getting dangerous for people on the trail, and it was getting dangerous for him,” Norman said in a telephone interview Sunday. However, murders are incredibly uncommon on the Appalachian Trail when you think about the millions of people who set foot on it every year. . One man was killed, a woman was near-fatally injured while the other two escaped unharmed. Copperheads are found from Georgia to Maine, but rarely spotted north of Massachusetts. You are only able to carry a gun on the Appalachian Trail if you have all the correct paperwork with you for the relevant jurisdictions. I would be scared more of a female stranger than a male since my “danger stranger” instincts would be in full mode around a guy. That isn’t to say that the Appalachian Trail, and long-distance backpacking in general, are without real risks. The American black bear (Ursus americanus), among the largest animals along the Appalachian Trail, rarely confronts people. Required fields are marked *. The summit has one of the best views on the entire Appalachian Trail… and celebration awaits. If a group has become accustomed to people they might approach your tent with you present during daylight hours. Utilize the bear boxes and bear hangs at the shelters. Login/Register Log in or register for full access to site features & free downloads. If I'm not training for my next 100 mile trail race then you can probably find me exploring a new trail with my family. However, there will always be someone behind you on the trail, and you probably won’t have to wait more than a few hours for help. There are 30,000 to 40,000 cases in the United States annually and about three out of four are reported in ten of the states along the Appalachian Trail. Female cows are giving birth, and their calves are vulnerable to predation from coyotes and panthers. They think something really terrible will happen to two girls backpacking alone on the AT (even though I think it’s just as safe as our college campus). When would be a good time to start I can barely pick up my pack as is, why would I load it down with few more pounds of something I would never use? The attention the Appalachian Trail receives results in more folks setting out to hike it, which not … This is a bit of a subjective one, based upon different hikers, their experience and prevailing conditions at the time of the hike. Attacks on humans are extremely rare. If you naturally gravitate toward these people because it feels safer, then by all means do so. It adds extra weight to your pack, and as a thru-hiker, you are going to be scrutinizing every single ounce you take with you. Generally speaking, there is some real danger of animals that can attack you along the trail. The area is a zoologists paradise. Visit www.gordonalexander.org for more info! Do not force animals to flee. The highest mountain in Maine, Mt. You don’t have to worry about seeing any grizzlies. Raccoons are found everywhere along the trail, and like red squirrels on the Appalachian Trail or marmots on the PCT, raccoons are bold nighttime raiders. It’s not an ideal way to navigate back to safety, but it’s better than nothing. If you are mindful of your surroundings at all times, then you will be more likely to notice a snake crossing your path. One of the most tragic cases on the trail involved the case of Rebecca Wight and Claudia Brenner. The Appalachian Trail is crossing 14 states, and five national parks and the route is marked by white blazes on trees, rocks, and posts. You are going to pass through some areas (particularly in Georgia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey) where there are large black bear populations. Just a Connecticut boy and a Georgia peach. There has been a total of 12 murders on the Appalachian Trail since it was formed over 80 years ago. Be aware of your surroundings in regions with high bear and snake populations. If you hike off of the trail a great distance, you could very easily get lost. With snakes and spiders, that‘s another story. He recovered and completed his hike the next year. There’s really no magical way to reassure family members other than to just go hiking and come back in one piece. Unlike bears, they are difficult to identify, and you may step on one of them while walking. This weekend we took it back to where it all began on day three of my thru hike. women especially have concerns about hiking solo. Animals. “On the Appalachian Trail, we have little subtle things, dehydration, norovirus from hikers spreading stomach flu to one another,” Mr. Graves said. While these species of bear are generally timid around humans and tend to avoid confrontation, there are some things you should be aware of for your own safety. These wild hogs are a growing threat and can live in a wide range of habitats. Also read: What To Do If You See A Coyote While on the trail. Once you’re in the woods, every thing sort of looks the same and it’s difficult to get your bearings in relation to anything. Here are 11 facts you might not know about America’s greatest trail. In summer the region can be subject to powerful thunderstorms, and during the colder months ice and snow can make bike touring on the Appalachian Trail very hazardous. Most people start with 5 to 10 miles per day. 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