I actually made it out onto the AT in Virginia. Finally! Of course, it wasn’t a monster hike or anything. Apart from the Merrells I had on my feet, I was gear-free. But it was a nice easy three mile out-and-back on a 30 degree morning.
As you can tell from the above photos, there’s a pretty striking difference in the terrain from Virginia to Maine. Southbound out of Daleville, VA (left) looks starkly different from northbound out of Monson, ME (right). But the elevation gain out of Daleville is greater than that out of Monson, so each section has its unique challenges. According to a GPS-equipped fellow hiker out doing a weighted practice stroll in approach shoes (ice climbing in the Whites in January, anyone?) we gained over 1600 feet in elevation in a mile and a half. But the smoothness of the terrain underfoot made me start thinking “trail run”. I guess old habits do die hard, huh?
I was pleased with my hour-long saunter on the AT, especially given it was December 23rd. My son-in-law (whom I dragged out there with me) and I are already planning an early spring overnight out to Tinker Cliffs.
Is it April yet?