The Great Outdoors: A Guide to Thru-Hiking

For many, hiking has become a popular pastime for people looking to enjoy the great outdoors. It provides them with a great opportunity to explore the world around them, as well as getting fit and healthy at the same time.

But what some people don’t realize is how many different types of hiking there are. Whilst some may consider the idea of taking a nice walk across the beach a hike, others will say that the best form of hiking to take part in is thru-hiking. Depending on how much knowledge you have when it comes to hiking, this may be a completely new idea to you.

So, just what is thru-hiking? Well, this article will explain everything you need to know about this activity.

What is Thru-Hiking

Put simply, thru-hiking is when you decide to hike the entirety of a long-distance trail in one go. Think of it as a backpacking trip that you complete on a long-distance trail. Unbeknownst to many of you, this form of hiking has been around for your entire lives, as it dates back to when long-distance foot travel was a means of transportation. Whilst you have the ability to travel the world to complete the different thru-hiking trails that are the most popular, it’s much harder than you’d expect.

These trails are long and should only be attempted by those who have the motivation and physicality to walk distances that are much longer than what they may be used to. Depending on which route you decide to take, some of these journeys could mean that you would be required to walk in areas that cover 2,189.2 miles, and in some cases can take months to complete. So, whilst hiking can be a fun activity, it can also be hard, especially if you decide to go thru-hiking.

Where Can You Go Thru-Hiking?

One of the most popular places to thru-hike is in The Appalachian, located in the United States. With a distance of 3,510 kilometers, or 2,180 miles, it is considered amongst hikers to be the most well-known location to go thru-hiking. It follows the Appalachian Mountains from Mount Springer, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Main, and people could walk five million steps on this trail. If you ever decide to hike through this area, be sure to check out the overgrown tracks at the Great Smokey Mountains National Park in North Carolina, as this is one of the most diverse forests in the whole of North America.

The Continental Divide Trail, also located in the United States covers more distance than the previously mentioned Appalachian. Covering 3,100 miles from Mexico to Canada, it allows hikers to walk across some difficult yet beautiful terrain, which has been known to include the Red Desert dunes of Wyoming. But that is not all it offers. Some may say that the standout feature is Triple Divide Peak in Montana, where you will see the rain run three ways to the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Arctic via Hudson Bay. This trail hasn’t been known to be the most popular though, as only 150 people attempt to hike this route every year, with the youngest being a 13-year-old named Reed Gjonnes.

How to Prepare for Thru-Hiking

Thru-hiking is no easy feat. A lot of preparation and training must be completed before you even consider walking through the Continental Divide Trail or The Appalachian. As well as physicality, you also must be mentally prepared for any of the challenges that could come your way. The best way to overcome problems, and to complete your mission, is to make small goals for yourself that you can work toward during your hike. It could be to just reach a certain landmark or state line. Something as small as this could be significant when it comes to achieving your milestones.

Physically, training for your hike is really important. In fact, it may be one of the most important things that you should do when it comes to your planning. A great way to improve your physicality is to take part in a lot of backpacking trips before your big adventure, as this will help your body to become accustomed to the challenges that it will face. Also, it could be worthwhile to take a first-aid course as well just in case you need to provide urgent medical attention to yourself or to your companions. You can never be too prepared.

Thru-hiking has been around for a while but could still be an unknown idea to many people, especially those who don’t hike. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Now that you have the facts, you may have to be persuaded to give it a go yourselves, and this could be a great challenge to work towards if you wanted to set a goal for yourself. So, if you do decide to do it, all that is left for us to say is good luck.

Posted in