Hiking the Appalachian Trail

In the spring and summer of 2014 we fulfilled a family dream to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail together. Our children were 15, 13 and 11.

To share the story of our family thru-hike and to help us fund it, we produced a video series while hiking called: Beyond our Boundaries: A Family Adventure on the Appalachian Trail.

You can watch this video series on Toe Salad.

I wrote a few posts during the hike and now that we are done our adventure I am writing more. All the FIMBY posts related to our Appalachian Trail thru-hike can be found here.

March 31 at Springer Mountain, Georgia

A few stats:

  • The trail is approximately 2,185 miles or 3,516 kilometers long.
  • The trail passes through 14 states. Virginia has the most miles at 550 miles and West Virginia has the least at 4 miles.
  • Our hike took us 175 days, of those we hiked approximately 160 days, with 15 “zero days” or days not hiking at all. We started at Springer Mountain, Georgia on March 31 and ended at Mt. Katahdin, Maine on September 21.
  • For 160 hiking days we averaged 13.65 miles/day or 21.96 kilometers/day.
  • From mid-July to Aug 16 we hiked 19 miles per day or 30.6 kilometers per day with a break every Sunday.
  • At the beginning of August, in Vermont, I got off the trail with a foot injury that I hoped would heal with a couple weeks of rest. It didn't and I got off the trail permanently in the middle of August at Glencliff, NH. My family continued without me and I supported them with our vehicle.
  • 25% of people who attempt to complete a thru-hike are successful. Appalachian Trail Conservancy figures.

July 2, ATC Headquarters in Harper's Ferry, WV

There have been just 10 families and only 22 individuals under the age of 15 who have completed the trail since it was completed in 1937, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, which manages the trail and keeps records on it.

  • The year we hiked we met three other families thru-hiking the trail. The Kallin family, who are personal friends of ours, successfully completed the trail on August 31st. David Kallin gave a TEDx Talk about their journey. Two other families completed the trail in late November 2014.
  • It cost us approximately $2,500 per month to hike the trail. Included in this number are only the basic costs related to trail life - food, park fees, off-trail accommodations, postage. This does not include any of the costs associated with producing our video series, or our gear, clothing, tents, travel insurance, etc. Nor does it include the costs of maintaining our life at home, including insurance and charitable giving. We were debt-free during our hike, with no car payments, house payments, credit cards, etc...The most significant cost on the trail is food, as you need lots of it.
  • Our family received gear sponsorship from a variety of companies, a list can be found on this page, but most of our gear was purchased over years for our weekend backpacking trips, and we made some upgrades and changes on the trail.
  • As you will read elsewhere, the southern states are cheaper than the northern ones, especially for off-trail accommodations, eg. you can get a hotel room for a family for under $60, which is cheaper than staying in a trail hostel at $20/person. Here's a good rule of thumb for an adventure like this: whatever you think it will cost you, plan to pay more.

September 21 Baxter Peak, Mt. Katahdin, Maine

Other places you can learn about our thru-hike:

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