Thursday, March 2, 2017

Following Trail Journals

For the last 10 years or so, I've regularly followed people hiking the long trails of the U.S by reading their online trail journals. I enjoy following their daily progress,  and experiencing vicariously what they see, what they do, what they eat, and other things related to the trail.

If this sounds like something you might enjoy, then visit the Trail Journals web site @

You'll notice that the major long trails in the U.S. are listed. I have only followed folks who attempt to hike the big 3 trails: the Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail. I wrote about these trails a few years back; you can find that entry at "The Big 3 Hiking Trails of the Continental U.S.A." (June 2013).

At the web site, just select the trail you are interested in. You will then be presented with a massive list of people who have signed up to maintain a trail journal for their hike. The problem is deciding which one(s) to follow. I usually scan through the list, mainly looking at the pictures. Normally, I try to select someone about my age so their trail experience would be something I might experience were I to attempt the trail.

I usually pick several folks to follow. Usually only about 10% of the people who start the trail finish, so there is a good chance that if you only pick 2 or 3, those folks may only last a week or month before dropping off the trail.

This is the time of year to do this, as most hikers opt to start their hike in early spring. A few will pick a later date, especially if they opt to hike north to south rather than the more traditional south to north, as most hikers prefer to "hike with spring".

The idea of doing a long hike has appealed to me for years, but I like my creature comforts too much to attempt such an undertaking. I'd rather others suffer while I sit in my comfortable house and read about their exploits. I'll stick with doing day hikes.

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