I have been following a small group of thru-hikers that began their journeys in 2016. These hikers have chosen to track their trek on TrailJournals.com. I am following three thru-hikes very closely but let me give you a broader update on the class of 2016.
Four hikers actually began their thru-hike attempts in January. Two decided to leave the trail before January turned to February. One hiker lasted until March 20th before ending his attempt. And one, who started January 8th, is still on the trail and was camped in Vermont on June 11 having hiked 1,641 miles. One out of four (25%) is about the average for successful thru-hikes.
February was the start month for 20 brave hikers. Eight of those treks have ended and 3 more are questionable. They are in question because they have not journaled for several weeks but they have not declared that have returned home. After 8 weeks of silence, I will assume that they have ended their adventures. Some might be tired of journaling and are still trucking down the path, but my chart will show them as AWOL. For the purpose of this blog, I will include the questionable hikers as current on the trail. So 12 of the 20 that began in February are still active reflecting a 60% success rate.
March is the most popular month to start the Appalachian Trail – 101 of the hikers that have chosen to journal jumped on the trail during March. Thirty-eight of those brave adventurers have had to walk away from the trail (15 more in a questionable status) leaving 63 active pilgrims (62% still hiking).
April attracted 50 thru-hikers to the trail. Eighteen have needed to return home while 32, about 64%, remain walking the AT. May reflects a significant decrease in hikers with only 15 individuals slated to journal about their adventure. Of those 15, two hikers have already pulled themselves from the trek. A nice 87% remain, although 3 have been silent for several weeks.
Sixteen individuals reflect a start date sometime in June, two people hope to leave in July, and one man is projecting an August 1 start date. I plan to watch these future backpackers as they put their dreams into action.
Of all the journals that I am tracking, only one hiker has completed his hike, summiting Mount Katahdin on June 11, 2016. His trail name in “Coach” and he left Springer Mountain on February 19. I have not read his entire journal, but he made excellent time, completing the hike in 114 days! Coach, real name: Ken Durham, hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2015 so he is not a novice to long trails. Congratulations to this fine hiker.
Winter trail found at https://blueridgetreks.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/spy-rock-va-winter-backpack/
Spring Photo – Rowdy’s 2014 hike
Photo of Coach http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=537793