AT Class of 2016 – On the Move

ThruhikersI began the 2016 hiking season for the Appalachian Trail by picking a few trail journals to read. I tuned-in to trailjournals.com and selected a few special individuals to follow. Then the researcher in me began to take over and I became intrigued by the website. I decided to see how many Appalachian Trail journals were active on the site and before I knew it was charting the progress of all the thru-hikers on their 14-state adventure.

There are a total of 321 individual journals created by hikers to record their trek on the AT. Of those 321 journals, 19 hikers were making a section hike of a portion of the trail and not attempting a thru-hike. A large number of the diaries (81 to be exact) posted some preliminary entries but never journaled from the trail. They may or may not be hiking the AT, but without a journal, there is Thruhikers2no opportunity for me to trace their paths. Six other journals announced that the authors were going to record their trek on other blog sites and abandoned this webpage. Seven more listings have not begun the hike, leaving in July and August.

So of the 321 listings, only 208 online journals are active records of hikers attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. My accounting, as of July 3, has 106 hikers still on the trail moving toward their final destination, while 102 hikers are off trail. Charting the hikers by the month they started their adventure, one can see the success rate continues to decrease the longer the hikers have been on the trail.

 

Month         Total Hikers    Current Hikers  Hikers Off-Trail      % Still Hiking      % Off-Trail

January                   4                       1                       3                   25%                             75%

February                21                      8                     13                    38%                            62%

March                   103                   50                     53                    49%                            51%

April                        53                   26                      25                    53%                            47%

May                         18                   12                        6                     67%                            33%

June                          9                    7                         2                    78%                            22%

I am always interested in the reason that a thru-hike has to be abandoned. Every hike is unique and every reason is legitimate. In recording the reason stated in the hiker’s journals, I have classified them into one of four categories: Physical Reasons, Mental/Emotional Reasons, No Reason Stated, and Stopped Posting. This last category represents those hikers that have just stopped adding to their journals. After two months of silence I place a hiker in this category. They may still be out there making progress but probably not. I will continue to check their journals, but for my research I have “ruled” them inactive.

Here are my categories and the number of hikers that fit into each:

Mental Reasons               25 hikers              24.5% of the total reasons

Physical Reasons              39 hikers              38% of the total reasons

No Posts in 2 months     36 hikers              35.5% of the total reasons

Unstated Reasons           2 hikers                2% of the total reasons

Those that needed to end their hike for physical reasons shared a variety of body parts that shut them down. The most vulnerable were the knee (12 hikers), the leg (11 hikers), and the ankle/foot (8 hikers). Other physical injuries included the back, the arm, the neck, the hip, the toe, and a hernia. The Appalachian Trail will test every physical joint on the human body with sprains, twists, and even breaks. 2,186 miles will take its toll on hiker in a variety of ways.

Four Thru-hikers Photo: http://www.thethriveproject.com/2185-miles-on-the-appalachian-trail-an-epic-walk-in-the-woods/
Hikers in front of house: http://appalachiantrail.com/2015-appalachian-trail-stories/ 
Categories: Appalachian Trail, Class of 2016, Injuries, Success Rate, Thru-Hike | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “AT Class of 2016 – On the Move

  1. My list of “You Tube” AT thru hiker Vlogs has thinned considerably. One (Ryan Johnson) has summited Katadin but only a few are still posting. Sadly, several of the most interesting and creative have quit. Some new blood (black fly and skeeter reference) has entered the que though. SOBO’s leaving Maine and showing us the New England summer on their way “down the Trail”.

    • Thanks for the comment, Mike. I will have to explore YouTube for some video from SOBO hikers.

      • Annie (our 13 year old Malshi) and I did trail magic yesterday and met one of the NOBO celebrities from You Tube. “Sugar” a 4 year old Pit mix hiking NOBO. She was featured in another hikers video back in NC. Much loved by her “Tramily” and a sweetie. Oh, and about 35 human hikers too. A good day.

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