10 comments on “Bird’s Eye Stories of the Appalachian Trail

    • You’re very welcome, M.Pearl and writer77! Of course, this was only scratching the surface of all the possible stories.

  1. Very interesting perspective! As I am most familiar with the miles in Virginia. I found myself trying to predict where your examples would be located. I was surprised for example, that you did not include the A.T. crossing the Blue Ridge Parkway at Dripping Springs, which goes within 100 feet of the Wintergreen Ski Area, and development of that area in the 1970’s moved the trail. But your examples in New England are probably more important, from a trail-wide perspective.
    It would be interesting to overlay previous A.T. alignments also utilizing satellite imagery. For example, the southern terminus was at Mt. Oglethorpe in Georgia until 1958.
    I have often thought that the A.T. in Shenandoah National Park would be enhanced if it used existing trails that took it further away from the Skyline Drive. This could be easily done, though it would probably result in higher costs for the Park Service due to the fact that increased numbers of people would be further away from the current, easily accessed trail. Despite the fact that Shenandoah National Park contains the largest tract of federally designated Wilderness in Virginia, very little of the A.T. runs through the wilderness.

    • I actually do have a screen shot of the area around Evergreen, but after I had taken all the example screen shots and put them in the post, I realized I had way too many (30 or 40), so I pared it down to a few for each category. Sugarloaf and Killington were the largest examples of ski resorts, but there are plenty more out there.

      And you are right about Shenandoah National Park. I was stunned to see how much wilderness there is off the ridge line, but my guess is that maintaining the trail so close to roads is much easier than the trails further from roads. Very interesting indeed!

      • I don’t think the ease of maintenance has impact on the A.T. alignment in Shenandoah NP because both the A.T. and most of the blue blazed side trails are maintained by volunteers (like me) who are members of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, not the NPS, and the A.T. sections are usually in the most demand. I would guess that the A.T. alignment is what it is because it has been that way since the original trail was paved over by the construction of the Skyline Drive back in the 1930’s and 1940’s.

  2. Fascinating study and research!! I’ve hiked many miles between Rt. 311 in VA and Afton Mountain. Though many logging roads crisscross the AT, it definitely feels like wilderness. I can never get enough. Thankful that the AT is now mainly on protected land. Thank you for the excellent maps.

    • Thanks, Dennis. You bring up a good point that I like to make to AT hikers very often— wilderness is more a feeling than a thing. Just because an area is designated as a Wilderness (capital W) doesn’t mean it’s any more or less wild than another area that might not be designated.

  3. Very cool maps, Guthook. I have a life-long love of maps and the AT. It is great to be able to recognize all these places now that I’ve finished the AT (1973-2014).

    Your app came in handy in Maine when looking for stealth sites.

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