Sitting down and sharing a photo album of my Appalachian Trail treks with my sweetie, I’m reminded of the fun times I’ve had over the past 15 years while hiking everywhere from Maine to Florida along the long trails. Some of the best hiker gatherings I’ve enjoyed have been at the Ironmasters Hostel near the mid-point of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, many years of “The Ruck” – back in the day when I first got into backpacking.
Florida isn’t so hostel-minded, and that’s a shame. Our Florida Trail could use a few good hostels along the way. But the Appalachian Trail provides plenty of places to stop and rest with like-minded travelers.
As I’m pondering the logistics of an AT thru-hike – a dream I’ve carried since I was a kid growing up within sight of Bearfort Mountain – one of the must-dos is to reconnect with friends and relatives along the way. I grew up in the north woods of New Jersey, my family resettling in Florida – Dad’s dream – when I was a teen. Most of my relatives are scattered across the greater New York City area, and one of the cool things about reaching out to them is you can hop a train – right at the only train station on the Appalachian Trail near Pawling, NY. From there, it’s less than two hours into NYC. Since my relatives live outside the downtown area, the best bet is to hit one of the many hostels- of course! – in this otherwise expensive-to-visit area.
Yes, I’ll be sharing more about my AT plans over the next couple of months – a bit of a diversion from Florida, but a look into the mind of a long-distance hiker – so I hope you’ll indulge and ask questions as I prep for the trek of a lifetime.