Free Sport

Happy 75th Anniversary Appalachian Trail!

Looking for an excuse to get lost in the woods this weekend? How about celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Appalachian Trail? (As a bonus, you may bump into some thru-hikers, who began their trek in Georgia last spring, and are trying to make it to mid-Maine before any early winter snows show up.)

Check out the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's website to read a brief overview of the history of the trail, which was intially imagined back in 1921 by Benton MacKaye, whose report, "An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning," appearing in the Journal of American Institute of Architects, proposed the super trail "as a refuge from work life in industrialized metropolis," notes the Appalachian Trail (AT) website, "a series of work, study, and farming camps along the ridges of the Appalachian Mountains."

Seems like even back then we were looking for a way to get away from it all.

A decade and a half later, the multi-state footpath was completed in mid-August, 1937.

Interestingly enough, considering the AT is now one of the most famous hiking trails in the world, "hiking was an incidental focus," the conservancy's website explains.

But it was, and still is, hikers who promote both the trail's use, as well as advocate for its protection and upkeep.

Here in Western Mass, we are fortunate to be within easy driving distance of the AT as it passes through northern Connecticut, the Berkshires, southern Vermont, and even central New Hampshire. Of course, if you're looking for an overnight adventure, backcountry camping options are aplenty, not to mention a well-used series of huts that provide tired hikers with a bit more comfort, right in the middle of the Appalachian Mountain wilderness.

Happy 75th, Appalachian Trail. As always, I'll see you soon enough.

© 2014 The Valley Advocate