How will I be navigating on the trail?
Ok – beyond just following the AT’s famous White Blazes between Georgia and Maine, there is a great deal of other stuff to know when one is on an adventure of this size. Fortunately, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel in terms of successfully navigating down the trail.
I actually bought two copies of The AT Guide – a hardcover copy and a pdf copy for the iPhone in case I lose a sheet or two. I bought the unbound version so I can just keep the sheet’s I’m using at the time with me.
It gives a LOT of information. Aside from a set of lightweight maps that came with it, it has elevation profiles so I can know what I’ll be doing each day, zip codes of local post offices so I can plan my mail drops, the names and addresses of local hostels that accept mail for thru hikers, even the mileage of just about every single water source and it’s location relative to the trail or shelter. It also has convenient maps of trail towns with the locations of the most used hiker services on the map – i.e. the laundramats, restaurants, hotels, hostels, outfitters, grocery and drug stores, even doctor’s offices. Like I said, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel – I just buy the guide.
There are competing guides as well, but I bought this one.