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The Appalachian Trail has been an icon in the hiking community for decades. Hiking the entire length of the trail is a dream held by many, and people come from all over the world to do just that. This list of Appalachian Trail trivia (current as of December 2009) was gleaned from many places, including the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Historical Trivia
• The trail was conceived in 1921 by Benton MacKaye
• First new section was completed at Harriman-Bear Mountain State Park, in 1923
• The trail was completed in 1937
• The overseeing organization, The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), was originally established as the Appalachian Trail Conference in 1925
The Appalachian Trail:
• Is the nation’s longest marked footpath, at approximately 2,178 miles
• Was the first to be designated a National Scenic Trail, in 1968
• Crosses six other units of the national park system
• Traverses eight national forests
• Touches 14 states
• Is home to more than 2,000 occurrences of rare, threatened, endangered plant and animal species
• Is maintained by 30 trail clubs and multiple partnerships
• Is constantly changing due to necessary relocations
• Has its own train stop near Pawling, New York, connecting the trail to Grand Central Terminal in New York City

Appalachian Trail Statistics
• Lowest elevation: 124 feet – near the Trailside Museum and Zoo at Bear Mountain, New York
• Highest elevation: 6,625 feet – on Clingmans Dome in Tennessee
• State with the most trail miles: Virginia, 550 miles
• State with the fewest trail miles: West Virginia, 4 miles
• White blazes: 165,000 blazes along the length of the trail
• Steps to complete the length of the trail: approximately 5 million

People On The Appalachian Trail
• More than 6,000 volunteers contribute about 200,000 hours to the Appalachian Trail every year
• Since 1936, more than 10,000 hike completions have been recorded by ATC, including thru-hikes and multiyear section-hikes
• Women make up about 25% of the total hike completions reported
• Approximately 125 people have reported hiking the AT two or more times
• About 30 people have reported hiking the AT three or more times
• International hikers completing the trail: Hikers from Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Belgium, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Wales
• First 2,000-miler: Myron Avery, 1936
• First thru-hiker: Earl Shaffer, 1948
• First female thru-hiker: Mildred Norman (Peace Pilgrim), 1952
• First solo female thru-hiker: Emma (Grandma) Gatewood, 1957, at age 69
• Oldest thru-hiker: Lee Barry, 2004, at age 81
• Oldest female thru-hiker: Nancy Gowler, 2007, at age 71
• Youngest thru-hiker. A 6-year-old boy on a flip-flop thru-hike with his parents in 1980
• Youngest female thru-hiker. An 8-year-old girl who completed the trail in 2002 with her family

Nancy Shepherd is the author of My Own Hike: A Woman’s Journey on the Appalachian Trail. As an accomplished thru-hiker she also maintains her own site at www.appalachian-trail-thru-hike.com/

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