Hike the Appalachian Trail to Morocco
August 2, 2010 6:47 PM   Subscribe

The Appalachian Trail, beyond Mount Katahdin. Way beyond. The Appalachian Trail runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine. The International Appalachian Trail goes much further. Beginning at the northern terminus of the AT, it stretches through Canada, across the ridge of mountains formed during the continental collision that created the Pangaean continent, as far around as Morocco. The Eastern Continental Trail includes all of the AT and IAT in North America, plus an extension south to Florida.
posted by rmd1023 (17 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
My favorite factoid about the Appalachians: they are older than flowers.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:51 PM on August 2, 2010 [8 favorites]

It apparently passes through Argentina.
posted by msbutah at 6:56 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Scotland is already in on the IAT.
posted by kmz at 6:59 PM on August 2, 2010

My little brother had serious behavior problems as a child and was a mediocre student. He was angry most of the time and would hit me when I got on his wrong side. When he was 15, he went on a 6-week hike on the Appalachian trail. When he came back, it was as if I had a different brother. He had never willingly read a book in his life, and suddenly he was reading bricks that had intimidated me. His spelling and grammar had always been atrocious, but they became impeccable, and he quickly surpassed me. When he sent me an essay on The Awakening to edit for one of his classes, I was so blown away by the writing and the analysis that I Googled every sentence, convinced that the entirety of the essay had been plagiarized. He took BC calculus his junior/senior year, and is now majoring in math in an undergrad honors program. He hasn't just cut out the aggression: he's now kind, empathic, and sweet. The Trail will always be deeply meaningful to me because it made my brother into a person about whom I can't say enough good things.
posted by emilyd22222 at 7:08 PM on August 2, 2010 [22 favorites]

No, not that "Hiking the Appalachian Trail"...
posted by dammitjim at 7:24 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Dick Anderson is behind the idea to make the A.T. an international trail. The way he sees it, more than 200 million years ago, the mountain ranges were all connected anyway -- back when the Earth had only one giant continent called Pangaea. That land mass broke apart, and "when it opened, some of the Appalachians stuck to each big piece," Anderson says. "The big pieces were Africa, Europe and the United States."

So Anderson is trying to get all the countries that were once connected by that mountain range to designate certain paths as part of the International Appalachian Trail, or "IAT."

What an awesome idea. Neat post, thanks!
posted by mediareport at 8:57 PM on August 2, 2010

The difference is the AT is real and the other trails are imaginary.

LarryC, AT 1980
posted by LarryC at 10:28 PM on August 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

This is just revisionist nonsense made up by those who couldn't hack the non-imaginary AT and want a comeback to those who did. "Oh yeah, well...you didn't finish it either!"

Has at most done some day hikes on sections of the AT in the northeast and has parents who live in one of the towns along the trail. Has no ambition to hike the whole thing, but, considering the positive changes that happened to emilyd22222's brother, is now a little bit tempted.
posted by Gnatcho at 4:17 AM on August 3, 2010

Don't forget the Great Eastern trail.
posted by BlueMetal at 6:35 AM on August 3, 2010

The Appalachian Trail Museum just opened this summer.
posted by maurice at 9:07 AM on August 3, 2010

West Africa and parts of Eastern Canada have very similar soil composition. They used to be part of the same land mass.

That red dust, man. It gets everywhere.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:30 AM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

emilyd22222, that's wonderful. If I have a kid, I hope I can send him to do the same thing someday.

The first thing I thought on reading your comment, though, was "That's because it isn't her brother. Some horrible unsleeping thing from beyond Time in the woods of Maine took over his body and is biding its time until . . . no, wait, that's not a Stephen King novel, it's an actual thing that happened. Never mind!"
posted by Countess Elena at 5:41 PM on August 3, 2010

To be clear, this wasn't some sort of wilderness therapy program he was forced into or a solo hike. My mom was a nurse at a wonderful girls summer camp in Maine, so we kids got free camp tuition (my brother went to the boys' camp down the road). Through this camp, I did a 5-day hike of the Saddleback Mountains on the AT, which was simultaneously one of the most miserable, memorable, and rewarding experiences of my life.

The girls' camp sponsors really incredible 6-week trips every summer all over the world and invites campers from the boys' camp. My brother got interested in and applied to the AT trip on his own. Aside from the adult trip leader, he was the only male along with maybe 8-10 teenage girls, which I'm sure was a good teaching tool. I've asked him about what changed, and he has never answered directly, but the family speculation is that the trip leader was particularly influential. I guess he talked a lot about his academic interests and my brother soaked it up.

Another hidden benefit of a family member hiking the AT: they will accept Smartwool socks as their annual Christmas gift ad infinitum.
posted by emilyd22222 at 6:32 PM on August 3, 2010

Whoa, Emily, I think we went to the same camp! (We need a secret handshake or something. Uh, "Blueberry Blue"?) I did the Nova Scotia sailing trip (in one of its earlier incarnations) and can vouch for the mindblowing, lifechanging-ness of these programs.
posted by naoko at 8:10 PM on August 3, 2010

Yep, we did! Wow, that's crazy...
posted by emilyd22222 at 8:33 PM on August 3, 2010

Wow, it is very beautiful, I live right along side it [in a Southern state]...I did NOT know this! What a great compendium @rmd1023, thank you. It's also a great place (apparently) to murder innocent people and grab a quickie with your lover. Lots of violence up there, beware!
posted by ~Sushma~ at 9:11 PM on August 3, 2010

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