It's a spectacular treat when the trail leads you directly through town. There's no rush to get there at a particular time for optimum hitch hiking. It's typically not stressful to find immediate food and lodging on the way. It's a no brainer to plan a resupply and/or mail drop from family and friends. Hot Springs, NC Hot Springs is a welcome sight after descending from the Smoky Mountains. The white blazes lead you directly to the local diner where cheese burgers start at $2.50! Once you eat your heart out, the trail continues past a small grocery store and package store where you can stock up for a cheap stay at the campground on the French Broad River, equipped with showers! Then, you can head across the street for a soak in a hot tub with water full of minerals from a natural hot spring. Damascus, VA If I were to thru-hike again, I would not zero in Damascus. This is a popular trail town because they host the Trail Days celebration. Other than that, the hostels aren't noteworthy and resupply is pretty limited to the Dollar Store. I would hold out and zero in Marion, VA which is just after the Grayson Highlands. Marion has a cheap budget motel, Walmart, and a public swimming pool! Daleville, VA This town is 20 miles past (for nobos) the iconic McAffee Knob. If you plan accordingly it's possible to catch the sunrise at McAffee and walk into Daleville by nightfall. The trail pops out in the center of town with many hotel options, fast food, and a Kroger! The Howard Johnson is a great place to stay and enjoy the luxury of relaxing in a swimming pool. The chlorine is a good temporary fix for the hiker funk. Beware, if you have the Virginia blues it may be difficult to leave. Harpers Ferry, WV Harpers Ferry is considered the psychological half way mark on the AT. Nobos arrive here after completing the roller coaster and can finally say goodbye to Virginia! Definitely visit the ATC building and get your photo taken. They keep track of the thru-hikers that make it this far every year. Boiling Springs, PA Boiling Springs is a small town that surrounds Children's Lake. Before it became a hiker haven, it played a role in the Underground Railroad. Camp for free by the actual railroad and walk into town for breakfast at Café 101. Take some time to visit a few landmarks and appreciate the rich history this town has to offer. Duncannon, PA Grab a beer at the Doyle but stay at the free church hostel! Duncannon is interesting to say the least. The Church hostel showed us great kindness though with hot showers, a kitchen, a place to stay, and air hockey! Port Clinton, PA In Port Clinton, you may be lucky enough to find yourself a seat at the firehouse bar. You need a member to sign you in, but the happy hour can't be beat. There is a free pavilion in town, and it is an easy hitch to Hamburg where you'll find Walmart, Cabela's, and every other chain store you could imagine. Delaware Water Gap, PA We stumbled upon the Church of the Mountain Hostel. After a late start to the day and probably the quickest 15 miles I ever hiked, we found ourselves at the hostel just in time for a church dinner! We were encouraged to join in and eat our fill. There are a ton of options for great food and entertainment here. Dalton, MA In Dalton, we got to camp in a trail angel's back yard. It is the people you meet along the way that make this such an incredible journey. This generosity is never expected but always appreciated. Other great aspects of Dalton were the public showers and the largest, most beautiful grocery store I have ever seen. Cheshire, MA This is immediately after Dalton, but you can get some mid-day snacks and a cold Gatorade at the Dollar General! Norwich VT/ Hanover NH When you arrive in Norwich VT, there is a list of trail angels that may be able to take you in. Again, this was an amazing experience. Norwich has a small town general store that sells everything you could possible need. From Norwich, you walk straight into Hanover NH. After stopping to take an awesome state boarder photo, hit up Lou's for a free donut and Ramunto's for a free slice of pizza and some cheap beer! Oh, did I mention you walk by a Starbucks? There is a Starbucks on trail!
PSA: If you still use a Sawyer Squeeze, you’re doing it wrong!
PSA: If you still use a Sawyer Squeeze, you’re doing it wrong! I may ruffle some feathers with this post, but I’m going to keep it short and to the point. ...
Reasons to Ditch Your Spork Before Your Next Backpacking Trip
Reasons to ditch your spork before your next backpacking trip: Sporks as we know them have actually been around for centuries. They were used for eating terrapin and ice cream i...