By: Kathy Manney / Around Our World
As the afternoon progressed and the sun fell low enough to cast long arms of shadow across the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail, we watched a chipmunk pinball from rock, to log, to rock, disappearing into the woods. The Appalachian Trail is a public footpath traversing more than 2,000-miles of scenic, wooded, wild and socially significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains - encompassing 14 states from Georgia to Maine.
Crossing Maine and cutting through Canada with sections continuing into Greenland is an unofficial trail known as the “International Appalachian Trail.” The International Appalachian Trail runs from Maine into New Brunswick and Quebec. It then branches into parts of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the western shore of Newfoundland to the northern end of the Appalachian Mountain Range, where it enters the Atlantic Ocean. The International Appalachian Trail is a separate trail and not a true broadening of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. The International route even has extensions to Greenland, Europe and Morocco.
The Appalachian Trail is nearly 100% protected by Federal or state ownership of the land and managed by the National Park Service, US Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, numerous state agencies and volunteers. Volunteers contribute nearly 200,000-hours annually and are the backbone of the Appalachian Trail.
We traveled through extraordinary views and the occasional wildlife sighting. At one point in the trail, a squirrel is spotted up ahead in the crotch of a tree, and at dusk, deer venture from thickets.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy tells us that the trail is the world’s longest hiking trail. In places, the trail rises and falls along the plunging contours of the hills.
The Appalachian Trail, the Continental Divide Trail and the Pacific Coast Trail form what is known as the “Triple Crown of Hiking” in the United States. To be sure, the Appalachian Trail is a wonderful geographical imprint established upon the land; forever sanctioning as a footpath for the people.
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