Well, it’s official… after taking two years off from doing a thru hike we are apparently happier on the trail than sitting at a desk job! We have decided that next summer we will be hiking four (YES, FOUR!) trails! The first trail on our stop around the east coast will be the Benton MacKaye Trail!
The BMT is named for Benton MacKaye, one of the original visionaries for the Appalachian Trail. This trail runs from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Big Creek in North Carolina, just off the Waterville Road exit in the Smokies. It runs nearly 300 miles through some of the most remote backcountry in the three states it passes through, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. The trail was organized in 1979 by hikers who were tired of the crowds on the Appalachian Trail and wanted a more remote backcountry experience. Sometimes, this trail even passes over the original route of the Appalachian Trail before it was rerouted to go over Fontana Dam in the 1940s.
We’ve chosen this trail for a few reasons:
- It’s in familiar territory. I have hiked the “900” miles in the Smokies and, thanks to my AT thru hike in 2012, am familiar with the southern Appalachian Mountains. When doing trail magic/trail angel drives in the fall of 2012, I became more familiar with the region and towns the BMT travels through.
- I learned to hike in these mountains and it feels like going home.
- We, too, enjoy more of a wilderness experience. This summer while doing shorter backpacking trips in Central New York, we’ve pretty much been entirely alone on trails, and it turns out it’s not half bad!
- Historically this trail WAS the original AT, and that’s pretty cool!
I hope you’ll follow me on this new adventure planned next year. No set date is planned yet for the departure, but I plan to do some blogging about all that later this fall…
Stay tuned for the next three parts of my big announcement!