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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Many Strive, but Few Finish!

Reposted by: Keith Brock
April 3, 2010


Written by: 

Dale Neal


Each year, more than 2 million people walk part of the Appalachian Trail, but only a diehard few dare to hike the whole 2,179 miles from Springer up to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Last year, 1,460 through-hikers signed in at Springer. Their numbers were whittled down to 747 by the midway point at 1,013 miles at Harpers Ferry, Va., and only 349 made it all the way to Katahdin by the season's end.


A survey by the club and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy found that the average through-hiker stopping off in Franklin spent $153 in town for an estimated $38,339 impact on area hotels and businesses. They may look rough and disheveled, but many thru-hikers come with higher incomes. The survey found 19 percent made between $40,000-$60,000 annually and another 19 percent topped out above $60,000. They were also better educated with 48 percent carrying bachelor's degrees and 12 percent with master's. It doesn't take a Ph.D to hike the AT, but about 4 percent of the surveyed trekkers had doctorates.


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