Dangers of the Appalachian Trail

In August, famed ultrarunner Karl Meltzer will try to break the Appalachian Trail thru-hike speed record. He is going to wear out about 18 pairs of shoes and he is gunning to accomplish the whole task in under 54 days.

Now is the time of year when many people take excursions on this legendary trail. The Appalachian Trail is over 2,000 miles long and goes from Maine all the way down to Georgia. Over 2 million people walk on it for at least one day each year. About 3,000 people hiked the entire trail in 2014.

Many are unaware of the hazards of traversing the trail and each year hundreds of people get injured or worse. For the most part, the trail is safe. There are a number of things to watch out for that anyone considering hiking even part of the trail need to be wary of.

There are several large streams and swamps that need to be crossed that people have drowned in. Once you’ve fallen into a swamp, your heavy backpack can drag you under and make it impossible for you to escape.

There are wide open areas where people have been nearly hit by lightning.

Many people get injured falling and need to be carried out. There are stretches of the trail where it is 50 miles or more between civilized areas. If you get hurt in the wrong place, you might be in big trouble.

The key to staying safe on the trail is to never travel alone and always err on the side of caution.

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