When I tell people about my hike they are usually very intrigued by the idea of walking from Georgia to Maine. Here are some of the most popular questions that I encounter. If you would like to ask me a question I would be happy to answer it in my blog. Please email me your questions: mattathike (AT) gmail (dot) com.

Why do you want to walk from Georgia to Maine?
That's a great question! Since I was a kid I was fascinated that a trail could be more than 100 miles. I grew up in Northwest Illinois and the idea completely blew my mind. The AT presents so many challenges -- I want to tackle them all. Also, for the last nine summers I have had a blast changing the lives of kids, living and working at residential YMCA Summer camps, this summer I want to take a "break" from the summer camp lifestyle. And it's kind of a present to myself for completing over 17 years in the United States educational system!

How long will it take you take hike the Trail?
The answer varies from person to person. The average length of time to hike the trail is four to six months to hike all 2,180 miles of the Trail. I am hoping to hike the trail in less than five and half months.

What will you eat/drink?
All the food I will be eating are readily available at grocery stores. Lots of noodles dishes, macaroni and cheese. A typical menu on the AT looks like this... oatmeal & coffee for breakfast, a bagel with peanut butter for lunch, a few granola bars for a snack, a noodle dish for dinner and of course lots of water to stay hydrated. All of my water will be purified with a water filter from a natural water source (river, spring, lake).

Where will you sleep?
The AT has a plethora of shelters (called huts in the North) along the trail. Shelters are usually three sided buildings with an open front that can accommodate at least 8 hikers. I also will be packing a tent, so if the shelters are full or too noisy I can sleep there. When I am passing through towns I will have the option of staying in a hiker hostel or hotel, some people even let thru-hikers stay in their backyard for free.
Blaze from v5planet 

How will you find the trail?
The AT is very well marked. Along the route there are 2x6 inch white blazes have been painted on rocks, trees, poles, walls. I will not be carrying any maps, but will be carrying the 2012 AT Guide Book. Which has the most up to date information about the trail, milage, trail towns, water sources, etc.

What's a thru-hiker?
The short and sweet answer is someone that walks a long distance trail (such as the Appalachian Trail) from end to end in one continuous trip.

How can we contact you while on Trail?
The best way would be via email: mattathike (at) gmail (dot) com

What is a Zero Day?
A "Zero day" or called a "zero" is a day a thru-hiker does not hike at all. It's a day off. Someone can take a zero for several reasons most common reasons are injuries, bad weather, catching up with the "real world." A "Nero" is day that nearly a zero day.

What's a trail name?
It's a name a thru-hiker uses while on trail. Trail names are used for a number of reasons: it limits confusion between Joe from Connecticut and Joe from Nevada, the name separates the hiker from their "real world" life, with colorful trail names like Monkey Butt, Stitches, Ol' Man, they are easier to remember.

Are their any good books about the AT?
There are plenty of great books about the trail. Some of my favorites are Walking With Spring by Earl Shaffer -- the first person to thru-hike the Trail, AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, Just Passin' Thru, White Blaze Fever. National Geographic also made a great documentary a few years ago about the AT, that is available on Netflix.

Can I hike with you?
As much as I would love to have my friends and family join me on the Trail, it is just a logistic nightmare. Since I could be well ahead or behind my itinerary and I will have limited access to the internet and cell phone service.

Is the Trail safe?
Yes, the Trail has a lower crime rate than most American cities. The biggest dangers to hikers on the AT are hypothermia/hyperthermia, poison ivy, ticks carrying lyme disease, venomous snake, etc. Thankfully I have been thru a Wilderness First Responder course and have traveled in the backcountry before.