Note: This page is a bit of a time capsule.  Except for this paragraph, it's content has not changed since the late 1990s, and no major edits occurred after 1997.  Yes, there was a Web then and this is what it (and I) looked like. --Dan

Dan's AT Journey


"Yes, I Spent Two Summers Walking"

2 June 1996
Springer Mtn., Ga.

Picture of me at Springer

18 August 1996
Pa. Hwy. 34

Picture of me ending 

						     the first half

18 May 1997
Pa. Hwy. 34

Picture of me starting the second half

1 August 1997
Mt. Katahdin, Maine

Picture of me on top of Katahdin!!!

I hiked every mile of the Appalachian Trail over the course of two summers. This site is mostly a collection of details that may help others attempting long-distance hikes on the AT. I don't necessarily recommend anything -- all I can tell you is "this is how I did it and here's why." The Web has plenty of general information on the Appalachian Trail and long-distance hiking. I have repeated almost none of this very useful information. Kathy Bilton's Appalachian Trial Homepage is a great place to find links to other relevant sites. Wingfoot's Trailplace aims to be an information clearinghouse about long-distance hiking. I believe strongly that Wingfoot's work (specifically his planning guide and handbook) made my hike much more successful and enjoyable.
Things to see here:

Let me know what you want to know about my trip and eventually I might get around to putting it on the Web.

I don't do a very good job of explaining what the journey meant to me. The best I can do is the little speech I delivered to my relatives at Katahdin Stream Campground after completing the Trail. The transcript follows:

I did it. After 153 days split over 2 summers, after mountains and valleys and rocks and storms, after hostels and hitchhikes and convenience stores, after a million little adventures, I have hiked the Appalachian Trial from Georgia to Maine. So now, before I rush off to shave my beard, eat a cheeseburger, and return to being a student, I suppose I ought to have something to say.

I will try somehow to encapsulate the meaning of this great journey in just a few words, but this is a job best left to a poet. I am certainly not one, so my attempts to describe my hike are mostly quick retreats to clichßs: "It was a dream come true" or "I just took it one step at a time" or "You can do anything if you set your mind to it." But because we have heard these phrases so many times, they fail to capture the sincerity with which I say them. All I can tell you is that when I stood at that sign at the end and looked back to the South, I could see back over the ponds of Maine, back over the White Mountains, and the Green Mountains, over Southern New England and the ridges of the mid-Atlantics, the rocks of Pennsylvania, the Shenandoahs and the Blue Ridge, Virginia's endless hills, the hot days over the balds of the South, over the early mountains of Georgia, and I could see over all the towns - Monson, Hanover, Duncannon, Harper's Ferry, Damascus, Hot Springs to name just a few, and I could see passed all of the thousands of white blazes that mark a continuous footpath from Springer Mountain, Ga. And there on that distant Georgian peak I saw myself standing there on June 2, 1996 knowing that if I could follow that Trail for 2160 miles, then I would be standing where I am today. I did it.

But I certainly did not do it alone. I relied on countless strangers and a few familiar faces along the way who drove me, fed me, and gave me a place to sleep. I relied on thousands of volunteers who maintain the Trail for no personal gain. I relied on dozens of gear manufacturers who used the latest technology to sell me something a little bit lighter that would last a little bit longer. And most importantly, I relied on Mom and Dad, who not only gave me flawless logistical support, but who also gave me far more encouragement than parents probably should give a kid who intends to spend 22 weeks walking a Trail. Yet while I am truly appreciative of everyone who has made my journey a success, at the end of every day it was my feet, my head, and my pack that had covered the miles. I did it.

And it was a beautiful, trying, wondrous trip I can never forget. But I must move on. Let's go home.

Dan Grossman "Focus", Ga->Pa '96, Pa->Me '97