One of the many things I’ve put on my Bucket List is completing the Appalachian Trail 14 State Challenge. If you have the A.T. on your bucket list, but don’t have 5 months to thru-hike the entire trail, this challenge allows you to visit some of the most iconic places along the trail in manageable pieces. You can take a weekend at a time and visit one location in each of the Appalachian Trail’s 14 states (the website gives suggested destinations and hikes for each state). Soon enough, you’ll have completed the 14 State Challenge!
If you really want to get official for the challenge, you can purchase an A.T. Passport (for $7 and proceeds protect the A.T.) and along the way, you post photos of yourself to Instagram with #AT14er, collect all the state patches and get your passport stamped where available. When you’re done with the challenge, you can download, personalize and print your certificate. How fun!
Last weekend, my Dad and I went camping and we hiked along a portion of the Appalachian Trail in New Jersey, located right near the Delaware Water Gap. We were going to be hiking for two days and camping outside for one night, so we planned our meals accordingly.
∇ Lunch: PB&J
∇ Snack: Clif Bar
∇ Dinner: Spicy Kung Pao Noodles and Roasted Garlic Rice Noodle Soup (which my Dad took out of the packaging and organized in small sandwich baggies to save space!)
∇ Dessert: Fig Bar (split 1)
∇ Breakfast: Oatmeal (I put 1/2 cup quick cook oats, 1 tsp coconut sugar, sprinkle of cinnamon, and 1 tsp slivered almonds in a snack sized ziplock bag) & instant coffee
∇ Snack: Clif Bar
∇ Lunch: Rice cakes and peanut butter & Fig Bar (split)
All of this fit in the big ziplock bag picture above! I also packed a fuel container and my PocketRocket Stove Kit which includes: a pot, two mugs, two bowls, and two sporks. Everything conveniently fits into the pot and packs away very nicely! We used this to boil water to heat up the noodles for dinner and then to make the oatmeal and coffee the next morning.
We hiked 10 miles along the Appalachian Trail – from the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center to the Mohican Outdoor Center (and then 10 miles back).
At the peak, the Hawk Guys told us it was about 2.5 miles to the AMC Mohican Campground. The sun was setting, so we took off pretty quickly! Luckily we had headlamps because it got pitch black in a few minutes, so we hiked the last 2-ish miles in the dark! We reached Mohican by 6pm and got straight to setting up camp.
My Dad and I both have our own 1-person tents, so we set them up quickly and immediately made dinner. It was pretty chilly out, so we went to bed early. In the morning, we packed up camp and went to the actual visitor center at Mohican (to warm up and pay for our campsite).
The people who worked there were so nice! A man came to build a fire in the fireplace and offered us freshly made coffee and cookies (which we were so happy to enjoy on the super comfy couches!). After almost an hour (oops!) of hanging out and chatting with the employees and other campers there, we set off to hike back to our car.
The 10 mile hike back seemed to go by a lot quicker than the day before and I enjoyed it a lot more – although my knees hated me after practically running down the mountain, over trails filled with rocks! Ouch! It’s too cold now for anymore camping this year, but I’m really looking forward to the Spring and completing more of the AT 14 Challenge!!
Have you hiked on the Appalachian Trail? Comment below!