For those who are not familiar with the Appalachian Trail, it is a trail that runs through fourteen states in the Appalachian Mountains. Many hike this trail that runs close to the eastern coast of the United States. Running from Maine to Georgia, the trail has a total of 2,200 miles. Seventh grade math teacher Courtenay Gibson started hiking the Appalachian Trail in 1999 with her mom. Her mom was getting older, so Gibson decided it would be safer if she hiked with her. Gibson’s goal is to hike 100 miles every year.
One aspect of hiking the trail that Gibson likes is that the people on the trail are willing to help, and they are like “a big family.” When she first started hiking the trail, she decided she would walk the harder mountains first, like the White Mountains, so when she is older she will have the easier trails to hike. She said people start to hike in March, April and May.
One vivid memory Gibson has of walking with her mom is when her mom was too exhausted to keep on trucking. Gibson would trot ahead of her mom with her sixty-five pound backpack, drop it on the ground, run back, and then she would grab her mom’s backpack and walk with her until they got to her backpack, and she would repeat the process. Gibson thought hiking the trail was “a great experience” to have with her mom.
The longest distance Gibson has ever hiked was a twenty-two miles in one day. “I hike the states in different order. I did the Smokies about ten years ago. The worst state to hike in, in my opinion, would be Pennsylvania because it has Poison Ivy, copperhead snakes and a lot of bees. It was also helpful because when my mom stopped hiking I got all of her maps, which I still use today. My trail name is Dessert First, and Mr. Gibson’s is Taximan. His is Taximan because he drives me to various locations on the trail.”
Gibson has 200 miles out of the 2,200 left. She still has thirty miles left in North Carolina, one hundred in Virginia, five in West Virginia, twenty in New Jersey, forty in Pennsylvania and thirty miles in New York. The states that Gibson has hiked all of include Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland and Tennessee.