Solo Thru-Hike the AT: 500 miles in

ATHike Back in April, one of HTO’s own Outfitters, Neha Khurana, from Fairfax started her AT solo thru-hike. We have been keeping tabs on this young lady’s progress, and living vicariously through her adventure. Here’s an account of what she’s encountered this past month.

First Days on the Trail

Approach Trail

“I have covered about 37 miles plus 8.8 miles of the Approach Trail. It has been very busy! I stayed my first night at the Springer Mountain Shelter near the summit. The next day I hiked around 8 miles to Hawk Mountain, where I camped with 30-40 other hikers. The trail is packed with thru-hikers! Everyone is so welcoming and we had a bonfire that night.

Camping Blood Mountain

I woke up and hiked around 13 miles the next day to Preaching Rock. The hike was tough, but the view was incredible. The next morning, we reached the Blood Mountain summit before making it to Neels Gap.”

“The trail has been wonderful. My feet are sore, but the experience is so worth it.”

Of Trail Angels

“From Neels Gap I hiked to Low Gap shelter. And because of flash floods and tornado warnings, we caught a ride the next day from Unicoi Gap to Hiawassee early. That night was spend at a hotel and I took a zero day.

We hit the trail the following morning and hiked 13 miles to Deep Gap, then 15 miles through the Georgia/North Carolina border to Muskrat Creek Shelter the next day. After a couple more days, we reached the top of Albert Mountain and completed our first hundred miles! Upon arriving at our shelter, some of our group hitched to town and brought back 13 pizzas… Definitely the highlight of my day!

At the border PIZZA!The following morning, after 4 miles to Winding Stair Gap, we were met by some trail magic (1). The trail angel had spread out breakfast in the back of his truck bed for us. Afterwards, we caught a ride with Ron Haven (famous trail angel) to Franklin, NC.”

Damascus

Neha is currently in Damascus, VA, nearly 500 miles in. She is taking a few days off for Trail Days. We can’t wait to see what else the AT has in store for her. Keep at it, Neha!

(1) The term ‘trail magic’ was coined by long-distance hikers to describe an unexpected occurrence that lifts a hiker’s spirits and inspires awe or gratitude. ‘Trail magic’ may be as simple as being offered a candy bar by a passing hiker or spotting an elusive species of wildlife. (source: appalachiantrail.org)

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