9 Reasons to Join the Summer's Biggest Hiking Party

Register for our 24-hour thru-hike AT in a Day on August 20, 2016 and be part of something huge.
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Register for our 24-hour thru-hike AT in a Day on August 20, 2016 and be part of something huge.

On August 20, 2016, we're trying something unprecedented: an attempt to get the entire Appalachian Trail hiked in 24 hours. And since a 2,180-mile day is long -- even for AT speed record holder and total hiker stud Matt Kirk -- we need your help. Sign up for a section (there are 331, the average is 6 miles) and add your name to our growing chain. If you're lacking for some motivation, here's a little bit of a shot in your wavering, noncommittal arm.

9. You have never been part of something this big. That six-foot hoagie you split with your buddy was not epic. Joining a crew of strangers to cover every mile of the country's most famous and important hiking trail? That's epic.

8. You get to vote with your feet. Take this cliche and make it for real. Lodge your love of the Appalachian Trail by being there for a 2,180-mile celebration.

7. The trail is just so damn pretty. If eye candy is what you seek, it's hard to do better than the vistas served up by the Trail, you know, once you break through the Green Tunnel, which reminds me. Here, have a preview.

6. Shade will be in abundant supply. Shade may be the defining feature the Green Tunnel. You know what's cooler than standing around in the sun? Hiking the AT in a Day in the shade.

5. Hiking is inexpensive. Hard to beat dayhiking in the bang-for-your-buck department. All you really need is a pair of legs, some snacks, and a lift to the trailhead.

4. You will have excellent gear-related conversations. Just bought a new pack and want to show it off? Wrote your PhD dissertation on the Thermal Efficiency of Titanium and became convinced that the additional fuel weight of using titanium ultralight cookware doesn't make sense over a thru-hike? Think your homemade water filtration system is the best thing going? Let's face it, most people in your life could probably care less. On the AT, you'll find your gearhead soulmate.

3. You'll meet new people and you'll like them right instantly. Because you already have something in common that you both think is important!

2. Because anything else you were thinking about doing that is not nearly as significant. Humans are lousy with longterm benefits. Joining the AT in a Day offers both immediate benefits (see #8) and long term ones. When someone asks you how'd you spend your summer, what you gonna say? Video games? Sat by the pool? Or participated in a huge outpouring of love for the a long trail. I like you more already (see #4).

1. You'll get to see --and smell! -- a thru-hiker in his/her natural habitat. Those folks have been on-trail for a while now. Any run-ins with them is the real deal: beards down to here, calves sculpted from stone. It's a visual and olfactory sensation.