Since I was a boy scout, I have wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. Six months, Georgia to Maine, it has always been a challenge that has called to me.
Unfortunately nearly 40 years later, I don’t see a time soon when I will be able to take off for six months of hiking! I can, however, do it like many people do, in sections. In June, 2012 I will hike 80 miles from Skyland in Shenandoah National Park to Harpers Ferry, WV.
This page details the planning and practice hikes to prepare for 5 days of backpacking. Already the trip has yielded several surprises! I discovered a gorgeous trail near my house that goes up the Virginia side of the Potomac River (really!)
In my work travels I have made extra time to hike wherever I am and this has again yielded trips to places I would have never seen.
I have also discovered muscles I never knew existed in my body until they burned with the searing pain of lactic acid!
I share(d) your dream. Let me suggest the Chesapeake and Ohio National Historical Park’s towpath as a warmup.