Sometimes I come late to the party. When it comes to hiking challenges, that’s annoying but that’s why I spend a lot of time on the web.
A new challenge, the Southern Appalachian Loop Trail, was brought to my attention by my hiking pal, Sharon. It’s a 350 to 370 mile loop, using a bunch of trails in, you guessed it, the Southern Appalachians.
Matt Kirk, our resident trail runner, is publicizing the trail and ran it in under ten days. Even he says that most people would take a month.
The loop incorporates the Appalachian Trail, Mountains-to-Sea Trail, trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Foothills, Bartram and others in South Carolina and skims Georgia. Kirk wrote an article about his trek. He also provided a spreadsheet that outlines the main highlights to keep you on the trail.
This loop is not only a challenging hike, up and down an amazing number of mountains and valleys. It’s also a logistical challenge. Where do you stay? Where do you resupply?
I find these challenges much more difficult than putting one foot in front of the other. Maybe that’s why I do most of my Southern Appalachian hiking in the Smokies, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and Pisgah where maps and trail blazes abound.
Sharon is now hiking the A.T. in Virginia bit by bit in sections. Will she consider the S.A.L.T. loop? Will the trail become the next popular challenge after the A.T. and MST? Who knows? Maybe hikers will come from all over the world to test it out? But first, it needs a trail guide.