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Ties to thru-hikers

October 15, 2012 - Rob Weaver
Survival bracelets have become trendy, but that’s not the reason I have worn one since early June.

No, the knotted up strap of paracord is not a fashion statement. And I didn’t don it in case of emergency -- I didn't foresee an urgent need to rappel, string a laundry line or entertain kids with a jump rope. I bought the bracelet from a thru-hiker I met on the Appalachian Trail last spring, with the pledge to wear it until Baxter State Park closed to campers -- and, thus, hikers -- in mid October.

Baxter State Park is the location of Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Hundreds of hikers set foot from Springer Mountain in Georgia every spring with the hopes of reaching the summit of Katahdin before snow and dwindling daylight essentially close the trail.

The following is from the park’s website: “There is no camping inside BSP after October 15th. Hikers arriving after Oct. 15th must arrange to camp with private establishments outside Baxter State Park and enter the Park for day use only. Remember: After October 15th, opportunities to climb Katahdin will be determined on a day-by-day basis, depending on access and weather conditions. We cannot emphasize it enough — to avoid disappointment, plan to hike Katahdin by October 15th at the very latest and earlier if at all possible.”

Everyone I met in Virginia/West Virginia/Maryland last June should have finished their northbound trek weeks, perhaps months, ago. So, I will remove the bracelet tonight, and look for the names of the hikers I'd met in The A-T Journal's list of 2,000-mile trekkers.

Those who wanted to head south from Katahdin on the trail couldn’t leave before May 31, so very likely some southbounders still could be wending their way through Tennessee/North Carolina toward their goal in Georgia. But the weather shouldn’t be an issue.

Still, the stragglers might find a survival strap could come in handy. If just to rig a bear bag.

 
 

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