The Appalachian Trail in Stokes State Forest, New Jersey
© Frank DeBonis/Getty Image
A storied trail marks a century
This is but a tiny portion of what's often called the longest hiking-only trail in the world. Today we're in Stokes State Forest along the top edge of New Jersey, and that 2-by-6-inch white stripe tells us that we're on the famous Appalachian Trail (the 'AT' to those in the know). And what a day to be here, for July 8, 2021, is the trail's 100th birthday.
It was 100 years ago today that the trail was first conceived by a Connecticut forester named Benton MacKaye. MacKaye wanted to connect a series of farms and wilderness study camps across several states, and he liked the idea that the trail would be accessible to many via the towns and roads it would pass by. After more than a decade of work, the AT was completed in 1937 and currently stretches 2,190 miles (give or take a few) from Georgia to Maine and 12 states in between. Today we raise a birthday toast to nearly 100 years of hiking and the millions of people from all over the world who have trekked at least a portion of this trail. Cheers!