National Geographic Appalachian Trail Maps Review

I hope everyone is having a great Mother’s Day so far! Before leaving for the Appalachian Trail, I was contacted by TLC Book Tours to do a review on the new collection of Appalachian Trail maps created by National Geographic.

I have used the first map in the collection, Springer to Davenport Gap, along with my AWOL Guidebook during our first month on trail.

During the first two weeks of our hike, I regularly checked the National Geographic map at night to see what was ahead and to compare it with the AWOL guide. As time went on, it became my extra resource if needed to compare with my guidebook or in an emergency situation.

 I believe that they would serve day hikers and section hikers best, but also be excellent to carry on a thru-hike for emergency purposes. 

I say that day hikers and section hikers would benefit from the maps the most because each map is divided into sections of the Appalachian Trail, which gives a big picture of the area and provides other trail information.

If you were a day hiker trying to create a loop hike, the maps allow you see what’s in the area. You can also see where county lines are, topographical lines and shelter information. 

As a thru hiker, a guide book like the AWOL Guide or Guthooks is extremely important, but it’s also great to supplement with a map, which is why I love the National Geographic maps. It doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as a guide book, but it gives big picture coverage of the area you are looking at. 

Some ultralight hikers may disagree with carrying maps, but I like knowing I have another resource in my backpack in the case of  an emergency. A side trail or road crossing near the Appalachian Trail could be the means of getting out of bad situation quickly.

The only con I have with the maps is the lack of listed water sources. Every shelter listed at the front of each map lists whether it has water or not, but there are no other sources listed. You can tell where rivers and streams cross the trail, but it is easier to go by a guide book for water source information.

The takeaway:

1. Each map represents a section of the trail, which makes them lightweight and easy to carry.

2. They provide area information, including other trails, mountains and rivers in the vicinity of the Appalachian Trail.

3. These maps are handy for thru-hikers to use in addition to a guidebook for a larger view of the area and in the event technology fails.

These maps were provided for this review, but all opinions are my own.

Appalachian Trail Days 34-41

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful moms out there!

Last weekend we spent a wonderful two days in Hot Springs, NC and headed back on trail this past Monday. Hot Springs has been our favorite town so far and highly recommend the section from Max Patch to Hot Springs for a fun section hike. We are close to finishing North Carolina!

Appalachian Trail Days 26-33

We have officially finished the Smokies! It was a lot of fun and it only poured on us once. We had a great experience and saw some beautiful views. We also had our first time veering off trail before Clingman’s Dome… 

Appalachian Trail Thru Hike Days 21-24

We enjoyed two zero days at Fontana Village Lodge and have headed in to the Smokies. Here’s the latest happenings from this week.

Appalachian Trail Days 17-20

After a wonderful stay at the Nantahala Mountain Lodge, we hit our biggest mile day this past week to get to the NOC. Colds have been our latest battle, but we are staying positive and enjoying the great weather.

Appalachian Trail Days 13-16

We have made it to Franklin, NC and are enjoying another zero day. This past week we entered in to North Carolina and hit the 100 mile mark! We also met an incredible lady named Iron Will yesterday. She tells a little of her story towards the end of video and I think you will be as inspired as I was
talking to her.

Appalachian Trail Days 6-12

We are having a great time on trail, minus some shin splints, but we are so happy to be out here! Here is video #2!

Appalachian Trail Days 1-5

Here is our first video! Sorry the quality is not great. We have had a difficult time getting it to upload. Hope you enjoy!

A Time To Reflect | Preparing for the Appalachian Trail

Well, we have finally made it. We are in Georgia!

My heart is heavy knowing we are leaving family, but it’s also filled with so much excitement I can hardly believe it.

These past few months have flown by so fast, and I have learned a few things preparing for the Appalachian Trail…

  1. Waiting until the last minute to make decisions only adds more stress.
  2. I don’t like making decisions.
  3. It’s easy to make big goals, but they don’t always go as planned, and it’s OK.
  4. Time with family is more important than stressing over minuscule things.
  5. God is in control, and He has everything planned out!

So, these are really basic realizations and I’ve made them before, but the last one is the most important and I need to be reminded of it daily.

I’ve had the hardest time picking out what clothes I want to wear for 6 months. HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT COLOR TO WEAR EVERY DAY?

I also decided the last week at home I needed to try on 5 other backpacks just to make sure I have the right pack… We have made countless trips up the interstate to REI. Thank you Jake for all the hours you spent there with me. Thank you John, Dash, Justin and the other awesome employees at our local REI.

We have finally made it though! We have made it 100 days since we announced are plans to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. What a crazy thing to say. One hundred days have passed, and we are about to spend that amount of time plus more out in the woods!

I’m not going to lie, I’m going to miss a hot shower every morning and warm bed to sleep in. I’m going to miss calling my family whenever I want to. I’m going to miss having a schedule.

But… I’m excited to really cherish the times I get to shower (it probably won’t be often) and nights I get to sleep in a bed. It’s easy to take those things for granted. I am excited to meet new people, make new friends and have the potential to share the gospel. I am excited to embrace a schedule made by the weather, food needs or how my body feels.

Life on trail will very different. It will be challenging, but if I can put one foot in front of the other, know that I am ultimately not in control and live life to glorify God, we will do exactly as God planned for us.

Thank you to all who read our blog, and thank you to those who have donated to our fundraiser. Thank you!

Have a question or want us to feature some particular part of trail life in our videos (soon to come)? Please don’t hesitate to send us a message over one of our social media channels or by email.

Stay tuned for LOTS of pictures to come on Instagram!

Appalachian Trail Practice Hike

This past Saturday, Jake and I ventured back up to South Mountains State Park for another Appalachian Trail practice hike. We hiked a total of 10 miles over 5 different trails. Check out our video to see how it went!