Appalachian Trail

mountain

A rugged dirt trail winds its way through the forest.  Above, tall pines lean over the path, blocking out the sky with a dense screen of needles.  A few scattered beams of sunlight manage to struggle through the green filter down to the forest floor.  Tiny particles of dust hang lazily in the air, caught in the concentrated rays of sun.  The particles barely move, frozen by the dense, breezeless air.  The humidity in the atmosphere is almost palpable.  Deep in the backcountry of the mountains, nothing stirs.  A creek gurgles past the pathway, murmuring to itself along its lonely journey.  Cicadas chirp their peculiarly incessant drone, which is a familiar background to summer anywhere in the South.

Quite unexpectedly, a lone hiker enters the scene, disturbing the stillness that blankets the little forest glade.  The quiet tread of his boots crunches the pine cones and twigs that litter the ground.  His breath rushes in and out with an unhurried, yet exerted pace.  His walking stick swishes against the leg of his pants.  A large backpack rests on his shoulders and a canteen hangs from his belt.  He seems to be a rugged man—his unshaven face bears a determined look—and he is well equipped with supplies. Undoubtedly he is a thru-hiker.  He plods forward with a determined stride.  In moments, he disappears down the twisting trail that winds its way through the narrow corridor of trees.  The silence softly steals back into this particular portion of the Appalachian Trail, waiting for the next traveler to come striding along. The absence of the walker leaves the air with an uncanny quiet, broken only by the mumbling creek and the humming grasshoppers.

The Appalachian Trail is a 2180 mile brutal trek that switchbacks the nearly unbroken chain of ridgelines that run through the Appalachian Mountains.  Though located in the heart of America, the Appalachians are a sparsely populated and densely wooded range of mountains.  They contain many lonely glades like the one mentioned above.  Much of Appalachia is protected land.  In fact, 99% of the Appalachian Trail is either national park land, or owned by the state.  Every year, over 4000 volunteers spend 175,000 hours of service work to upkeep and maintain the trail.  It was completed in 1937 by private citizens, but today is maintained under the authority of the National Park Services.

The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, affectionately known as A.T., begins at Georgia’s Springer Mountain and terminates at Maine’s rugged Mount Katahdin.  The trail extends through 14 states: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.  Every year between two and three million people visit the A.T.  Its proximity to most major Eastern population centers makes it an ideal road trip destination.  A 2-3 hour drive can take an East Coast city dweller to the nearest access points, out of hundreds.  Every spring, almost 2000 thousand people gather at Springer Mountain, Georgia, determined to hike the whole trail.  Every fall, considerably less people emerge from Mount Katahdin victorious.  About 1 in 4 hikers make it all the way.  These remarkable people are known as “thru-hikers.” The average thru-hiker takes six months to complete the whole journey.

Thru-hikers often form a fascinating sub-culture all to themselves.  They band together, buy supplies along the way, seek shelter, swap stories, and generally enjoy life away from civilization.  Thru-hikers like to create unique, and often humorous, nicknames for themselves.  A common practice among them is to leave each other messages at various way stations, the most famous of which are Damascus, Virginia and Monson, Maine.  Among A.T. veterans, these destinations are known as hiker havens. A hiker on the Appalachian Trail burns close to 6000 calories a day, on average.  Consequently, high calorie foods such as snicker bars and ramen noodles are especially popular with the walkers.  The Appalachian Trail is no place for wimps.  It is tough, long, and stretches across most of the Eastern United States.

The entire East Coast is a huge distance to cover for a walker and even for a business.  Thankfully, a truck is much faster than a hiker.  Despite the evident challenges that face multi-state businesses, Tarheel Imaging is able to provide service to almost the entire East Coast!  Our headquarters are located in Wilmington, North Carolina, which is strategically centered to provide shredding, microfilming, and scanning services to both the North and the South.  In fact, we service every state that the Appalachian Trail runs in, except for Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire.  To the South, we actually have the record setting 2180 mile trail beat because we extend all the way down to Florida.   Don’t let a little distance, or even a mountain range, stop you.  Tarheel Imaging can go where you go, to get the job done.  Thru-hikers are a tough breed, but so is the tireless and relentless team at Tarheel Imaging.  Go ahead, give us a call.  We can handle any document job you’ve got, without even eating a Snickers bar.