View Full Version : Useful websites

Jack Tarlin
10-15-2002, 15:30
In a few days, I'll be leaving for the annual Gathering of hikers sponsored by the Appalachian Long-Distance Hiker's Ass'n.

I'm going to be leading a discussion group aimed at prospective (i.e. first-time) A.T. thru-hikers, and I was hoping to give out a list of useful and helpful websites that may help folks with their planning and preparation.

As some of you know, I've been away and pretty much off the computer for 6 1/2 months; during this time, several established A.T. sites have struck their tents, changed their formats, etc. Also, there are some new ones (like this one!) that I've only recently become aware of.

It'd help me a great deal if folks would either send me ([email protected]), or better yet, post HERE some of the sites, new and old, especially recent ones, that they find useful, or have visited in the past. Among other things, I'm looking for general info sites, Q&A Forums, Mailing lists, but also specialized sites---sites dealing with such things as lightweight backpacking, Trail Journals/diaries, gear-related sites, food dehydrating, wildlife, medical/safety issues, you name it. Anything you guys could send along will help me a great deal in West Virginia this weekend, as I want to pass on as much info as I can to the folks planning their trips, and it'd also be a good way to share some of your favorite sites with the folks who spend time here.

Thanx in advance for helping with this-------Jack

The Weasel
10-15-2002, 16:49
Jack--- This is an old post of mine, which I used the "search" function here to find:

Mileage Calculators
There are three web-based mileage calculators I have used that are useful for planning a thru hike or a long section hike. They are each a little different:


This is a town/shelter calculator, most useful for calculating town-to-town, town-to-shelter (or vice versa) and shelter-to-shelter mileages. Helpful for calculating maildrops, especially if you want to avoid "town days" by knowing shelters close to a particular town. There are some other useful links as well.


This is a very cool calculator that seems to have all towns and trailheads/major road crossings, but not shelters. It is excellent for "precision" mileage calculations, i.e. it has minor state and county road crossings (as shown in the Data Book).


This is a handy calculator to determine number of days anticipated (starting date to finish date) based on assumptions about "zero days" and number of miles per day. This is VERY useful in determining when/where you will need mail drops. One way to use it is to make varying assumptions, i.e. early in your hike, 12 miles a day, after a few weeks, 15 miles a day, after a month or so, 20 miles, or whatever.

10-15-2002, 17:15

Wingfoot has been working on his again. Trailplace.com. There is a forum there, but not as active as this one.

AT Forums, active last spring when you started, is gone. Unfortunate. That had a lot going for it.

There is also thru-hiker.com, but not a lot happening there

Also trailforums.com. Their companion site, Trailjournals.com is more active.

Former Admin
10-15-2002, 18:04
Another hiker M&M started a site a few months back that looks promising http://trail-life.com

In my opinion I thing some of us should go over there and post some messages in M&M's board at Trail Life to get it going. There is plenty of room on the internet for a whole bunch of AT sites and I don't think one should have a monoply. We all have one common goal, "Provding information about the AT"

10-15-2002, 18:22
Since I think some other people might like this info, I'll post it here rather than sending along an email. Here are a few sites that I have found helpful for a variety of things relevant hiking.

1) This site.
2) Initially, the AT-L. Later, it became annoying. A good place for arranging rides.

3) www.trailjournals.com. Reading through journals is a great way for finding out pretty accurate info on gear, starting times, pacing, hostels, etc, etc. One problem for some is that this takes a while. I like it though. A bigger problem for me, at least, was that many of the people who were most keen on keeping journals were pretty homogeneous in their hiking style, at least on the AT. The PCT suffers from the same problem, but the homogeneity is different from the AT ones.

4) www.trailquest.net. Some good information overall here. Plus, they have lightweight gear for sale here. I've been using one of their tarps for the past month or so and have liked it. After putting it through the paces in the winter time, I'll get around to writing up a review of it.

5) http://members.tripod.com/gohike/
Dave Brock's page. This has a lot of info on some of his previous trips. It is useful for watching the transformation to, and benefits of being, an ultralight hiker.

6) www.thru-hiker.com. Good gear plus articles.

7) http://www.peaktopeak.net This site has a ton of info on trails and parks in the US and around the world. It has a large listing of AT and PCT homepages.

8) SGT. Rock's homepage, www.hikinghq.com
I've used this alot in conjunction with building stoves.

That is all for now, I think.

Former Admin
10-15-2002, 18:31
I wonder if you found my 203 mile journal to fit in that homogeneous category:D LOL


10-16-2002, 08:37
The homogeneity that I found in the AT journals is lower per day miles and less experience when starting out. On the PCT, the journals reflect a higher daily mileage and more experience before starting.

I haven't read through your journals, but I do like some of your pictures, though.

SGT Rock
10-16-2002, 09:02
Well, Admin's journal got pard down. Lets just say that it probably was over a PG rating, but also not as bad as some prime time TV shows these days. Ever see the latest "Real World"?

I'm also supprised to see myself in the usefull catagory on this site. Although I like playing with gear and have a special thing for stoves, I didn't consider my site that high up in the pecking order for thru-hikers.

10-16-2002, 09:08
Remember, SGT. Rock, it is just the ones I look at a lot or have found helpful in the past. The stove stuff on your page is much more useful, I think, that perhaps you realize. Especially for those of us whose mechanical skills are less than, shall we say, mediocre. The step by step photos are really helpful. As are the scientific stove tests.

10-16-2002, 14:40
Baltimore Jack,

I've been doing tons of research on the internet. Here are some worthy sites (feel free to disagree). I agree with the other posts as well, and hopefully, these don't overlap.

First Aid, Wildlife, etc.:

General Backpacking:

Ultralight Backpacking:
http://www.backpacking.net (I really like this one!)

AT related:

Yahoo! Groups - there are lots related to backpacking. Here are a few. I don't know how active they are.

Also, Jack, if you'd like I could email you my backpacking bookmarks that I've been collecting over the past year. I'm afraid most of them aren't all that good, but you could give it a glance and maybe it'll spark some ideas. There are also lots and lots of journals that I've enjoyed reading. Email me ([email protected]) if you'd like me to list a couple of those.

Hope this helps,

Jack Tarlin
10-16-2002, 15:58
Many, many thanx for all the excellent contributions; I'm putting together a great list for my talk this Saturday in West Virginia. Hope to see some of you there, and thanx again for all the good suggestions!

01-06-2003, 21:57
just adding a couple AT related WebCam sites:

at Big Meadows in Shenandoah NP about 1 mile from AT : http://www.instacam.com/showcam.asp?id=LRAY1&size=L&imgfolder=&imgtime=

and of course the Mt. Washington WebCam : http://www.mountwashington.org/cam/

both good for seeing what the weather is like at the moment.