Living in Oregon, I recently

received proof that the effort to encourage “flip-flopping” by prospective A.T. thru-hikers is gaining acceptance, even out here. Case in point: In Oregon, I have run into several hikers who have backpacked all or part of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and now wish to take on the A.T. I recently met a young male employee at Trader Joes here in Corvallis who noticed my A.T. logo hat, which served to initiate a conversation on a favorite shared subject. He expressed his intention to hike the A.T. next year after completing a preparation hike of the Oregon portion of the PCT this summer. In asking him where he planned to begin his A.T. hike, he immediately invoked Harpers Ferry. “Great idea!,” I intoned, followed by, “Do you realize such a plan is called flip-flopping?” He said he had and that the idea was appealing to him. We can hope that more potential thru-hikers, no matter where their home base, will similarly embrace a flip-flop hiking plan.

Karl Hartzell

Corvallis, Oregon
To a former hiker who left a

note with food and drink for fellow hikers: Thank you for your efforts to welcome thru-hikers to Massachusetts this spring.  I’m sure they valued your support, and appreciated the food and drink you left by Rt 41. Unfortunately, the maintainer caring for this section of the Trail encountered the empty bottles and remnants of food that were left behind with his brush cutter and spend an unpleasant 15 minutes gathering up the scattered smelly and decaying bits and pieces, then putting them into his truck and carrying them home for disposal.  While I’m sure a few hikers appreciated your gesture (although there is ample water in this section, and access to resupply is relatively easy), the “magic” of your effort was definitely lost on the maintainer, who refers to it — perhaps more accurately — as litter.

Cosmo Catalano

Williamstown, Massachusetts
This past spring, I hiked the Bear

Mountain, New York to Salisbury, Connecticut section and was pleased to find that a couple of shelters in Connecticut had their own little libraries. Here’s the one at the Wiley Shelter, officially labeled the “Dover Plains Little Free Library.” Nice selection, far different from the moldy, mouse-chewed, best-used-as-fire-starter type books you sometimes find in shelters.

Since hiking the A.T. in 1982, I’ve always enjoyed carrying a lightweight paperback book on the Trail. I never switched to e-books as many folks now do, the tiny screens lighting up their faces in shelters after hiker midnight. It was often difficult to find my next cheap used book to read unless I went into town and the public library had a book sale going on. I’ve hiked with folks who mail dropped their books, so I sometimes I lucked into interesting reading material via their castoffs. Some hostels might have a few left behind books or even their own library, though usually not for borrowing. Best in terms of finding a book to hike onward with was the Church of the Mountain at Delaware Water Gap. According to the Dover Plains Library, this little library has been there since 2014: “Little Free Libraries (LFLs) are the “take a book, leave a book” gathering place where people share their favorite reads. The Pawling Library put up a LFL at the Telephone Pioneers Shelter, and the Dover Plains Library put one up near the Wiley Shelter. The LFL’s provide reading material for all hikers passing through the shelters who want a book to keep them company on the rest of their journeys.”

Jim Montgomery

Northampton, Massachusetts

CORRECTION: In the Spring issue of A.T. Journeys — the “Welcome” column (page 4 “The Dream of Katahdin”) was co-authored by the ATC’s president and CEO Ron Tipton and chair of the ATC Board, Sandra Marra — we apologize for this omission.

A.T. Journeys welcomes your comments.
The editors are committed to providing balanced and objective perspectives. Not all letters received may be published. Letters may be edited for clarity and length.

[email protected]
Letters to the Editor
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
P.O. Box 807
Harpers Ferry, WV 25425-0807

Training is important; it keeps the day or long trip much more enjoyable with the beauty of the scenery the focus. – Ron Cox

I hiked the A.T. in sections and I found that all the states that I went through had something that none of the others had. It is better to enjoy what you are seeing and collect what you can from each state. – Ronald St. Pierre

We took our kids on their first backpacking trip to the Roan Highlands. They loved it! The views are amazing!

Several years ago I had [the] privilege of hiking sections of the Trail taking a small section each year. To this day, I can close my eyes and hear the rhythm of steps and if [I’m] lucky I can see the Trail in my mind’s eye.” – Petie McLean

If we don’t take the necessary steps, the wilderness we all love will be one of the many victims of the damage being done to our environment. – James Scott

Big hugs and big thanks to all of the wonderful men and women that keep our trails maintained! – Pj Semo

This past week on the A.T. in VT and MA we saw hard-working crews carrying lumber etc. in the pouring rain to a campsite to build a new privy and another group creating switchbacks on a steep climb just north of Mt. Greylock. We appreciate all the hard work and care that goes into making the A.T. a beautiful place to be. – Anne Fischer

I learned the only difference between a catastrophe and an adventure is the attitude. Sometimes you have to hike in the rain. It’s a lot more fun with a smile on your face!