2017 Appalachian Trail Hikers Share Their Most Memorable Photos
When a thru-hike is over, what do you have left? The journey might have ended, but the experience lives on in memories, and stories, and photos. Here, we’ve collected some of the most incredible images from our 2017 blogger team, with their memories of the moment they snapped the shot. Enjoy.
It was a cold morning, and the fog was heavy as it creeped along the trail. For the most part we hiked in silence as we trekked our way down into Damascus, Virginia. I felt like I was in the heart of Fangorn Forest.
My buddy Barefoot (Jeremy) chilling at our tent site (in Tent City forest) during Trail Days. We had gone around earlier for swag, and decided to change and take a short break before the festivities continued.
This was one of the last AT signs I captured before leaving the trail due to a knee injury. Strange how life works, as this image was chosen to be the cover of the 2017 AT Hiker Yearbook. Thanks, torn meniscus?
I always had cows staring me down in the middle of the trail in Virginia. I’d yell “MOOOOOve over please.” They never did.
On the way to Mt. Washington! 12 miles beyond tree line.
Fall colors in Maine, taken right before we finished in early October.
Katahdin at sunrise from Rainbow Lake Dam.
Typical McAfees photo. I just got back on the trail after being off a few days recovering from being ill. I caught up with some friends for an awesome stay at Four Pines. Then the next day, hiked up to the shelter just below the summit, and awoke at 3:30 to catch the sunrise. Only myself and one other made it while it was still dark. I enjoyed drinking coffee on top of the mountain while watching the people of Roanoke drive to work for the day. Ended the hike twenty miles later at the HoJo in Daleville and had a whole pizza to myself. The lesson I learned was don’t hike twenty miles when you’re still sick and wearing boots that have become to small for your feet. You will overdose on pizza and spend an unplanned zero day lazing around a hotel pool. But I got the photo RIGHT?
Preferably climb the fire towers at sunset and you will get to catch the awesomeness that is a giant ball of fire sinking in the sky.
Walking into Maine with our heads (and bodies) in the clouds.
Leaving Hot Springs early in the morning was bitter sweet. Knew I would go back some day, and glad to say I already have.
September 3, right before it rained all night and I watched all the car campers pack up at 10 pm at night while I laughed from inside my dry cocoon. I summited on 9/5/17. My emotional state was ready to basically sprint that five miles to the sign.
Pausing to reflect in the clouds in Southern Maine. The hike up the mountain was incredible. Popping in and out of the clouds and watching them blow over and around the mountains was just so beautiful. This was only a month into my SOBO hike and loving every minute.
Old glory emblazoned on Lehigh gap in Pennsylvania. We were lucky enough to catch this gorgeous view before the rocky descent into the gap. It is definitely one of those moments that will remain frozen in my memory forever.
Waking up to an ocean of cloud at Riga Shelter in CT.
The Lookout Cabin in Vermont was the perfect place to watch Independence Day fireworks in the valley below.
Moxie Bald Mountain, early June. This was the first mountain I summited on my own. I remember feeling such achievement, while also feeling incredibly alone as I got to the top and had difficulty locating the path in the fog. Between the frustration of locating the trail, my leg reaching excruciating pain, and watching another hiker easily speed up the mountain and pass me, I began to cry. As I emerged at the top, the view was breathtaking and my tears dried quickly. For a moment I forgot myself. I was enveloped into the fog, becoming one with the mountain.
Looking back on my trip now, it seems like it was so long ago. Yet at the same time didn’t I just finish yesterday? I may not have enjoyed every second, but in hindsight I sure do miss even the most miserable days. Rocky Top, GSMNP.
Foxy Shazam showing off her rain ensemble—an orange trash bag from a park ranger in Shenandoah and a hat fashioned out of a dashboard sun reflector from Walmart. She affectionately named this look “Pumpkin Spice.”
Somewhere in NH I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. A great reward after a 19-mile day.
Sunset and trail magic whiskey on Big Bald… before being woken up at 2am by 45mph winds and my tent collapsing on me like a vacuum-seal bag. Just another day on the AT.
We woke up at 3am to summit Moosilauke at sunrise- kind of a celebration for making it through the hard stuff. We weren’t sure if it would be worth it or not, but you can imagine that we weren’t disappointed
New Hampshire really didn’t want us to leave. She brought on some hot and humid weather, dry water sources, & steeeeeep climbs to slow us down. Not to mention a mile before the Maine border I accidentally inhaled a bug and thought I was going to die choking on it before I could even make it to Maine. But New Hampshire sure did give us one last beautiful sunset!
While in Vermont, Chips and I are were in a bubble of hikers that liked shelter hopping which left awesome stealth spots like this open for us to camp at.
When I got to the top of the first climb of the day on 8/5/17, I was greeted by cotton candy skies and a nice breeze. The next climb was Bear Mountain. The last time I’d stood on top of that mountain was with my dad two years ago. It was one of the first hikes along the AT I ever went on with him. When I got to the top I scattered some of his ashes, had a good cry, and watched the twinkling stars in the incredibly clear sky for a bit. To most AT hikers Bear Mountain will be one of the least memorable mountains, but for me it will always be the most.
Getting a better view of the approaching storm from a halfway dismantled fire tower somewhere in Maine.
I woke up early to hike up Mt Washington and caught this at sunrise coming out of Ethan Pond Shelter.
Wonderland of snow in the Tennessee mountains
After getting crushed by an early spring blizzard, we summoned Blood mountain and enjoyed, for a few frigid seconds, one of my favorite views of the entire trail. Soon thereafter we were in warm cabins at Neels Gap drinking coffee and eating chili.
The Scales in Virginia, just north of Grayson Highlands. Rainy, foggy day in the rolling hills and cow pastures of southern VA. Walking through what was essentially a cloud, I️ could see there was something up ahead on the trail but couldn’t make out what. Turns out it was an eerily and ghostly (due to the fog) random and unfenced herd of longhorn cattle (with tiny calves!) I️t was amazing and scary and awesome.
The only sun we got for the first week in Maine. It was gray and cold and windy and awful and that’s how I imagined this entire state would be and all I wanted was to get to Katahdin. This was one of those incredible moments, a mile before camp, that reminded me why the numb fingers and wet slippery rock of a trail was worth it.
This is the sunrise (ft. Venus) coming up just beyond Katahdin. We were on the steepest part of the climb here, right before reaching the table lands. We had started climbing at 3am to get to the summit around sunrise, and it was the most incredible and magical experience to climb with the sun like that, on top of all the emotions from finishing.
Sunrise atop Big Cedar Mountain north of Woody Gap. I had been off trail for three days recovering from norovirus so it was great to be back with Mother Nature. We would continue on to Neel Gap later that day.
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