Piecing Together the Appalachian Trail: A Segment Hike in the Making

If you’re reading blogs on The Trek, you likely aspire to complete one of the national scenic trails. The gold standard is the thru-hike, but not everyone can get key aspects of their lives to align with taking 5-7 months to live on the trail. I’m one of those, committed to trekking the entire Appalachian Trail, but having to plan around limitations and balances with all aspects of my life. 

The Puzzle of LASH Hiking the AT

Piecing together the AT

I received this jigsaw puzzle for Christmas. Nice!

In the world of outdoor adventures, few experiences rival the transformative journey of thru-hiking. For me, the call of the AT beckons with irresistible allure—a chance to push my physical and mental limits, reconnect with nature, and find solace amidst life’s chaos. However, with family, work, and personal commitments, a traditional thru-hike spanning months on end isn’t in the cards. Instead, I’ve embraced the long-segment hiking approach (aka LASH or Long A** Section Hike)—a strategic blend of trail time and life commitments that allows me to pursue the AT dream one section at a time.

Navigating the logistics of segment hiking requires careful planning and adaptability. From arranging transportation to and from trailheads to the typical planning of resupply points, every detail is crucial for ensuring a seamless transition between trail life and everyday responsibilities. Whether it’s taking the Amtrak to Gainesville, GA (which I will do in a few days) or utilizing shuttles and public transport to reach trail access points, I will have to learn to navigate the complexities of getting on and off the trail with finesse. 

Selecting start and stop points is critical in long-section hiking, since I will be relying on shuttles, public transit, trains, and possibly airplanes. My first LASH will be from the approach trail in Amicalola State Park to Hot Springs, NC. From there, I will shuttle to Asheville and then take public transit to Amtrak in Charlotte. If I’m making better time than planned, I can continue past Hot Springs, but logistics of getting to Charlotte or to a connecting town become substantially harder. 

Other key entry/exit points that I will consider this year, as I continue on the southern half of the trail, are Damascus, VA, Roanoke, VA, Harpers Ferry, WV, and throughout Pennsylvania (where I reside). In 2025, I hope to knock off segments on the northern half of the trail.

Staying Connected to the Outdoor Community When Not on the Trail

As a part-time employee at an outdoor outfitter, I’m fortunate to be immersed in a community of like-minded individuals. Constantly fueled by conversations with fellow outdoor enthusiasts and our shared passion for exploration, I find solace and inspiration in unexpected places. It’s a reminder that the spirit of adventure is not confined to the trail—it lives within each conversation, each shared story, each moment of connection with the outdoor community.


My Appalachian Trail journey is not just about conquering miles of rugged terrain—it’s about embracing the journey in all its complexity. It’s about finding harmony between the call of the wild and the responsibilities of everyday life. In some ways this is true to the original intent of the trail’s founders and the larger mission of trail supporters and organizations.

In the end, it’s about proving that the spirit of the AT is not bound by the constraints of time or circumstance—it’s a journey that transcends boundaries, one step at a time, even if it is a non-linear journey, broken into segments.

Happy Trails

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