After hiking more than 2,000 miles over the Appalachian Mountains from George to Maine, AT thru-hikers may feel like they've walked the entire mountain range. Some Appalachian Mountain purists may just be getting started once they reach Mount Katahdin however.
(Image credit: Dropzink/Wikimedia Commons)
For more than a decade thru-hikers have been able to hike an additional 1,800-mile stretch of the International Appalachian Trail (IAT) from where the original AT ends atop Katahdin all the way to where the Appalachian Mountains reach the sea at Crow Head in Newfoundland.
If that's not far enough for you though, Dick Anderson, president of the IAT, has an even bigger idea: an intercontinental, international Appalachian Trail, one that reaches all the way to...Morocco?
Go back to Pangaea days and the birth of the Appalachians (some 480 million years ago) and the range was part of the Central Pangean Mountains, the same mountain chain on the supercontinent as the Caledonides of Ireland, Britain, Greenland, and Scandinavia, and the Anti-Atlas in Morocco.
According to an NPR story, Anderson is trying to get all the countries once connected by that massive mountain range to designate certain paths as part of the IAT, extending the international trail all the way to Morocco, hitting Greenland, Norway, Britain, France, Spain, and Portugal on the way.
The idea is catching on. In April, Greenland joined the IAT as its seventh chapter. And this June, the British Geological Survey designated Scotland's 96-mile West Highland Way as part of the IAT, Europe edition.
If it all comes together required gear for your next AT thru-hike could include either a sea kayak or a plane ticket to Europe.
Read or listen to the NPR story "Hiking The Appalachian Trail — To Morocco".
Info on the IAT: www.internationalat.org