Appalachian Trail Histories

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This article is a personal account of one Australian woman's experience with Trail Magic, as well as her opinion, and beliefs regarding how trail magic can be practiced.

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This resources goes over a man's recount of his own experiences with Trail Magic, while comparing it to the opinions of those who say it hinders hikers instead of helping them.


Photograph of Benton MacKaye and Myron Avery at Bake Oven Knob, October 1931. This is the only known photograph of the two men together.

Collection: Builders
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This map of a proposed Appalachian Trail appeared in Benton MacKaye's essay, "An Appalachian Trail: A Project in Regional Planning," Journal of the American Institute of Architects, 9 (October 1921): 325-30. It shows the original route he had in mind for the Trail as well as a variety of connecting trails that either existed or were already in the planning or construction stages.

Collection: Maps
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The November 1937 edition of The Long Trail News includes a description of an encounter of several trustees of the Long Trail (Vermont) with a female hiker alone on her end to end hike of that Trail:

"When the trustees visited the Tucker camp north of the Long Trail Lodge on October 2, they found a woman in possession the only occupant. On being asked how many were in her party, she replied, "One." It was Miss Maud Ransom of New York City. She had come up on the bus to Rutland, and had tramped with her pack to this camp, where she was passing the first night. The next night she expected to stay at the Noyes Pond camp, the next at Carmel camp and the enxt at Sunrise camp, then walk to Brandon and take the bus home. Last season she started at the south end of the Trail and went as far as Rutland, and she proposes to finish the trek to the Canadian line in installments before she calls a hal. It may reasonably be inferred that she is a young woman of good physique, and self-reliant, fond of solitary wanderings in the wilderness, and unafraid."

Throughout the history of the Appalachian Trail, many women who have hiked on the Trail alone report similar encounters with concerned or even incredulous hikers, who wonder at the bravery or what they perceive to be foolhardiness of a woman hiking alone in the forest. This 1937 news item demonstrates just how pervasive these views of lone female hikers have been over the decades.


A photograph taken of a mural that says "Welcome to Damascus, the Friendliest Trail Town." The mural reflects the community's friendly and cooperative atmosphere envisioned by Benton MacKaye.

Collection: Damascus, Virginia
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A photograph taken by Wikimedia Commons user Metayel, showing the season's change in downtown Damascus.

Collection: Damascus, Virginia
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