Appalachian Trail Histories


Tunes On The Trail

Although completely surrounded by nature in every corner, music is a luxury items to hikers. On certain occasions, hikers bring along instruments with them or their personal iPods to listen to music. iPods are a luxury to hikers as they are often the only ones for a long periods of time before they see another hiker or reach town. An iPod is also extemly light weight barely occupying room. Hikers can listen to an iPod for up to 30 hours before a quick recharge. 

Thru-hikers also pack guitars, mandolins, violins, and banjos with them along the Appalachian Trail. It has become very popular to create live music in the camp shelters creating a positive and fun atmosphere in the woods. Josh Lichti (left) set out for his south bound hike with his 6 pound banjo to create tunes with other musical hikers. Along his hike, Josh shares that many musician hikers wished they would have brought along their instruments after seeing so many on the trail. Although Josh did not get a chance to complete his AT journey, he is set to go for his second attempt, bringing along his banjo once again

In his North bound hike, Jonathan Peabody decided to purchase a mandolin in Tennessee. His luxury item created a positive atmosphere and it was a good distraction in the camp shelters when weather conditions turned. Having a mandolin on his hike, reminded him of good times at home. The mandolin not only served as a distraction, but as a sentimental item as well. The connection he made through music persuaded him to continue on his hike. Unfortunately, the downside to carrying a big instrument is not so much its weight as it is maintaining its form. The 3 pound instrument faced days of snow and rain. With a few bumps on it, snapped strings, and dents, it ultimately ends up breaking apart in Pennsylvania. Musicians on the trail go their way to get their instruments repaired at a nearby music shop in towns, sometimes waiting days just to get it fixed. Jonathan made the decision not to pursue his mandolin on his hike.