I recently decided that hiking every one of the 511.9 miles of trail in Shenandoah National Park would be a fine goal for me. I downloaded a spreadsheet that lists the mileage of each trail, and I've spent several hours today pouring over maps and my blog posts, and figuring out exactly which trails I've hiked. And the total miles of trail hiked in the park by yours truly are: 193.8!
I'd taken a rough guess that I'd hiked somewhere between 100 and 200 miles of the trail in the park, and it turns out that I was closer to the larger number (of which I am glad).
It will be a challenge to make up the difference. In many cases, it will mean covering ground I've already hiked to get a tiny section that I'd ignored. In other cases, the trails are out and back - meaning you hike the miles twice - and in still others, multiple trails radiate and loop through sections, meaning one has to hike through the same areas 2 or even 3 times to get every trail.
Here is a perfect example of this, a section in the Southern district around Brown and Rockytop Mountains. I've hiked the purple trails but not the orange. (The AT is marked in yellow, and I've hiked some of it here. The Skyline Drive is in red). Note how the orange trails meander and merge all over the place? I'll have no choice but to hike some of them twice or even three times to complete every trail.
SNP is divided into three sections, conveniently enough Southern, Central, and Northern. I think I will mostly focus on one section at a time, maybe trying to complete the Southern Section first since it is the closest to me. Doing some backpacking would be a good idea because I can camp in an area of the backcountry and try to bag all of the trails in that area.
Well, I plan on having fun with this goal over the next couple of years.
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