Appalachian Trail turns 75

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Backpackers Chandler Gilliam of Alpharetta, Ga., and Marie VandeVrede of Huntersville, N.C., stop for a rest along the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of the famous footpath, which runs from Georgia to Maine through 14 states.
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A Georgia historical marker marks the approach to Springer Mountain, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
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Blood Mountain, which rises to 4,458 feet above sea level, is the highest peak along the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail, rewarding tired hikers with some of the best views of the Great Smoky Mountains.
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A 10-day, 76.4-mile Appalachian Trail hike beginning at Georgia’s Springer Mountain made a memorable family vacation for sisters Hannah Lanning (left) and Emily Lanning, of Tampa, Fla. They were accompanied by their parents, Jeff and Micah Lanning, and two older brothers. The family dog, Cooper, also carried a backpack.
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The iconic 2-by-6-inch white “blaze” is the official marker that guides hikers along the 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail that winds through 14 states.
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The bronze marker at the Appalachian Trail’s southern terminus in Georgia was erected by the state’s AT Club in 1934, calling the trail “A Footpath for Those who seek Fellowship with the Wilderness.” The final segments of the 2,180-mile trail were completed three years later.
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University of South Carolina Mountaineering and Whitewater Club members Kristin Hagelin, Beth Godenick and Brooke Turner (left to right) enjoy a view from the summit of Blood Mountain, the highest point along the 75 miles of Appalachian Trail in Georgia. They were part of a group hiking from Neel Gap to Woody Gap near Blairsville, Ga.
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Gene Espy, 85, of Macon, Ga., earned a place in history in 1951 as the second person to hike the entire 2,180-mile Appalachian Trail. Today, 2 to 3 million visitors use the trail each year and 1,800 to 2,000 attempt a “through-hike” from end to end. According to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, about 25 percent succeed.
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Blood Mountain, which rises to 4,458 feet above sea level, is the highest peak along the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail, rewarding tired hikers with some of the best views of the Great Smoky Mountains.
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Backpackers Chandler Gilliam of Alpharetta, Ga., and Marie VandeVrede of Huntersville, N.C., stop for a rest along the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the completion of the famous footpath, which runs from Georgia to Maine through 14 states.

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