A Long Walk: Paul Magnanti’s 1998 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike

Paul Magnanti’s 1998 Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike: Journal and Photos

Appalachian Trail Map


On February 28th, 1998 I was on Springer Mountain in northern Georgia.  Looked south, and saw the rolling mountains of the southern Appalachians. Looked north of the Springer summit, and saw a series of white blazes. I put one foot in front of the other. Five months and five million steps later, I was on the summit of Katahdin.

At the time of this writing (Sept 2010), it has been over twelve years since I took that first step of my Appalachian Trail thru-hike.  My AT thru-hike was by far the most demanding thing I have ever done physically, mentally and emotionally. Words and pictures can only partially convey the feelings and emotions that are experienced on a thru-hike; the cold wind numbing any exposed skin, how great the sun feels after days of rain, the stiffness in the legs each morning, the smell of the pine trees on a sunny day, the conflicting feelings  of sadness and joy when reaching Katahdin.

I wrote my journal long hand and John Gordon, a friend from the Appalachian Trail mailing list, was nice enough to transcribe it for me. In 1998, online journals were not common at all. It was unique enough that my hometown newspaper did an article on both my thru-hike and my on-line journal.  I am not a professional writer by any means, but I’d like to think that my journal provides an honest insight of this backpacking adventure. So, for your reading pleasure, here is my Appalachian Trail journal I’ve also included  my Appalachian TrailphotosEnjoy!!


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