A group of tents set up to sleep in for the night on the Appalachian Trail. Photo via Kylie Vantassel.
A group of tents set up to sleep in for the night on the Appalachian Trail. Photo via Kylie Vantassel.

VanTassel Hikes Appalachian Trail

May 27, 2020

The Appalachian trail is one of the longest trails in the world and goes through 14 different states. 

Rising junior Kylie VanTassel hikes the trail every year. 

“The idea to do something like this started many years ago. My dad and his childhood friend decided this is something they wanted to do around twice a year, each trip in a new section of the AT. When a kid from either family turned 9, we were finally allowed to go and be a part of something not many people have the opportunity to do,” said VanTassel.

A view from the top of a mountain on the Appalachian Trail. Photograph by Kylie VanTassel.

The trail is no easy hike as it takes preparation and goal setting. 

“In preparation for our trip, we just needed to buy the necessary food items,” said VanTassel. “We already owned all the supplies like backpacks and other equipment meant for what we are doing.”

Hiking the trail is made even harder, explained VanTassel, because of all the supplies they brought in preparing for the hike.

“One thing we had to do that people may not have thought about is the weight we have to carry day to day. Our backpacks are packed with supplies to suit our needs for 5 days in the woods. Fortunately, each day they usually get lighter and lighter. This is usually what makes the trip the most exhausting while hiking,” said Vantassel. 

Some people like the challenge of the trail, while others like being with nature.

“Life on the trail for 5 days was a lot of fun, yet very exhausting. I enjoyed the time I spent with family and friends out in the mountains together. The best part was the rewarding feeling of reaching our destination each day after a long day of mileage,” said VanTassel.

Kylie Vantassel with her group of hikers stop for the day along the trail. Photograph by Kylie Vantassel

Some people are staying away from the trail all together due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however,  when VanTassel went on the trail, the virus had not yet been at its peak. 

“[We were] able to go on the trail with COVID-19, but we still tried to socially distance ourselves as much as we could,” said Vantassel.

Every year, VanTassel and her family return to the Appalachian Trail. 

Each year is something new and exciting.

There [is] nothing better than to reach the peak of the mountain and overlook everything beneath it,” said Vantassel. 

This reward makes it worth coming back time and time again.

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