From The Lean-To: ATC Hiker Photo Archive

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From Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, the Appalachian Trail is almost 2,200 miles of White Blaze, Trail Angels and Lean-Tos. And somewhere in West Virginia, in a town named Harpers Ferry, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), the organization who manages and protects that long and winding road, has its headquarters. Harpers Ferry is considered the halfway point of the trail (If you're really doing the math, the actual halfway point is 75 miles north in Gardners, PA near the Appalachian Trail Museum, which opened last year in 2010), and for Northbounders and Southbounders alike, taking your photo at the headquarters has become a ritual for those intending to walk the entire trail.

Having your photo taken at the Appalachian Trail Conservancy headquarters has become a standard ritual for those hikers intending on walking the entire A.T. One of the functions of the ATC, as the lead organization in managing and protecting the A.T., is to maintain the official 2,000-miler registry of all those who have completed the A.T. This tradition started in 1979 when ATC staff member Jean Cash (known to legions of hikers as "Trail Mom") started taking pictures of hikers with a Polaroid. According to the ATC's website, "the practice became a standard procedure, and a numbering system was developed that served as an informal registration."

Filed To: Photography, Hiking and Backpacking, Camping

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