On Saturday January 30th, my son Chris, my daughter-in-law Jenny, and myself took a drive from my son’s house in Middletown, MD to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), located in Harpers Ferry, WV. The building is a mere .2 miles off the AT.


There were a number of interesting items on display, but to me, the most incredible was the photo history of every aspiring thru hiker that has taken the slight detour to visit. Stop in to the ATC, get your picture taken and you’re deposited into a photo album. Also listed are some vitals like your start date, trail name and date of the picture.

I don’t remember exactly when the tradition started, 1970, 1971, but needless to say, there are many, many photo albums. The first album holds about two years of hikers, and as you might imagine, one album per year for a steady period and then the trend reverses, with multiple albums to hold the hikers for a single year. I expect this trend to continue.

It’s a great repository, and during our visit, someone who had thru hiked a few years earlier, brought his girlfriend in to view the photographic evidence. Classic stuff. I hope to replicate that activity, bring the grandkids in, and show them when I could still walk!

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