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Get your steps in by virtually hiking the Appalachian Trail

Written by
Sarah Medina

When you're stuck at home it can be hard to get the recommended 10,000 steps in a day. But if you have a goal in mind, like, say, virtually hiking the Appalachian Trail, you might suddenly find yourself pacing around your apartment or lacing up your sneakers for a (socially-distanced) jog. 

The first step is to download the app Walk the Distance, which was developed last year and is currently free due to the pandemic. The app connects to your iPhone’s Health app to track your steps, and then translates that distance into progress on the A.T. And you won't be alone, everyone who uses the app is visible on the same map. As you make your way from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, you'll also pass virtual signposts, which include shelters, scenic points, and trail-volunteer information. 

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After the challenges and closures caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, we want to make sure this year’s thru-hikers have the opportunity to accomplish their dream. All 2020 thru-hikers who began their hikes this year and left the Trail prior to March 31, 2020 will receive an extension: once the CDC provides guidance that special precautions are no longer necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or ATC issues an announcement, thru-hikers can pick up where they left off and have 12 months from the date they restart to complete their hike and be recognized as a thru-hiker in our 2,000-miler registry. We are truly grateful to everyone who has temporarily postponed their hikes to help prevent the spread of the virus, both on and off the Trail. Read More: #AT #AppalachianTrail #ATcommunity #TrailCommunity #WildEast #AT2020 #ProtectYourTrail #hiking #backpacking #thruhike #thruhiking #wilderness

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For a person walking 10,000 steps a day, it would take an average of 440 days to hike the entire 2,000-mile trail. That’s more than twice as long as it would take most professional hikers—and you don't even have to worry about elevation changes or carrying your pack. But maybe you can get it done before everything goes back to normal? What else do you have going on? 

But if you want to explore nature without having to put in any energy, you can always virtually tour a national park or live stream the northern lights from your couch. 

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