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Hiking the Appalachian Trail

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Brother in Arms, May 4, 2007.

  1. Brother in Arms

    Brother in Arms Well-Known Member

    hello Everyone
    I thought I let everyone know I am signing off of the Highroad for about 6 months starting June 1st to thru hike the Appalachian Trail. I am heading south bound from Maine to Georgia. Unfortunately carrying concealed on the AT seems like a legal imposability, considering I have to pass through Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachuesetts, Connecticut,New York, New Jersey,Pensylvania,Maryland,West Virginia, Virginia,Tennesee, North Carolina and Georgia.

    That not being bad enough in several state parks it is illegal to carry a firearm.

    So it seems I am out of luck as using a firearm for self defense on the trail, not to mention the variety of laws having to do with chemical and non-firearm choices.

    I will be carrying a knife for certain but more as a tool than as a weapon. I may take to carrying stout stave for walking purposes which is an excellent tool for self...defense...other than that anyone have any suggestions that wont wind me up in the clink?

    Brother in Arms
  2. 686+

    686+ Well-Known Member

    A friend from work just did that. He left a few weeks ago and hopes to be done in 4 months or so.
    If you run into a Thermal Analyst from LA tell him the guy that moved to CO is saying hi.

    Good luck and God's speed.
  3. Unisaw

    Unisaw Well-Known Member

    Best of luck! Are you going to post to a blog along the way? Even if you don't, please let us know what trail name you adopt -- your name will probably turn up in other trail journals.
  4. 82Magnum

    82Magnum Active Member

    Wishing you the best of luck

    I read "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson while I was in Kuwait last spring and the AT is a new life-goal of mine. Check it out if you haven't read it yet. Also, get yourself a nice slingshot to keep your mind busy and your aim sharp along the trail. Maybe you can harvest a fat rabbit or grouse for the evening fire along the way. A large stone to the forehead or chest would keep most would-be attackers (two or four legged) from coming any closer as well. Bear spray wouldn't be a bad idea, either.
  5. Titan6

    Titan6 member

    I suggest a trash picker over a staff. A wooden handled tool 5' long with a 4'' metal spike on the end would ruin someone's day. It is also low key and looks in place. Best I can think of sorry....
  6. BayouTeche77

    BayouTeche77 Well-Known Member

    Definitely a dog training whistle and an audible one just incase of emergencies. Make sure anyone hiking with you has the same as well, two friends and myself were checking traps one day on a levee and were surrounded by a group of about 18 wild dogs and we each had one. They were enough to keep a thirty yard buffer between us and them until we got to the trucks and got our guns. I hated to do it but if they were going to attack us, luckily we were prepared, they would probably do the same to others and I couldn't have a child's injury/death on my conscience so we put down as many as we could before the others ran away.

    Also, an airhorn would be very handy for emergency confrontations, a couple of emergency road flares are just very handy in the woods if you have any space for them.

    Just incase of an attack by a rogue bear, I would also bring a PETA member to distract them while you run away:D

    I really like the garbage picker idea, too.

    Have fun and be safe.

    Edit: Please keep a diary of your daily events, some of us would like to hear about some of the more interesting things that occur.
  7. ryan in maine

    ryan in maine Well-Known Member

    wow. starting with Maine? ouch! convenient tho, eh?

    when I hiked the Maine portion my father carried an S&W Model 60 revolver. he hiked most of the trail (I couldn't join due to school). he carried the revolver and various loads to shoot black bears/moose, humans/coyotes/bobcats, and snakes.

    I don't advocate carrying on federally maintained portions of the trail, but I ain't telling if you ain't telling (hell, we saw a couple guys carrying Marlin lever-action rifles strapped to their packs and were jealous). the chances of anyone knowing are slim to none anyways. maybe there are ways of being able to maximize your carrying potential by mailing your firearm to yourself via checkpoints. probly too complicated and not worth the effort tho.

    other than that obvious exchange, others have brought up good ideas. a hiking stick/garbage sticker. bear spray. wildly loud whistle. a good pitching arm.

    since I wasn't old enough to CCW @ the time I hiked the trail I took an HI khukri and a Dozier with me. no one we crossed paths with thought anything of it aside from a couple questions about the khukri and what kind of blade it was.
  8. cbsbyte

    cbsbyte Well-Known Member

    Good idea not to bring a handgun, even though it might sound like a good idea, it is illegal to carry a weapon in several of those states without out a state issued license. Though prosecution can very from prison to a simple fine depending on the state. In Mass it is a mandatory one year in prison for breaking the state gun laws, NY, NJ, CT and MD are not better. The other states you might get off with a warning. And I would not want to spend a minute in prison if I could have avoided it.
  9. Daniel964

    Daniel964 Well-Known Member

    How about a hatchet or machete hanging on your belt. They are camp tools after all.
  10. geim druth

    geim druth Well-Known Member

    A hiking stick of some kind is really handy, and you can practice spearing pine cones with it as you walk. I've heard of people using a long-handled ice axe as a hiking stick. You might have to fashion some sort of cap for the butt, but you'd have a very effective weapon right in your hand as you hike.

    Have a great time!
  11. WildcatRegi

    WildcatRegi Active Member

  12. beaucoup ammo

    beaucoup ammo Well-Known Member


    That's great. You'll remember this for the rest of your life. The trash pole is a very good idea..as is the hatchet. A very solid wooden staff at the least and a selection of knives. Mace perhaps? Hang your edibles at night, and enjoy..it's truely a once in a life time op.

    I hope you are in good shape. Remember to keep your ankles bound tight, and don't get hurt on the trail. Tke some insect spray and plenty of water. Some sort of compact radio to call for help if the worst happens.

  13. AntiqueCollector

    AntiqueCollector Well-Known Member

    Well, I think you could probably bring a gun with you, it'd be the same as any other form of travel btwn. states with a firearm--would have to be locked in a case, etc. in the unfriendly areas. I don't know what some of the anti-gun states would treat it in their parks though, as protected under the federal law or not, I'm really not sure. I know VT won't be a problem carrying a gun for the most part, neither should NH if you open carry there (except on national parks that is), but MD and some of the others aren't so good..., so you could probably at least have one with you, even if not quickly accessible through much of the trip--it'd be better than nothing though...
  14. HammerG26

    HammerG26 Well-Known Member

    ummm.... concealed means concealed... do you have a CHL for any state?
    Have to weigh risk / reward....
  15. clt46910

    clt46910 Well-Known Member

    Back when I did a lot of backpacking, I carried a machete strapped to the right side of my backpack. I could reach back over my right shoulder with my right hand and draw it very easily. I found a machete a lot more useful then a axe.

    I also always used a hiking staff. I made my own from 1" aluminum poles of at least 1/8 thickness. I would mount a inverted coat hook at the top. The hook comes in handy for so many different things. From hanging the staff from a tree limb to hooking a small tree to help you pull yourself up a small hill. Make it about shoulder high in length. It will be your first line of defense most times, to either keep something away from you or smack something.

    It will be a great adventure and I wish you luck.
  16. JohnL2

    JohnL2 Well-Known Member

    I envy you. Wish I could do the same. But who has that kind of time to set aside for such an adventure?
    It's a shame that a lot of laws are more geared towards preventative measures than actually punishing misdeeds.
    That machete idea sounds good though.
  17. Brother in Arms

    Brother in Arms Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the interest everyone...

    as for making time for the Trip..I figure it will take m 6 months to complete it and I am not currently in a the best of shape which is part of why I am taking the trip...I look at it this way I don't own anything and I don't care about my job...so why not hit the trail. As for weapons...guess a staff will have to do...

    I wonder if the Mclure Volkmer act would apply in this situation...as in transporting a legal firearm from Maine to Georgia...

    Brother in Arms
  18. SeanSw

    SeanSw Well-Known Member

    I am envious. I hope you have a great time and return safely, with just enough things going wrong to make a good story.

    If I were in your position and unwilling to CCW then I would make or invest in a very stout stave (hickory, ash, white wax, or a resilient tropical hardwood) and fashion a spear head for it. The Cold Steel bushman could come into play very quickly if you tapered the shaft appropriately, and you could also secure it with a well placed hole and lanyard, or even a wooden peg. The knife itself is lightweight and hard wearing (more than the price would suggest) and the hollow handle helps it adapt perfectly as a thrusting weapon.

    I wouldn't count on defending myself from multiple predators, or one large one, but it's better than a pointy stick. Sort of. :D
  19. freakazoid

    freakazoid member

    I have been really wanting to hike the AT. It is pretty much at the top of my wish to do list. Actually just hitting the road and going wherever my feet take me is pretty much at the top of my list. I am currently reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, which is about a Chris McCandless, aka Alex Supertramp, who hiked a large part of America, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_McCandless
    On the gun issue, I would have no problem carrying some type of firearm with me, be it handgun or rifle. It is none of the governments business so I would still carry, we shouldn't let them take away our rights.
  20. mp510

    mp510 Well-Known Member

    For those of you recommending large knife carry- if he intends on entering CT, carrying a knife that's got a 4"+ edged portion of the blade makes an individual a candidate for a prison term up to 3 years, a fine, and a felony conviction.

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