For those who may not know, the Appalachian Trail (AT) is a 2,200 mile hiking trail that runs along the east coast from Springer Mountain in Georgia, to Mount Katahdin in Maine, crossing 14 states along the way. While there are casual day hikers on any given part of this trail, its claim to fame are the thruhikers, who complete the entire trail in one long stretch. Each year, however, it’s estimated that around 2 million people complete at least one day hike on the AT, yet little to no resources exist for these day hikers. The goal of this project was to change that.
2190 Miles: Day Hiking the Appalachian Trail is a resource for new and experienced hikers alike, interested in getting out on and learning more about the AT. Each of the 5 portable interactive trail guides cover a portion of the AT, allowing users to find local hikes while learning about the history of the trail, while taking notes, rating their own experiences, and keeping track of hikes and details.
I started this project as a vague idea that I wanted my thesis to revolve around the Appalachain Trail, while creating something that could actually be of use, but I had no idea what. After spending months reading various books about thruhiking, researching the trail, and considering my own experiences as a hiker, I arrived at the (somewhat) ambitious idea to write and design a comprehensive set of guide books for the AT, which became this series.
1. Take the time to develop the right idea rather than developing a project you’re not totally set on. It definitely helps to have an idea to start expanding on during Senior Seminar, but don’t try to force something to work just because you haven’t landed on the right project.
2. Take this chance to really go big and work on that project you’ve been wanting to do for so long, because now’s the time to spend months on something you’ve never had the chance to do before. It’s probably the only time you’ll have as much support, time, and freedom to develop something like thesis, so don’t take it for granted.
3. It’s your project, so do what you want. Of course take into consideration all the feedback you get, and the ideas you hear, but ultimately always go with your gut because it’s your thesis and the most important thing is to enjoy what you’re doing and creating.