The Finish from the Start of the Trail
Blood Mountain, about 25 miles from the start of the Appalachian Trail
Dahlonega, Georgia (near the start of the Appalachian Trail) — Research is complete at the start of the trail. This will be my last blog from here until we meet up with the subjects in Virginia. In May, I will travel with seven Alma College students to Virginia to find and retest the subjects that I tested at the start of the trail. If the odds hold, about 50% of my subjects that started the trail in Georgia will drop out by Virginia.
The research project has gone well and will finish up here with 52 subjects tested. Several of my subjects have already dropped out. My original speculation about fitness playing a role in the early stages of the trail seems to be supported by the initial set of data. It will be very interesting to see the physiological changes in the subjects when we retest them in Virginia. Some will lose upwards of 50 pounds, others will see tremendous improvements in fitness, and all will “trail harden.”
I have been following many of the subjects on trailjournals.com (very interesting reading if you want to get a flavor for the trail). The 70 degree temperatures of last week have changed to 20s and 30s this week. Mr. Ed. has hiked over 300 miles and found six inches of snow in the Smokies of North Carolina. Evil Eye is making good progress and after pounding out 20+ miles a day, YoungNdum has decided to slow down a bit to minimize soreness and fatigue.
The last five weeks have been great and I want to thank all of the subjects and Josh and Leigh at the Hiker Hostel for making this research possible.
Happy trails to you and good luck to all of my subjects. May the wind be at their back and the trail be all downhill to Maine.
Posted: Tue, April 10th, 2007 at 11:35AM