With an eye on the prize, this year's crop of would-be Appalachian Trail thru-hikers are getting ready to hit the trail. With that in mind, here are some stats, courtesy of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, to help them stay focused.
People seem to like numbers, and hierarchy, so here's a rundown of the leading units of the National Park System in terms of 2011 visitation. The first list combs through all 397 units in the system, while the second looks only at "national parks."
The Blue Ridge Parkway is a globally recognized icon of the American landscape. Stretches of road elsewhere in the United States may indeed be spectacular, but nothing matches this manicured, uniquely uncommercialized, half a thousand mile thoroughfare through the lofty heart of America’s first frontier.
We managed to get out on some national park trails during 2011 -- not as many as we'd like, but still a few that brought smiles to our faces. Here's a look back at those trails.