The Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association collaborate on this guide especially designed for potential thru-hikers. It gives them the basic information for a five- to six-month trek in the woods, at a reasonable price, but also leaves space for the adventure of finding out the extras for themselves.
This basic information concentrates on services and food in towns and shelter and water locations on the trail, with a little oddball history slipped in here and there. With research by more than three dozen thru-hiker volunteers in 14 states, backed by the first-hand information of the Trail's volunteer and staff maintainers and managers, the "Companion" includes extensive tabular information from the 2012 "A.T. Data Book". Sized for easy packing in a quart-sized resealable baggie. Purchased mainly by current thru-hikers, it is also sought out by section-hikers and the top Appalachian Trail customer group: dreamers.
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The Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association, formed in 1981, is the only organized users' group for the Appalachian Trail, meeting annually for a three-day festival but also engaged in volunteer projects such as shelter work trips and hostel repairs. Sylvester leads a team of 40 volunteer "field editors" who contribute annual updates for the Companion.