Stretching from northern Georgia to Maine, there are 2,155 feet of trail unparalleled in ruggedness and beauty. This trail encompasses some of the world's most diverse ecosystems and passes through every forest type that is represented in the United States. Backpacking on this trail takes one away from the desperate pursuit of pleasure lead by today's American culture and provides escape from the busy pace of life that is faced by all in modern society. In a time when mass media makes the world seem so small and a person can fly from one end of the country to another in four hours, this trail gives its travelers a chance to regain a personal connection with the world they live in. This is why so many people are very passionate about the Appalachian Trail.
There are two specific communities that the Appalachian Trail has the most involvement with. These two communities are "backpackers" and "day hikers." Day hikers take shorter trips, never sleep in the outdoors, and usually only see one area of the Appalachian Trail. Day hiking on Appalachian Trail has many positive attributes. The safety of civilization is never too far away and you can go home to sleep in your own bed at night. Day hiking also requires less gear, which makes this the much more economical route. Despite having many good qualities, day hiking also has its setbacks.
Something that is lost through day hiking is not being able to break away from the rest of the world. When day hiking, there are still time restrictions, much like having stressful deadlines at a job. Inflicting time constraints on a hike can really ruin a chance to relax. Also, many day hikers are very underprepared for the environment they will be traversing through. This can lead to potentially life-threatening situations that can be easily avoided. Most backpackers though, are very prepared for the elements and almost always take time to familiarize themselves with the area that will be hiked.