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Beating the recession on the Appalachian Trail
According to the story, a number of hikers who have lost their jobs, have decided to take advantage of their time off, and spend some extended time on the AT. The more adventurous are even electing to thru-hike the entire 2175 mile length, which generally takes anywhere from five to seven months to complete.
Some of the hikers that NPR spoke to saw the loss of their jobs as an opportunity to do something that they might not have the chance to do later on in life. Most are young, still in their 20's, and don't quite have the responsibilities that will come as they get older, such as families, a mortgage, or well established careers. They're focusing on the long distance hike with the hope that when they are finished, and they return to civilization, the economy will be showing signs of recovery.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy website estimates that it will cost somewhere between $3000-$5000 to hike the entire length of the trail, which runs from Maine to Georgia, crossing a total of 14 states in the process. Most of that is spent when hikers leave the trail behind and return to town, where they tend to splurge on hotels and restaurants. While that is a large chunk of change to spend on a single trip in the middle of an economic downturn, overall that's a fairly inexpensive trip considering the length.
So, if you've found that you have a little extra time on your hands, and some severance pay burning a hole in your pocket, maybe you should consider taking on the AT or some other extended adventure. After all, the economy is going to turn around at some point, and when it does, we're going to be expected to go back to work!