Trailboard Best 40: A Playlist for Your Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike


No matter if I was belting out the lyrics, singing them to myself, or some sort of awful duet with my hiking companion Bandanna Ben, The Scientist by Coldplay checked all the boxes for us. For these who know, it was the final days of our thru-hike. The most epic issue we had ever set out to achieve was coming to an finish. Proud of what we had accomplished elation mixed with caution as you inform oneself We’re not there however. Those final handful of days in Maine that lead to your final ten miles, 5 miles, one particular mile ahead of Katahdin Stream Campground are just that. I get chills to this day when I hear that song. 

Music can evoke feelings that written word just can not. Even so, in the life of a thru-hiker, our minds have a tendency to wander and wonder. Music can typically concentrate us, additional distract us, bring us to tears, or fill us with joy. There appears to be a time and location for all genres as the trail tends to make positive you really feel the complete spectrum of human feelings. The Appalachian Trail rises and falls in elevation like the crests and troughs of a sound wave. It is not just the ups and downs that guide our feelings. Our mood is typically reflective of the climate, the terrain, the individuals you are with or attempting to hike away from, even your geographical place. 

On a thru-hike, the trail dictates related feelings. For the reason that I can not accurately empathize very first hand with a southbound thru-hiker, I will not attempt to pretend. What I am going to do is nail down the major 40 songs that coincide with a NOBO thru-hike.

In the starting, the dance we do along the NC/TN border offers way to open farmland and the “blues” of Virginia. Following 800 miles you start out selecting up some, knocking out numerous states in a matter of days. Crossing the halfway point and then the Mason-Dixon Line. That disappointment when you step into New Jersey only to understand the PA rocks do not recognize the borders of man. We are going to cover all the highlights. The trail ascends back to elevation in Massachusetts as hikers rise above three,000’ for the very first time because Virginia. Vermont brings on new challenges as effectively as these extended forgotten. Every single step propels you forward into New Hampshire and the greatest challenges however. Every little thing you have been education for then slaps you in the face when you appear up and see Mt. Moosilauke, the gateway to the Whites. 

The most remote terrain and geography awaits as you enter “Vacationland.” Buckle up mainly because heavy rains and black flies can make your final push pure hell. The Appalachian Trail tests you till the incredibly finish. Subsequent issue you know, it is more than and it all felt like a dream. These are the songs that can guide you, inspire you, break you down, knock you down to your knees in the middle of the trail on a grassy bald. It’ll make you ask “What have I performed?” “What am I carrying out?”. These songs will make you dance on an exposed ridgeline. Toast to a sunset. Right here we go.

1st Quarter: Springer Mountain, Georgia to Damascus, Virginia

1) “Ends of the Earth” Lord Huron 

two) “Awake My Soul” Mumford and Sons 

three) “Ain’t No Man” The Avett Brothers 

A self-esteem enhance offered right here. Even if you are in great shape, there’s nothing at all that can genuinely prepare you for what lies ahead. Though physically powerful is a great attribute, a thru-hiker’s correct energy lies involving the ears. Believing in oneself is of utmost significance.

four) “All My Life” Foo Fighters

five) “On the Road” Houndmouth 

six) “Hurt” Johnny Cash 

7) “That’s What’s Up” Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

eight)  “Back to the Wild” Langhorne Slim 

9) “Strawberry Wine” Deana Carter

10) “Ashokan Farewell” Jay Ungar and Molly Mason

A particular song can stand out from your thru-hike. Some have meaningful lyrics, other individuals a great beat to get you pumped up. When I produced it to Damascus, I could not have been a lot more proud of myself. It is one particular of these benchmarks exactly where you can say to oneself “ok, I can do this.” Practically a quarter of the way full, Damascus presents a possibility to take a breath, reflect, and appear forward. Staying at The Hostel in 2007, Baltimore Jack (R.I.P.) was hanging about, entertaining hikers. That evening even though, a cyclist biking across the nation occurred in to remain for the evening. She also occurred to have a violin. As she started busting out this tune all conversation stopped in the space. Pure silence except for the bow dancing back and forth across the strings. There was not a dry eye in the space.

Second Quarter: Damascus, Virginia – Halfway Point

 11) “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” The Proclaimers 

 12) “Sound and Color” Alabama Shakes

Prior to the Virginia Blues set in, take a moment to recognize the vibrant greens of summer season, the sound of rain against the rhododendron leaves. The mountain laurel pops and the miles maintain rolling on.

13) “Escapee” Architecture in Helsinki 

14) “Faithful Heights/Ramona” Evening Beds 

15) “S.O.B.” Nathaniel Rateliff

16) “My Mind’s Got a Thoughts of Its Own” Phish

17)  “Here I Go Again” Whitesnake

This one particular rings correct. No matter if ditching your crew mainly because you have got to make miles, or setting back out right after nursing an injury (physical ailment or self-inflicted). Crank this one particular and go get what’s yours. 

 18) “Don’t Quit Me Now” Queen 

19) “1000 Miles” Vanessa Carlton

No matter if you have observed White Chicks or not, the title is fairly clear. You have now walked 1,000 miles. Discover your closest hiking compadre and sync up the piano aspect with a head turn.

20) “Living on a Prayer” Bon Jovi

There’s a great possibility you will need to have a choose me up right after the Half Gallon Challenge. A stereotypical choose? Yes. A vital one particular? Yes.

Third Quarter: Halfway to Vermont

21) “Good as Hell” Lizzo

22) “Heart Like Mine” Hope Social Club 

23) “Push It” Salt-N-Pepa

There hasn’t been a mountain more than three,000 feet for weeks, but that does not imply the trail is effortless. Do not let that elevation profile fool you. You have nonetheless got to push it… true great.

24) “Hold On” Wilson Phillips 

No matter if you are a month and a half into your 3 month thru-hike, or 3 months into your six month thru-hike, this ballad rings correct. Performed effectively, you may well even win a talent show. 

25) “Sober” Childish Gambino 

26) “Against the Wind” Bob Seger

You may well not be yo-yoing across the nation like our boy Forrest Gump, but at occasions, you do really feel like you are operating against the wind. I’ll never ever overlook hiking late into dusk one particular day, and noticed the sun setting to my proper. Assuming the sun was nonetheless setting in the West, I grew furious about hiking south in spite of becoming on a northbound hike. My companion immediately reminded me “hey man, all the miles count the very same.” 

27) “Got to Be Real” Cheryl Lynn 

28) “That Summer” Garth Brooks

29) “Every Breath You Take” The Police

30) “The Shape I’m In” The Band

Fourth Quarter: Vermont to Katahdin

31) “Summer Love” Chairmen of the Board 

32) “If the Telephone Does not Ring, It is Me” Jimmy Buffet

It is funny how you assume of the beach when you are in the mountains, and vice versa. Do not let the Margaritaville legend fool you. When we hike, there’s typically individuals we leave behind.

33) “The Climb” Miley Cyrus 

34) “Is It Ever Gonna Be Easy” The Lone Bellow

By now, you have surely asked oneself this query. The reality of the predicament is no, no it is not. At least you can sing about it now rather of just screaming the random query to the Gods.

35) “Dreams” Van Halen 

36) “You Can Have the Crown/Some Days” Sturgill Simpson

The final 3 states of a northbound hike are like a rollercoaster of feelings. You can have your most epic day, and your definitely worse day in the very same damn day. The terrain is brutal, the climate unpredictable and your spirit can not waiver. Sturgill harnesses the great and the terrible, packaged neatly for you right here. 

37) “Lonesome” Dr. Dog 

38) “High Steppin’” The Avett Brothers 

39) “The Day is Coming” My Morning Jacket 

40) “The Scientist” Coldplay

I’ve expressed my feelings right here. Catching glimpses of Katahdin from days away, receiving closer and closer as it seems larger and larger. It is challenging to think you have arrived. As preposterous as it might look, I would like to go back to the start out. Please, take me back to the start out


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