The Appalachian Trail made the news across the media channels in Atlanta last week when the U.S. Forest Service closed a section of the trail from Jarrard Gap to Neels Gap near Dahlonega, GA. Persistent bear activity caused the trail closure in a section of trail that is heavily used by both day hikers and overnight backpackers around Blood Mountain. My first thought was of the 2011 thru-hikers that had just started out and who were now making their way from Georgia to Maine. Would they follow the mandatory trail closure or push on across Blood Mountain so as not to miss a section of the Trail?
In the end, it didn’t matter because the Forest Service closed the section solely for overnight camping – but what would you do if you were a thru-hiker? Would you skip the section or push through?