We used to go by our trail names - Brahma Bull and Sweet Potato - and those were the days we would sit atop our Thermarests after hiking 18.2 miles and agree with a Zen-like and dirty-fingernailed motion toward the trees that 'walking distance' was a relative term. Now that we shower regularly, brew coffee every morning using electricity, and are unable to confuse our names with either vegetables or animals, we know. Walking distance really is about half a mile.
Two young adventurists set out with probably too much gear and lots of moleskin to conquer their fears on a footpath from Georgia to Maine. Come the rain on bombproof tent, the unlaceable boot and the black fly; bring the mouseless shelter, the wifi-accessible trail town, the dry socks and the dog-friendly B&B; lo the blazing sunsets, the drinkable streams, the indifferent black bears and the breathtaking vistas: we are hiking the Appalachian Trail.