It's been a while since I've posted, but I still think constantly about the AT in 2007! I've been doing a few day hikes and just this past weekend, discovered some major difficulty with one knee. So I am endeavoring to strengthen it with a few resources I have (some Sports Medicine books), getting into a routine of exercises, etc. I am also walking as much as is feasible on the days I can't hit the trail. If I need to resort to a neoprene brace, I will, but for now, I hope the exercises will help. That and taking some weight off the old thighs wouldn't hurt!
I was able to visit one of the major stops along the AT - the famous Harper's Ferry a few weeks back and enjoyed being one of only ten people in the entire town! Unfortunately the outfitter there was closed, but I did hike up to the ATC center along with my son and checked out some of the materials they have. I also picked up last year's copy of the AT Data Book for some section hikes we plan to do this spring. It is our hope to cover the section of the trail between Front Royal and Harper's Ferry. Then we will have completed the trail between McCormick Gap in SNP to Harper's Ferry and can then skip that section on the thru-hike next year. We want to make sure we have enough time to get to Katahdin before October. And I need the time for a short vacation off the trail next year - specifically to Hawaii - which is a condition I agreed to! :)
Just to add - the ATC or Appalachian Trail Conservancy is a great place to find materials and support if one is interested in hiking the trail. They also have a web site with a wealth of information available, as well as deals on last year's printed material (and yes, another book I can memorize!).