On a sunny and warm Saturday, March 28, approximately one thousand people gathered in Naturtejo Geopark, Portugal to officially launch GR38 - Grande Roto Do Muradal-Pangeia as the newest section of the Trilho Internacional dos Apalaches.
GR38 - Grande Roto Do Muradal-Pangeia / Trilho Internacional dos Apalaches Map (Click to enlarge)
Joining the crowd were Geopark President Armindo Jacinto, Oleiros Municipal President Fernando Marques Jorge, Turismo Centro Portugal President Pedro Machado, Naturtejo Geopark Geologist and IAT Portugal President Carlos Carvalho, Canadian Counsellor and Consul David Marion, IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol, and IAT Spain President Ruth Hernandez.
After opening ceremonies at the Idanha-a-Nova town square
Naturtejo Geopark President Armindo Moreira Palma Jacinto addresses the crowd
Clockwise from top left, Turismo Centro Portugal President Pedro Machado, Oleiros Tourism and Culture Director Paulo Urbano, Oleiros Municipal President Fernando Marques Jorge, Naturtejo Geopark Geologist and IAT Portugal President Carlos Carvalho, Canadian Counsellor and Consul David A. Marion, and IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol
Some of those gathered for the launch of IAT Portugal
the crowd - which was supplied with IAT Portugal branded hats and walking sticks - walked to the nearby trail in the Portuguese Appalachians.
Once at the trail, they were met by a stone age acting troupe
(Click to Enlarge)
who urged them on with primitive grunts and the incessant sound of traditional drum beats.
The crowd was so large, that a continuous ribbon of hikers shuffled up the first hill at a grocery checkout pace.
Hikers climb the first hill at the GR38 - IAT Portugal Launch (Click to Enlarge)
At the base of the hill, a signpost points the way to L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland (the northern terminus of the IAT in North America) and Springer Mountain, Georgia, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail (AT) in the United States. It is one of 140 that marks the new trail.
(L-R) IAT Portugal President Carlos Carvalho, Canadian Counsellor and Consul to Portugal
David Marion, IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol, and IAT Spain President Ruth Hernandez
Below the signpost is a description of the 1502 Cantino Planisphere and the Portuguese role in the exploration of North America.
1502 Cantino Planisphere and description of Portuguese exploration of North America (Click to Enlarge)
Once on top of the first hill, the crowd began to spread out along a quartzite ridge crowned with large trees
which provides good views of the surrounding landscape.
Launch organizer Inês Martins enjoying the trail and view
Interpretive panels are strategically located to help walkers understand the Appalachian landscape they are walking over and viewing.
Once across the first mountain, the trail descends into a tree-lined valley with small waterfalls and refreshing pool.
Group of hikers relaxing at the falls and pool
It then crosses a well-built wooden bridge
and follows an old farmer's path down the valley
with nice rear views of the landscape just traversed.
Soon the trail enters the small village of Vilar Barroco
where on the day of the launch, main street was transformed into a large free open-air cafeteria to feed the hungry hikers.
The trail then winds past rustic animal pens,
stone walls and olive groves
on the way up and out of town.
Soon the trail provides spectacular views of the quartzite ridges and faults that form Portugal's Appalachian Mountains
before directing hikers to turn north and make the final ascent to the top.
Once again the trail follows a tree-lined ridge
with nice views of the surrounding hills and valleys.
View of the Serra da Estrela and its 1,991m (6,532ft) summit Torre, the highest peak in mainland Portugal
Finally, the trail descends to the small town of Orvalho
where the official IAT Portugal Launch ended with a nightime feast and revelry!
For more sights and sounds of the IAT Portugal Launch, view the IAT Flickr Slideshow
then watch the official video!
Inauguração do Trilho Internacional dos Apalaches-GR38
The 2014 spring edition of the Appalachian Long Dstance Hikers Association (ALDHA) newsletter is now on the cyber newsstands! It includes news about the feature presenter at this year's ALDHA Gathering, an update on the search party going out this month to look for Geraldine Largay in Maine, a look at a new long-distance trail from its first thru-hikers, a picture profile of McAfee's Knob and a review of the new biography of Grandma Gatewood.
Fantastic video coverage of the IAT Ireland launch in Omagh and long-distance hiker Cottonjoe Norman (accompanied by IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol) setting out from Sliabh Liag on the first day of his IAT Ireland-Scotland thru-hike! A good chance to test your Irish Gaelic!
The long-standing Northern Ireland walking trail will become part of the International Appalachian Trail. "The official launch of what has been termed its new “dual-branding” will be at the end of the month, at the Appalachian and Bluegrass Festival in Omagh.
The International Appalachian Trail is named after the trail which traverses the Appalachian mountains running across the eastern states of the USA. The international element includes stretches of walking routes in Canada and Scandinavia, with plans to extend it into Iberia too."
On June 28-29, 2013, IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol and IATNL member Ryan Oxford guided a group of Boy Scouts and their leaders from Millbrook, Ontario on a two-day trek of the IATNL North Arm Traverse. The adventure began in Cox's Cove with a one-hour boat ride by True North Charters & Tours across Middle and North Arms of the Bay of Islands to Stowbridge's Cove at the base of North Arm Hill.
From June 21-22, Parks Canada, IATNL, and Ocean Quest Adventures presented the second annual Art & Adventure Festival in Gros Morne National Park. The 2-day event included a fine art exhibit at the park's Discovery Center in Woody Point, nightly entertainment, and half-day hikes on the western side of the park.
On the evening of May 15, 2013, IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol and IATNL executive member Delano Pittman set off in an open boat across chilly and windswept Parsons Pond on their way to Western Brook Gulch to continue work on the Devil's Bite Trail.
Rising early the next day, they hiked a round trip of 13 kms (8 miles) to reach the worksite at the inside valley, where the trail climbs a scree field to the only exit out of the gulch.
A group of approximately forty scientists, artists, writers, and natural resource professionals representing government, non-government, recreation, and business organizations descended on Shin Pond Village, Maine to attend the Annual Meeting of the Maine Chapter of the International Appalachian Trail (MCIAT).
Newfoundland, colloquially "The Rock," is a geological paradise for its coastal rock exposures. These are the "smoking guns" for the Appalachian model outlined in this account. The axiom "the truth lies in the rocks" fully applies to the Appalachian Orogen in Newfoundland.
Share this compilation of the early history of the IAT.
Dick Anderson called Don Hudson on Friday evening, October 15, 1993 and asked him to meet him at the old Front Street Deli in Bath, Maine: "I can't tell you anything about it until tomorrow morning!" .... And, what a great time it has been ever since!!
On the beautiful autumn day of October 30, IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol, IATNL Vice Chair Arne Helgeland, and Signage Director Delano Pittman entered Serpentine Valley to continue work on the Lewis Hills Trail, the final stage of the new IATNL UltramaTrex.
This one-week trek provides access to all four of Western Newfoundland's ophiolites, characterized by the rust-colored ultramafic, peridotite.
On August 1, 2012, IAT Maine Chapter Board members Walter Anderson, Will Richard, Dick Anderson and Don Hudson had the opportunity to host a dinner in Freeport , Maine, for Lis Mortensen, IAT Coordinator for the Faroe Islands.
Prince Edward Island is one of the friendliest places in North America according to a man who has walked here from Florida. Warren Renninger hates to say good bye to the Island, but he’s pushing on for Cape Breton and Newfoundland over the weekend as he continues a walk that has eaten up four pairs of sneakers and will take an entire year to complete.
While most people think twice about walking to the store, Renninger has logged in an astounding 7,000 kilometres since leaving the Keys of the Sunshine State last November.
A group of 7 from Uummannaq, Greenland is walking on the IAT in Maine, having traversed the IAT in northern Greenland earlier this summer. Here they are at the Katahdin Lake trailhead in Baxter State Park, having climbed up and over Katahdin earlier in the day (Thursday, July 12). René Kristensen (left), the coordinator of IAT Greenland, is leading the group.
In July 2012, the Associated Press reported on the June IAT AGM in Reykjavik, Iceland.
"Organizers of an extension of the Appalachian Trail that spans two and will eventually link three continents are making progress stitching together the pieces of a long pathway. At least symbolically, they've united North America and Europe through the International Appalachian Trail. Representatives of the countries that are part of the trail held their first annual meeting outside of North America last month."
IAT Founder Richard Anderson and IAT Maine President Don Hudson recently returned from a visit to Alabama's Pinhoti Trail to explore possible IAT membership. Read Justin Brimer's account of this "Miniature Appalachian Trail" on the online Alabama Outdoors Magazine.
On Tuesday, July 5 New Brunswick resident Charles McNair began his "Journey of Hope" to raise awareness for the rebuilding of Haiti and the sacrifice made by NB RCMP officer Mark Gallagher, who lost his life while serving there during the 2010 earthquake. A vocational school is being built in his memory.
Charles plans to walk the IAT south from the Northern Terminus at Crow Head, Newfoundland
through Nova Scotia, PEI, and Quebec, before returning home to New Brunswick.