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Hike The Appalachian Trail At Work!

Hi folks, I’m part of the “social” committee at work and I recently had the opportunity to combine my love of the Appalachian Trail with encouraging my coworkers to walk laps during their breaks. I’ll walk you through how I did it (pun intended) and encourage you to do something similar at your job.

Step 1

Map out a nearby area for coworkers to walk laps and measure the hiking distance. You can use Google Maps to get a screenshot of your place of business then use Microsoft Paint to add the marker highlighting the path.

Here’s an example:

Lap Map

Each lap in the map above is roughly 0.5 miles, so walk the lap twice and you’ve completed a mile.

Step 2

Give participants a way to submit how many laps or miles they complete daily. I created an entry form for people to go online and submit their laps. Other options could be to create a Google sheet for people to enter their laps directly themselves or have them email you directly to track in an Excel spreadsheet.

Here’s an example:

Laps Add

Step 3

Now that you have a map and a way for people to add their laps it’s time to tell everyone about the event! If you’re not sure how to communicate it feel free to borrow or adjust the template below:

“Dust off those boots and lace ‘em up because we’re hitting the Appalachian Trail as a team! Get some exercise during your breaks by walking the map below. Each lap is 0.5 miles. The Appalachian Trail runs 2,185.9 miles from Springer Mountain Georgia to Mount Katahdin Maine. Each day I’ll plot a point on the trail that represents how far we’ve walked as a (YOUR BUSINESS NAME HERE) family.  Can we finish the trail???”

Be sure to tell them how to keep track of their laps. Like I mentioned above, you can have them track it online through a web form or have them send laps directly to you and track in a spreadsheet.

Step 4

As the laps start coming in send out a daily update as to your overall progress in miles. I did this by sending out an email pretending I was writing in a trail journal. I’d also include a map with our progress as well as a picture of something along that section of the trail such as a shelter, a small town it passed through, or even a privy! Be sure to convert laps to miles. For us, two laps meant someone hiked one mile on the trail.

Here’s an example:

Update

Step 5

To help you craft your email I have a couple of resources for you.

  • The first resource is an Appalachian Trail distance calculator. When you total up your miles each day visit https://traildistance.com/ to find a key point along the trail reasonably close to your total distance.

In the example email above we had reached 1,075 miles as a group. I’d then visit the calculator and scroll down on the right side until I found something close to this mileage. As you can see below, 1,074.8 is really close so I mentioned the Rocky Mountain Shelters in my email. I then searched online for Rocky Mountain Shelters to find a picture I could include in the email. If you’re a handful of miles away from the nearest point of interest that’s OK. Just pick one you’d like to highlight in an email.Mileage

  • The second resource you’ll need is an interactive map of the Appalachian Trail which can be found here.

Piggybacking on the example above, I searched for Rocky Mountain and the interactive map suggested the A.T. Shelter in the drop down list shown below.

Map1

I then clicked Rocky Mountain listed in the drop down and it popped up the location on the trail with an info box. I zoomed out to the longer trail for the image below.

Map2

See those three little dots that I circled in red? Click the dots and select “Add a marker”. It makes the big info box disappear and replaces it with a smaller marker to show your location on the trail. This is a personal preference so feel free to pick the one that works best for you.

Map3

Step 6

You have all the resources you need. Now you just need to follow through and encourage others! It took us about two and half months to complete the entire trail. My final email to everyone was below. Good luck and if you end up doing this please leave a comment to let me know how it went!

Katahdin

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