Virtually Hike the Appalachian Trail With This App

The app even has a bit of friendly competition built into it so you can get alerted when a friend "passes" you on the trail.

While we've been staying safely at home to help flatten the curve of the coronavirus, many of us have been looking for creative ways to be active. Some of us have turned to dance parties in our living room. Others have done vinyasa flows galore on Yoga with Adriene on YouTube. Many of us have taken a bubble bath and called it a day (hey, reaching onto our bath caddy for another piece of chocolate must burn calories, right?).

Rhododendrons Bloom on Roan Mountain
Getty Images / Malcolm MacGregor

Now it's time to conquer the Appalachian Trail—virtual edition. As we learned from a recent article from Lonely Planet, the WalkTheDistance app for the iPhone and iPad is a great way to log your walks right now. First things first, you should only walk practicing proper social distancing measures of staying at least six feet away from others and while wearing a cloth face mask if necessary, per the CDC guidelines. Of course, if you're feeling under-the-weather, you're in quarantine after being in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus, or your doctor has advised you to stay at home, don't head out for a walk. In short, when in doubt, stay home.

Now, should you be able to access the great outdoors with adequate social distancing and/or want to walk around your home or yard or on a treadmill, the WalkTheDistance app is for you. Get ready to build some fun and friendly competition into the wonderful world of strolling. "Use your daily walking/running distance recorded from the Health app towards the Appalachian Trail. See other users completing the same route, and don't let them pass you!" as the app's description in the Apple Store puts it. Indeed, the app makes it easy to track your own progress and also add friends to "walk" with so you can track their status and see if they pass you as well as challenge yourself to stay at the head of the pack. "WalkTheDistance uses your walking/running distance (daily steps) tracked automatically in the Health app and puts that data to good use, by showing you how far you would be if you were walking the Appalachian Trail, Boston Marathon, or other featured routes in cities and national parks around the world." What a neat way to measure your mileage during this difficult time. Who's ready to download the app and join us?

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On the beautiful day when we can all resume to life as normal, it's safe to say that after all those laps logged around home, this couch potato may very well celebrate with a trip to walk a portion of the Appalachian Trail. No virtual reality or app necessary.

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