Everyone likes bragging rights of some kind or another. When I was a kid, it was how far beyond the bottom of the sledding hill could you go. In Scouts, it was how fast could you tie the basic 6 knots or who could belch the loudest. The AT presents a string of challenges as well for bragging rights. I've searched out a handful. Honestly, I'd love to brag this is a complete list be ready to be mildly disappointed some of these items are easy in concept but truthfully how many can say... they did that.
I've tried to get these in some order of location and category of distance, an activity, the food. With distances try to not to take a zero (a day off from hiking) after wards for bonus points. After all why rush a section only to recover after wards, why not keep the momentum going? Also with distance challenges if you do them separately you get bonus points around the campfire. With food challenges please beware of your body, if you can't eat something look for an alternative or cheer on those trying.
Speed Hike to Damascus challenge. If one is in reach of Damascus VA for Trail Days, pump up the volume, burn a few more calories, and get to the party. Refueling is plentiful and one can start bragging of completing this challenge immediately.
50 miler challenge. It can be done anywhere along the trail. The idea is to hike 50 miles with minimal breaks. It can be combined with other distance challenges.
The Roller Coaster challenge. This isn't an official challenge but, it is one I'd like to bring in. There is a section in Virginia that is about 13 miles of regular ups and downs know as the Roller Coaster. The challenge is simple hike it in one day.
The 30 Days of Virginia. Since Virginia is contains the greatest number of miles for any state on the AT (500) to avoid the Virginia Blues some under take completing the state in under 30 days. An exception to this is if you grab a few days for Trail Days.
The 4 State challenge. Hike from the State of Virginia to Pennsylvania in one continuous hiking day. The mental midway point of the AT is Harper's Ferry WV and the ATC head quarters. At the ATC remember to stop, get your picture taken, and grab a shower before continuing on. PS at the ATC you're only half way done for the day.
The State of Connecticut. Hike this state in one continuous hiking day. This challenge can be combined with other distance challenges.
The 24 hour challenge. Hike continuously for 24 short rest breaks are acceptable. This can be completed with other distance challenges. The one with the most number of miles covered in give period gets added bragging rights. I understand by the time one hits VA they're in hiking shape and will under take it within the first bit of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Hike Naked Day challenge. Okay, almost naked if you're not sure of yourself. This is to, well, hike in the buff except for your turtle shell for the day of Summer Equinox (June 21 this year). If you must grab some foliage to cover up quickly please don't grab some poison ivy like one fella did a few years back.
Jump from the James River Bridge. Sounds easy enough, jump from a bridge. Since jumping from the wrong bridge can be meet unhealthy ends or arrest, check with the locals first. I may pass.
Moon the Cog challenge. This is rather sketchy to do now. In recent years barring your naked skinny backside to the populaces of tourists on the Cog Train bound for the top of Mount Washington has resulted in a few arrests. I'm thinking of writing 'feed me' on my bellie and seeing if this results in gaindering of treats at the top would be more appropriate.
Now thus I shift into food. I'm hungry now after writing for an hour, I ponder how much more so will I be on the trail.
Franklin Fast Food challenge. This is more then likely to be the first food challenge of the AT and is one of many involving the elusive calorie. In Franklin TN, dine on an item from every fast food join in town. Now to my understanding there's more then a handful of 'em and I am not sure if it's like fries from one place, a burger from the next, a cookie from another. I'm thinking it's a burger from each.
Value Menu challenge. Formerly known as the Dollar Menu challenge the name is changing as few places actually have $1.00 menus any more. Stop into a name brand chain, order one of everything, and dine. Congratulations on achieving carnivore like hunger if you make it on the first try. Bonus points if you do this early on the hike. Subtract points if in the last half of the hike.
The Egg challenge. I wish I could find out more about this one. I presume it involves eating the most number of hard boiled eggs in one sitting. However, it does sound like the game 'chubby bunnies' where you stuff your mouth with marshmallows until you can't say 'chubby bunnies' any more. The location is presumed to be in Virginia.
The Pancake challenge. Since hikers dream about eating and devour everything off a buffet why not add this to the plate. In Williamsburg VA at the breakfast place order up the pancakes. Again, I wish I knew more, I love pancakes more then popcorn.
1/2 Gallon challenge. In Pine Grove State Park PA stop at
A Gallon of Milk challenge. Drink a gallon of milk in half an hour and keep it down for half an hour. Location unknown. I know I'm passing on this one already. I haven't drunk even a cup of milk in years. If I tried this one I'm sure my trail name would change to the 'White Fountain' at least temporarily.
There's the list I've found. If you know how to fill the missing info send me a message. I'm not sure if I'll take on more then a handful. The greatest challenge after getting to the AT will be completing it.