White Blaze

White Blaze

2″ x 6″. White paint. This simple white blaze is found painted on countless thousands of tree trunks at infrequent distances all throughout the 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail, from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Katahdin in Maine. It signifies the path of the Appalachian Trail.

Trails were originally marked by hatchet chops, but as people become more ecologically conscious alternative methods were derived. In rockier parts of the world you’ll find the use of cairns common, but on the Appalachian Trail the white blaze is the common marker.

Other blazes are found adjacent on the Appalachian Trail, some visible and others figurative. Blue blazes for side trails and water. Pink blazes. The infamous brown blaze. And my favorite, the amber blaze.

From the official Appalachian Trail guide:

A blaze is a two- by six-inch vertical rectangle of paint in a prominent place along a trail. White-paint blazes mark the Appalachian Trail itself. Side trails and intersecting trails use blue blazes or other colors. Two blazes, one above the other, signal an obscure turn, route change, incoming side trail, or other situation that requires you to be especially alert. Where offset double blazes are used, turn in the direction of the top blaze.

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