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Scott Jurek

Hikers behaving badly: Appalachian Trail partying raises ire

When Jackson Spencer set out to tackle the Appalachian Trail, he anticipated the solitude that only wilderness can bring — not a rolling, monthslong frat party. Shelters where he thought he could catch a good night's sleep while listening to the sounds of nature were instead filled with trash, graffiti and people who seemed more interested in partying all night, said Spencer, who finished the entire trail last month in just 99 days. "I wanted the solitude. I wanted to experience nature," he said. "I like to drink and to have a good time, but I didn't want that to follow me there." Spencer, or "Mission" as he is known to fellow thru-hikers,...