NJ was the worst for black bears. Shennandoah Nat'l Parks second. Smokies too. Places with bears that haven't been hunted in over a hundred years.
I did most of the AT about 20 years ago. Missed the Smokies and Maine north of Avery Peak (~Rte 27).
It's a great time, Trail is actually fairly easy south of NH. It was fun to listen to hikers complain about how steep it was in the first hundred or so miles. I kept thinking 'Wait until you get to the White Mtns in NH
Some parts are really boring. Others awesome.
I think about doing it again. At 75 years old and a long hiking season (March thru September) I bet I could do it. I thought about the pacific crest trail but I was in my fifties back then. You need really high mileage days and carrly a heavy pack, not so many re-supply places. The season is only about 3 - 3.5 months long because you can't get past Kennedy Meadows because of snow (clears mid-june IIRC), and have to get to Canada before it snows.
Don't know about now, but teh CDT was brutal back then so I never considered it. A good portion unmarked, few people on the trail, and scant re-supply options, No way I'd do it at my age. I suppose it would be a bit easy route finding now, though. GPSs are much better than they were.
I;m actually thinking more of a pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago, going from France near Switzerland (Le Puy en Velay) to Santiago Spain atlantic coast. Been working on learning French and Spanish with the Camino on my mind.
If I don't get off my ass, though, I'll be took old to do anything except take a cab