Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The Appalachian Trail
This past Aug 31st marked the 3rd anniversary of the completion of my thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail- 2,174 miles on foot from Georgia to Maine, starting on March 1st from Georgia. I decided to take a semester out of college to hike it. That would explain why I'm in school for one extra. I see my friends, with whom I was supposed to graduate, with heading off to grad school and on their own adventures and of course I'm jealous- but the I think of what my life would be like without having hiked the AT. I can't even begin to imagine it.
I can honestly say that I have thought about my thru-hike every single day since I finished it. It will always be an unwavering source of inspiration and motivation. How ironic that it could sometimes be dangerous.
The good thing about thru-hiking the AT is that afterward, you pretty much feel like you can do anything. Thats also the bad thing.
I hiked the entire AT in a single pair of sandals- I never wore shoes, not once. I carried minimal clothing during the colder months and spent several restess nights close to hypothermia. Its funny how the mind sometimes forgets how hard the hardships were. So now even when its 10 degrees out and there's 5 inches of fresh snow on the ground and I want to go for a hike, I always grab my sandals. I think, "Hell, I thru hiked the whole AT, I can go for short walk in the snow with my trusty chacos." My feet inevitable get uncomfortably cold and then I think " Ahh, shit that's right- that part of my hike where I was postholing through snow in sandals SUCKED!"
If you've ever thought about thru-hiking a long trail, stop thinking about it and do it. The number one (by far) comment I get from people when the subject comes up is "Thats great you decided to do it now, I wish I had done it before I a) blew out my knee b) got married c) had kids d) started a career" etc etc.. besides, a career is just a job that you've had for way to long.
Hiking the AT opened a huge window in my life, one of perspective and opportunity. So now I'm planning other adventures: A Trans America bicycle trip (May '10), and the Pacific Crest Trail somewhere close by.
So work your ass off once in a while for food money, its your only expense. Footprints are free.