40 Days to Launch

My Beginnings

Here I go again. I am a wanna-be professional hiker. Starting back in Middle School, my friend asked me to hike with her illustrious family of misfits.  Honestly, I had never backpacked a day in my life, yet I was heading to Colorado to hike the Purgatory Trail.  Adorning a pack, was absolutely unheard of to me. With all the necessary gear on my back, off I went.

After ten days in the mountains, and the intense weather Mother Nature could throw at our motley group, I was hooked! This catapulted my lifelong passion of wandering off into the woods. I truly found something that I didn’t even know I was missing.

Wanderlust or Nomadic

Fast-forward some 40 plus years, I am still heading into the backwoods and disappearing for weeks, if not months at a time. There is something that calls me to wanderlust. As I took part in the Ancestory.com craze, I found an unknown link to Nomadic people. I relate as I am a bit odd, hairy, enjoy sleeping outdoors and traveling by foot. On top of that, my blood type is B Positive, which supposedly enables me to transport more oxygen. Bottom line, God designed me perfectly to backpack!

Why the Appalachian Trail

This is the year I am heading east. Being a California Girl, I have done the majority of my backpacking in the Western United States, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, Wonderland Trail, John Muir Trail, Colorado Trail, West Coast Trail, you get the picture. But this year, I am hitting the Appalachian Trail (AT). Why is a good question? Honestly I was avoiding the AT for many reasons. Mostly for the logistics; it’s a long ways from home. I don’t like snakes, and frankly tics freak me out! Yet there is something appealing about mud, muck, rain and a wilder side. I love weather of all sorts and actually look forward to a good soaking. No doubt I will eat those words, but for now, bring it on!

In Forty days, I will be stepping out on the longest “hiking only” footpath in the world! That’s remarkable, exciting, and downright nerve-racking. So the next few weeks will be a flurry of decisions. What will I pack, what can I eliminate and truly how much food do I really plan to eat? The list goes on and my mind is overwhelmed. But in the end, this is truly what I was made for. Appalachian Trail here I come.

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Comments 4

  • Angie : Mar 3rd

    I look forward to reading about your adventures on the AT!

    • Kelly Baraga : Mar 3rd

      Thanks Angie. I cannot wait to be in Georgia. Look forward to this newest adventure.

  • Dave : Mar 5th

    Don’t over think it Kelly…you are far more experienced than most. As a deep woods backpacker/hunter (all over Colorado and the John Muir…. California boy myself) I am envious of your time and commitment…..and I’m with you on the ticks….snakes are ok. Good luck Kelly I’ll have to live vicariously through you on your journey.

    • Kelly Baraga : Mar 7th

      Thanks Dave. I am so looking forward to this crazy adventure back east! Much to do before I head out. I am fortunate to have a guy at home who will support me while I’m out galavanting! Many blessings to you…


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