99 Things I Am Thankful For After Completing A Thru-Hike

After living on the Appalachian Trail for seven months with only basic necessity, I am beginning to see things a little more clearly. I have a newfound sense of gratitude for the very fact of my life. This year I’ve decided to write a list of the things I am grateful for. I encourage you to do the same and please feel free to share what you’re thankful for; whether in the comments or at the dinner table on Thursday.

So here goes, in no particular order, this is what I am thankful for…

  1. Fresh air
  2. Clean water
  3. Water filters and Aquamira
  4. My health
  5. The ability to walk, hike, and climb mountains
  6. Trail Angels
  7. Wanderlust
  8. Dreamers and Visionaries of the trail; Benton MacKaye and everyone else involved
  9. National Park and Public Land protectors: Roosevelt, Wilson, and Pinchot, to name a few
  10. The Appalachian Trail Conservancy for their dedication to protecting the trail
  11. Appalachian Long Distance Hikers Association for connecting hikers
  12. Trail clubs and maintainers
  13. Bob Peoples for Hardcore rock work, switchbacks and Kincora Hostel
  14. AWOL for making the Thru-Hikers Guidebook
  15. Zach Davis for writing “Appalachian Trials: A Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Hiking The Appalachian Trail”
  16. All the informative books and blogs about the AT
  17. Storytellers and the written word in general
  18. Darn Tough socks
  19. Goretex boots
  20. Trekking poles
  21. Lightweight innovative hiking gear
  22. Hot showers
  23. Soap
  24. Clean laundry
  25. Having clothes beyond one pair worn day after day
  26. Plumbing      hiker-hostel
  27. Electricity
  28. Heat and A/C
  29. Music
  30. The calm serenity of Nature
  31. The powerful force of Nature
  32. Biological diversity
  33. The Conservation of Land
  34. Learning to be happy without material possessions
  35. Understanding what it really means to be hungry and thirsty
  36. Fresh fruit and vegetables
  37. Home cooked meals
  38. Ice cream
  39. Coffee
  40.  Chocolate
  41. Global trade for allowing me to have coffee and chocolate
  42. Wine, beer, and whiskey
  43. Pizza
  44. All you can eat buffets
  45. Really just ALL FOOD!!!
  46. Bridges; especially after challenging river fords
  47. Hiker shuttles
  48. Hiker hostels
  49. Comfortable places to rest (beds, pillows, blankets)
  50. Miss Janet for being the matriarch of our Tramily and for her unconditional love and support
  51. My camera for capturing thousands of images
  52. My notebooks for recording the details
  53. My memory for containing pictures taken with my heart
  54. Freedom
  55. Laughter; for counting smiles instead of miles
  56. My trail family…Studmuffin, Misty Pony, Weatherman, Tieg, Turtle, Flea…and all the rest. I love you.
  57. My family and friends off trail…Ashley, Agatha, Sierra…and all the rest. I love you.
  58. Sunrise; for each new day
  59. Sunset; for a chance to rest
  60. Nights that are dark enough to see the stars
  61. Summits at sunrise
  62. Summits at sunset
  63. Campfires     
  64. Forest fire fighters
  65. Search and rescue teams
  66. WiFi
  67. Cell phones with reliable service and GPS
  68. Amtrack Trains for getting us to Georgia
  69. To Nana and Pap for sending maildrops
  70. USPS for delivering maildrops
  71. To my nephew, Anthony for bringing us home from Maine
  72. For having a “backyard” that stretches over 2,000 miles
  73. Realizing no matter where I go I am home
  74. Adrenaline
  75. Endorphins
  76. Hot sauce
  77. Company when I am lonely
  78. Solitude when I need Peace and quiet
  79. Realizing I can achieve my dreams when I stay the course
  80. Purist hikers that refuse to yellow blaze
  81. Baltimore Jack for his advice and encouragement
  82. Grandma Gatewood for her endurance and inspiration
  83. The feeling I get when I look back at my time on the trail
  84. The driving desire I have to get back out on the trail
  85. The strength and endurance i mustered to make it through
  86. For being raised by an incredibly strong and stubborn woman
  87. For living in the moment without being daunted by the past or worried and anxious about the future
  88. To followers of Leave No Trace principles
  89.  To the inspiration nature provides me to keep taking photographs
  90. To the inspiration adventure provides to keep writing stories
  91. The release of feeling like I have to control everything
  92. Falling leaves
  93. Shedding burdens
  94. For the reflection and hibernation that Winter provides
  95. For the promise of Spring
  96. For realizing what a great gift life is
  97. To all the Thru-Hikers that came before me
  98. To all the Thru-Hikers that will follow

And finally 99, I am thankful for having so much to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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