A Thank You Letter to the Online Trail Community
Dear strangers that I have never met,
Thank you. You have helped me plan for this trail in ways I didn’t even know existed. I have learned so much through groups, forums, and the community that the Appalachian Trail encompasses. After years of research and planning, I feel close to people I have only virtually met. Who knew that just because these people have mentioned and informed the internet of why they packed certain items or did certain things a specific way would have a profound effect on me? I sure didn’t. I feel I am not alone in this journey because anything I will encounter, someone else has already been there and had that experience. I don’t feel dumb asking a potentially obvious question to these groups (I am that person that puts 2+2 into a calculator JUST to make sure). I confide in these groups for comfort and guidance when I am feeling stressed. I’ve trusted you more than people I know who have tried to give me unsolicited advice. I trust the alumni of the trail who are sharing their tips and tricks for the newcomers who are about to walk in their path. You’ve all helped me in ways I can never repay. The relief and weight off my shoulders in knowing I am carrying all the right gear is not going unnoticed. Having your life essentially on your back, you care about what is in your pack. It’s so helpful to have vast amounts of research at my fingertips to help me along the way. This trail seems possible and not as scary due to the information that I have been able to gain from the hiker community. Thank you again you kind and generous strangers. AT 2021, here I come!
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