T-minus: 1 day

So, here I am. Sitting in the lodge at the base of the approach trail. Everything is insanely surreal right now.
On Saturday, I graduated with a BFA in Graphic and Interactive Design, with minors in Marketing and Art History. Yesterday, my dad and I completed the 15 hour drive from PA to GA.
Tomorrow morning, I will be starting my long awaited thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

I am filled with a lot of emotions right now. Fear, anxiety, and excitement to name a few.

During the course of my hike, I am going to be experiencing a lot of big things: it will be the longest amount of time I have ever spent away from home. Potentially the longest time I have ever spent away from my family (….and my dog). This will be the first time that I will be absent from the annual family vacation. I will miss my sister’s first day of high school. It will be the first summer in almost five years that I won’t be a part of an Ultimate Frisbee team, and the first summer of my life where I won’t touch the ocean.

But despite all that, this hike will be the biggest thing I have ever accomplished. I have never had to plan out (and save up) for something this large before, and that is exciting as hell.

Although my hike hasn’t even started yet, I am very proud of the fact that I was able to save up more than a few grand, purchase all the gear needed, and plan out all foreseeable factors that could happen in 2,189 miles. No matter what the trail brings me, I consider all that I have done so far to be a huge accomplishment.

However, as with all big accomplishments, I could not have gotten this far alone. And it simply wouldn’t be fair to start my hike without thanking these wonderful people who have helped me along the way:

My parents: thank you for letting me follow my dreams, even though they may make you a nervous wreck. Thank you for wanting to be a part of this adventure in every way possible, and thank you for sharing your love of the outdoors with me.

My friends, roommates, and sorority sisters: thank you for letting me talk your ears off 24/7 about trees, hiking, and taking pictures of all of it. You guys were always there to share my blog posts on Facebook, and help me pick out what color the shirt I will be wearing for the next 5 months should be.

My boyfriend, James: You are amazing for letting me drag you all up and down the east coast in the name of hiking. Thank you for being the best hiking buddy a girl could ask for, for always posing in photographs, and for letting me call you at 3am when I am having a crisis over what gear to buy.

Zach Davis: Thank you for giving me a wonderful public forum to share my adventure with others, for being the biggest supporter of everyone in the Turbo Troop, and for just flat out being awesome. Seriously, you have played a big part in making this dream a reality and I can’t thank you enough.

My beloved readers, subscribers, fellow Appalachian Trials bloggers, and the rest of the AT class of 2016: Thank you for making me feel a lot less crazy for wanting to live in the woods for a few months. You guys are all the best and I hope to be able to hike along side as many of you as possible while we’re out there!

Tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow, two years of planning and working my butt off finally pay off. Tomorrow my adventure begins, and I am beyond excited.

Happy hiking!

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Comments 1

  • Lindsay Strause : May 9th

    Thanks for making me bawl my eyes out while reading this post. Have an amazing time tomorrow and for the next 5 months! I can’t wait to hear all about it! You are one of the strongest and bravest people I know and I have so much faith in you Coll, go kill it on the AT.


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