AT 11: The End Of A 9 Month Journey! “MD & WV”
“Photos & a compilation video for the end of our hike follow this update”
The moment I stepped off the Appalachian Trail onto the blue blaze trail that leads to the ATC headquarters I knew life would never be the same. The reality that the trail was over is essentially a brick wall you run into face first. Nothing can prevent it, but it comes nonetheless. Many emotions flow throughout you on a daily basis, some good and some bad, but none compare to that day.
A 9 Month Journey
From 3/19/17 – 12/14/17 the AT was my life. A beautiful part of my life. The most amazing and difficult thing I have ever accomplished. The best and worst thing that ever happened to me… okay it wasn’t the worst… it just sucked sometimes… a lot. Hike and live in the rain for 5-6 days straight… on three separate occasions… and you’ll know what I mean. Anyways, nothing can quite compare to the awesomeness that is the Appalachian Trail and it is for that reason a decision was made 2 days prior to 12/14. I spent almost 9 months hiking the AT. Something truly special to me. So special, that I want it to end on my terms and in a fashion I desire. So, that is why I chose to leave 161.2 miles of the AT for May.
Finishing What Was Started
I hiked every mile from Georgia to Waynesboro, VA (861.9 miles), took a bus to Maine, and hiked every mile back to Harpers Ferry, WV (1166.7 miles)… for a total of 2028.6 miles. Rain, cold, snow, hail, 80 mph winds, injuries, and sometimes pure laziness did not stop me from completing every one of those miles. Loins of Arabia and I planned to rush and finish up the last 161.2 miles between Harpers & Waynesboro before Christmas. That way we would be done with the trail and official “Thru-Hikers.” Then it occurred to us. This is our hike. We want to finish on a bang. Sure we could have toughed it out, but in the end we decided we wanted to finish in the Spring and enjoy the Shenandoahs in their prime… plus the waysides are open then!
A Judgemental Hiking Community
Many will judge us and have negative remarks for not finishing up. Shoot, I had a hiker comment on my Facebook Status that we were “pussies” for not finishing up. First off, that was uncalled for. Second, if I don’t want to continue hiking in the cold and want to finish up in the spring I can! Hike your own Hike! This year I have seen many hikers finish up and officially adopt the title of “thru-hiker” even though they skipped sections of the trail. Whether a couple miles or hundreds… people drunk blazed, yellow blazed, jumped ahead to catch up to friends, just plain said screw a section and still call themselves thru-hikers. I’m not judging them… I’m only trying to make a point. There is no right way to hike the trail. Everyone wants something different. So, I suppose what I’m trying to say is… hike your own hike… because I’m gonna savor the flavor… of the AT. Anyways, I hiked every mile in the 2028.6 I have done and will finish the last 161.2 in a few short months. Sure we will be a little over the “12 month” timeframe for being considered “thru-hikers,” but I will have hiked every mile at that point and to me that’s what matters.
Hike Your Own Hike
You do what makes you happy and I’ll do what makes me happy, but one thing is certain…. when May roles around I’ll finish the AT off for good… at which point I will reveal my plans for 2019/2020! So stick around and see what the future holds. For life is more than an argument over who did what or who’s hike is superior. It’s about finding peace within yourself and living life to the fullest. So, can’t we all just get along?
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