My 2014 NOBO Appalachan Trail Manifesto

I’m a last minute addition to the class of 2014 Appalachian Trial bloggers.

It was not until January of this year that I realized that I could put aside 6 + months of my life to actually do something. I’m 24 years old, was possibly dropped on my head too many times as a child, and I pretend I know exactly what I’m doing (I don’t.) I have not even read the Appalachian Trials, but I’m fairly confident I can convince myself to happily march right off a cliff if I had to. Am I in the right place? I may have won over Zach Davis’s approval with my gentlemanly writing etiquette and refined knowledge about hippopotamus defecation. You may start wagering how long it takes for The Good Badger to regret this. Or how long I last on the trail. Post your guess in the comment section below and badger the Good Badger about winning a prize if you’re right.

The thing is that I have always wanted to do a long distance backpack before I even knew about the PCT or AT. It’s kind of like having a schizophrenic Robin Williams drumming in the back of your head to the tune of Jumanji. The instructions to play are right there, but I’m not the kind of person who typically reads the directions. It’s just a few google searches on the internet away… but you know what? I don’t want the cheat sheets. I want the adventure. Okay, okay – I’ve dabbled in a few trail journals just to get a hint, I’ve read Paul Stutzman’s Hiking Through because it was free on Amazon kindle, and I did enough research just to be absolutely certain I’m not going to get sucked into some stupid little board game that keeps calling to me. But if you were to give me a geography quiz regarding the Appalachian Trail, I would probably fail it. I am not smarter than a 5th grader

I also never had a father figure in my life that taught me outdoorsy stuff nor am I some kind of freak athlete. I grew up wandering New Jersey woods by myself as long as I was sure I was walking distance to dinner. I did score a sweet gig working as an outdoor trip leader in college though. I like to think it’s because I’m just super badass. It may be partially true because I apparently have enough confidence to march forward so boldly that people will follow me assuming I know exactly what I’m doing.

To any fellow NOBO thru hikers walking behind me, you’ve been warned. Be on the lookout for this guy,

Whatever I tell you, take with a grain salt. If I advise you to pee on your blisters, don’t do it. Even if I convincingly start peeing on my own blisters. I would actually go there


Now allow me to make this potentially long introductory blog post into an excessively long blog post. I present thee with my 2014 Appalachian Trail Thru Hiker Manifesto.

1) To recognize and appreciate what the most important things in life are about.

-I have a strong feeling it comes down to shelter, food, and companionship. Who would have figured?

2) To hit a life reset button.

-I want to break away from this life I’ve been mindlessly following and stop doing what I “should” do and start doing what I want to do. I know I have the discipline to get things done when I really don’t want to do it in the first place (I’ve done it my whole life). I need to make sure I change things up before its too late. Part of this reset will be trying to take my time to enjoy all that I can while I can.

3) To conquer my own self assigned personal rite of passage.

-If you’re wondering what the heck I’m talking about and willing to read an excessive addition to an already excessively long blog post, see my trail journal entry here:

I’m flying from San Diego, CA to Atlanta, GA on April 1, 2014. My first day on the trail should be April 3. May go by the moniker Affirm, but who knows. Maybe the trail will rename me.

If you have any questions or would like to know more – just ask and you shall receive. Except questions about my gear weight. I’m not going to bother going through meticulous details like that.


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