5 Hopes & 5 fears About My 2015 Thru-hike

I’ve gotten quite a few questions about my upcoming thru-hike, many of which are par for the course when sharing such plans with friends and family. You know ’em and love ’em: Guns? Knives? Bears? Water? And of course, hiker stank? Many people are supportive and excited, others not so much. Depending on who starts the conversation dictates which set of questions a future thru-hiker will field. From these conversations, I’ve compiled my Top 5 list of Hopes and Fears in anticipation of my great adventure on the Appalachian Trail. We start with fear, because one must always end with hope.

Top 5 Fears about the AT:

  1. A doctor will deny me the ability to get back on trail after a severe illness or injury—No other reason will prevent me from reaching Katahdin.
  1. Pooping on my own shoes. This is high on the list because it’s a very real possibility.
  1. Tripping & Falling. It will happen, just ideally not when it could be a real problem.
  1. Snow & Rain. I understand I will be wet and cold—it’s a part of trail life. Yet actually being outside in the rain or snow all day/night for two straight weeks… I’ve never done anything close to that.
  1. Bugs. When walking 10-plus miles a day is accompanied by swarms of bugs in your eyes, ears, mouth, and clothing, one’s reason for doing such a thing better have some meaning to it.

Top 5 Hopes about the AT: 

  1. I hope to learn more about who I am, and who I want to be in this life. What better way than the oldest mountain range in the world?
  1. I hope to meet new and interesting people, and maybe even restore my faith in humanity a bit as well.
  1. I hope to embrace the experience in its entirety, the good and bad. To find a way to manage the days that test my will, along with the drive to reach the ones that fill my soul.
  1. I hope to reconnect with nature. I hope to see it all, including all the wildlife. “Of course I want to see a bear!” I want to watch the sun rise and set, but every day for a week. I want to ford streams, climb mountains, and grow a beard past the socially acceptable level. I want it all. You’ve just got to love the great outdoors.
  1. I hope to never poop on my own shoes.

“The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” – John Muir


Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 4

  • hoba : Jan 21st

    POOPING….Try to find a downed tree or log that you can hang your butt over. Works for me and I’m over 60ty and not too flexible.

    • Timothy Pluta : Feb 12th

      Wise wise words:)

  • Wandering Johnny : Feb 2nd

    Your fears: Reasonable and likely on all of our lists, more or less. Your hopes: Eloquent, soulful, and hopefully 5 things we all find on the trail – and in life!

    • Timothy Pluta : Feb 12th

      Thanks so very much, I appreciate that!


What Do You Think?