86 Days…

In 86 days, we will be standing at the base of Springer Mountain with 2180 miles of trail ahead of us. What started out as a far off “someday it’d be cool to do this” turned into an “okay, when our dog dies (presumable years away), we’ll do it” and ultimately ended with our sitting on our living room floor with our sweet pup in the last days of her life this past Spring, realizing that the promise we made to each other was knocking on the door. Could we really do it? Were we ready to leave our jobs? Could we give up our apartment and a permanent address? Could we save the money to do it? Was our desire to do it strong enough? With each subsequent question, the answer became clear:  we are going to thru hike the AT in 2015, April 3 to be exact.

I’ll keep this introductory blog short and sweet as I’m sure details of us, our backstory, and our motivation will follow in due time, but I do feel a bit of an intro is in order. I debated starting this blog with sharing my lists—the lists that Zach recommends in his book (this website’s namesake), encouraging all thru hikers to do. Why are you hiking the AT? How will you feel if you finish? How will you feel if you don’t? Before my answers—some background…

Until recently, I would not classify myself as a hiker. Growing up, my family embarked on numerous day hikes—or mom-led death marches as I and my six siblings used to call them. As I became an adult, I began to truly enjoy the beauty that is found in the serenity and solitude of the woods. Mountainous views take my breath away, if not already lost by the taxing climb to the top. Laying in a tent with the fly open as darkness falls, listening to the night life emerging all around me, never ceases to amaze me.   But, I didn’t always feel like this. I never imagined I inherently had that nature-loving, thrill-of-the-woods  feeling until somewhat recently. For me, it’s been a gradual journey, one which I don’t believe I would have gone on if it weren’t for my husband, Eric. Now, he is an outdoorsman. He’s the guy that “studied abroad” by doing a NOLS course in college, spending three weeks at a time living out of his pack and spent summers summiting all but five of the 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks; the same guy who, with little notice, after graduating college, told me he had decided to enroll in a Wilderness EMT course in Washington state for a month….. just because. Frankly, our relationship was almost doomed from the start. Within five minutes of meeting each other, informed of his NOLS plans, I smiled politely and told him that that sounded terrible–I’m a city girl.

And here we are, 86 days out from our joint adventure on the trail. Who would have thought?  Certainly not me. For Eric, it’s been a life goal. He is more than ready to lead the charge into the wild. For me, trading in my high heels and urban chic for hiking boots and trail gear is quite the surprising turn of events. Nevertheless, with each passing day, my excitement grows. Despite our differences, and trust me, there are many, our mutual love for adventure propels us forward on our quest to embark on the path less travelled–slightly ironic, considering more than 2 million people hike parts of the AT every year, but you know what I mean.

I will attempt to capture our experience in words for those who wish to join us as our story unfolds. Eric will be a guest contributor to the blog to give another side to our story. The posts to follow will be a combination of gear checklists, shakedown reports and general musings as we get ready to depart. We invite you to join us as we prepare for this trip of a lifetime!


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