This soul was made for walkin – and that’s just what I’ll do.

Time to answer that question asked by so many when they hear of my plan to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail…”why?”.

  • First, and most importantly, I LOVE BACKPACKING!  I simply love waking up in my hammock and knowing I get to hike today.  I love the anticipation of who I will meet, what I will see, and how exhausted I will be at the end of the day.  I love feeling that level of physical exhaustion that tells me “I lived today!”
  • I want to work on becoming a more patient, more accepting and more spiritual person. These are all areas where the “needs improvement” box on my adult report card would be checked.
  • At 50 years old, I am looking forward to being in the best shape of my life. I’ve always enjoyed physical activity and working to stay in shape.  I was proud to run my first marathon at 47.  But this?  This is a whole other level of fitness.
  • I am actually going to see all those trail landmarks that I have read so much about! And, I hope to know firsthand what it feels like to come around that last corner, after thousands of corners before, and see Mt Katahdin.
  • I look forward to being a part of the hiker community and feeling like I really earned it.
  • Make no mistake about it, this hike will be cleansing. It’s about stripping off the bad that has been accumulating for the last 20 years and replacing it with more of the good.  Again, I’ll quote Springsteen:

“Well my soul checked out missing as I sat listening
To the hours and minutes tickin’ away
Yeah just sittin’ around waitin’ for my life to begin
While it was all just slippin’ away
I’m tired of waitin’ for tomorrow to come
Or that train to come roarin’ round the bend
I got a new suit of clothes a pretty red rose
And a woman I can call my friend
These are better days baby
These are better days it’s true
These are better days
Better days are shining through”

  • Finally, I want that look…you know that look, when you see someone with that beard and that worn look that one only gets from living outside. You’ve seen them – and when you do you just know – that dude walked all the way from Georgia.  I want to be him.  I want to be the dude that walked all the way from Georgia.
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Comments 4

  • PAUL BOUCHARD : Nov 15th

    This is gonna be EPIC!!

    Reply
    • Cheryl Galli : Nov 15th

      Yes it will, Paulie! And you will be a part of it!

      Reply
  • Butch : Nov 15th

    Did my first marathon at 46, similar to you. Have my 4th marathon coming up this winter, and a 50k the day before my 50th Bday next month! Did 185 miles from Springer to Fontana Dam last year with my 23 year old son. Was awesome! We set out last year to see how far/long we felt like going. I look forward to following your progress, as I identify with your reasons for setting out. Discovered that my daily motivation was the destination for that night, but my journey motivation was to set the tone for my 50+ year old ‘section’ of life. It has done just that! Set an awesome tone that I continue daily. Lost 17 pounds and have been able to keep most of it off. You are correct it will be an awesome kind of fitness. Starting from Fontana Dam this May for another few weeks to see how far it gets me . . and to continue the 50+ journey. My son and I found that we are really looking forward to making a couple weeks each year the ‘journey’ for us.

    Sincerely – Butch (trail name) 49 yr 11 mo old. (My son is ‘Sundance’)

    Reply
  • John B. Waugaman, Jr. : Nov 16th

    Sounds great Ray and I am right there with you on your endeavor to set the pace for life after 50. I am an educator with a few more years left to retirement, but I am finally preparing for what’s next. My wife retires next May and my boys are completing college. The outdoors is where I have always been the happiest and the AT is calling my name more now than ever. What has always been a thought in the back of my mind is now a daily obsession.

    I look forward to following your progress and learning from your experiences. Like you, I have a supportive wife that will be my hub and will be there to support and motivate me through any and all steps I take. I’m unsure when the big day will begin to thru hike the AT, but the ball is in motion and it feels good. Happy trails Ray.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family,

    John

    Reply

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