A Completed Appalachian Trail and a Little Letter to All of You!

Dear Everyone,

On September 28, 2023, I finished hiking the Appalachian Trail! 

After five years and 2,192 miles, what does it feel like?


No, really. Nothing. 

But not in a bad way. I think there are just too many feelings at once to comprehend, and it’s taking a long time to sink in. 

There’s the fact that I’m still myself. I’m not some profoundly different person. I’m sorry to report this, for anyone that hopes to hike the Appalachian Trail in hopes of becoming a different person. 

I’m still me wherever I go, and you’ll still be you, wherever you go. But don’t worry, I can certainly report that I’ve learned things, and that I’m full of gratitude.

Even in the moment when I reached the top of Mt. Katahdin, I didn’t feel some profound crazy sense of accomplishment for completing the entire Appalachian Trail. I felt a rush, absolutely, but it was the same as any other rush of reaching the top of an epic peak after a tough climb. I was just so excited to be at the top of that mountain on that particular day and was awestruck by the views. 

You see, all we ever have is the moment we’re in right now. That’s my biggest takeaway from this whole crazy thing, as I gradually let it sink in. I’ve been home from my last section hike for over a month and seem to just be at the beginning of that process. 

Maybe that’s because nothing is over. I’m hoping that I just keep going on more hikes, because I like hiking. 

There will be more posts to come, with tales from my last section hike of the last 188 miles of Maine. I’ll also finish up my stories from my second-to-last section hike this past May, that I left hanging when the planning for my final section took over.

Although I’m not quite done putting scenes from the Appalachian Trail into words, I don’t think it’s too early to say thank you, thank you, thank you! The impact it has on me any time I realize that someone has read a post of mine about my time on the trail is profound. It helps me to bring this experience to something beyond just myself, which is a topic I’ve spent a lot of time mulling over while I’ve stared at my feet sloshing through mud for miles on end. 

For now, I leave you with some fun pictures of the last section, and later on I’ll leave you with words! 

Much Love,

Little Bear (Lil’ Bear?) 

It’s been 5 years and I’ve never settled on a permanent spelling of my trail name! There is so much yet to be pondered. 🙂


Heading up the Bigelow Range on day one of my section hike


A clear evening on top of the Bigelows…



…followed by drizzly weather for days to come


The first signs of fall!


Two types of beauty in one image – mossy forest and FLAT TRAIL!


Pictured: A gorgeous evening. Not pictured: Me barely being able to catch my breath.


A typical trail view of a large portion of every day during this 188 mile section of Maine


I couldn’t have asked for a better morning heading up Mt. Katahdin




So the thing about hiking up Mt. Katahdin is that you then have to go back down.






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 7

  • Zach : Nov 1st

    Beautiful words and photos. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Lil Bear.

  • thetentman : Nov 1st

    Nice post. Congrats and cheers!

  • Pcs : Nov 2nd

    Great photos!

  • Jingle bells : Nov 3rd

    Aspirational for a fellow sectioner. Congrats. Believe I know what you mean about still being you. After my sections, I still feel like me, just really sore and stressed about all the work that I need to catch up on. :). Thanks for sharing.

  • Mary : Nov 3rd

    So proud of you Sarah! Beautiful words and pics! Will miss following you on the trail! Always be you!! You’re perfect❤️

  • Rushmore : Dec 3rd

    Nice post and photos! Congratulations!

  • Lili : Dec 6th

    Thank you for sharing your words, thoughts and photos!
    Lil’ Bear keep on writing and sharing


What Do You Think?