A Wild Idea: A Thru-Hike Announcement
The more I think back, the harder it is to pinpoint exactly where this wild idea began.
It could’ve started with our move to Maine. With my early childhood spent scrambling through the decorative hedges of our suburban New Jersey home, my family’s relocation to the wooded outskirts of a southern Maine town was a welcome change. For us bush-dwelling Jersey kids, the hundreds of acres that lay beyond the property line fueled our endless daydreams of wilderness adventures. Each season reignited that curiosity; the summer leaves exploding into fall colors and the eerie silence of bare winter trees.
And so I learned to love the outdoors.
Maybe it began with Katahdin itself. I was beyond fortunate to spend two years with Mrs. Strout, a fourth grade teacher whose love affair with Maine’s tallest mountain ran deep. From Donn Fendler’s story of survival to the legend of Pamola, the mountain’s protector, Mrs. Strout fostered our appreciation of Katahdin. As we watched on at a screening of Wilderness and Spirit, A Mountain Called Katahdin, I knew I’d one day conquer the mountain.
Over three summers, I hiked Katahdin three times.
Thru-hikers can attest to Katahdin’s reputation; it’s no easy feat to climb the mountain, regardless of one’s fitness level. Our first climb nearly ended before it began; my friend Maggie and I had run out of water before we reached Chimney Pond. Our attempt was saved by another hiker, who loaned us his water filter and some words of advice.
My first-ever trail magic.
The following years proved to be more successful; my sister and I conquered Knife Edge and the surrounding peaks with relative ease, while the third year saw new summit trails with old friends. Each year, we snapped photos atop the Katahdin sign, with victory written in our big smiles. At the time, I paid little attention to the words etched into the weathered wood.
A mountain footpath extending over 2000 miles to Springer Mtn. Georgia
The Wild Idea
Then there’s Peace Corps.
For the past two years, I’ve lived and worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guayaquil, Ecuador. The experience has brought too many adventures to count, but it’s the realizations and life lessons that resonate most. I remember looking out at the craggy peaks of the Ecuadorian Andes, wishing we had been walking instead of busing from city to city. I was a just a trainee; there was a long road ahead. Those days, I kept myself entertained with daydreams of wild adventures in those mountains. Bouts of homesickness were quelled with fantasies of standing atop Katahdin once again.
Only this time, Katahdin was the end; Springer was the beginning.
These past two years, the Appalachian Trail had been nothing more than a wild idea; my primary work and secondary projects took precedence over those post Peace Corps daydreams. However, as my end date drew closer, I began to revisit that wild idea that had kept me so entertained.
My name is Sean Speckin; I’m a soon-to-be returned Peace Corps volunteer from Saco, ME.
For years, I’ve had a wild idea.
On April 3, 2019, I’m thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail.
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Good luck hipster