Facing Adversity, Embracing Challenge On A Thru-Hike

If you’ve ever thru-hiked a major trail, or are preparing to thru-hike, there’s one question we all have to answer.  Why?  So I think it’s time I answered the question myself.  Why am I thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail?

The Dream

Like many others it has always been a dream of mine to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail.  Growing up in northern New Jersey and then moving to Maryland, the AT has always been there for me to explore.  But no matter how many miles I hike and mountains I conquer, the dream of the thru-hike has always evaded me.  I’m so thrilled too finally have the opportunity!

From the people I’ll meet, the places I’ll visit, and the amazing things I’ll see, everything about thru-hiking excites me.  These are memories and stories that I’m going to carry with me forever.  Stories I’ll tell my future grandkids, no matter how times they’ve heard them before, haha.

OMG. I’m so excited, somebody pinch me!

Shadows Of My Past

I’ve overcome a lot in my life.  As a young child I was diagnosed with a rare liver disease called glycogen storage disease, which almost ended my hike before it began.  Even after six years of regular hospital stays, 13 years of treatment overall, and exceeding doctors’ expectations,  I’m still here, still hiking.

My experiences growing up have a lot to do with the person I am today.  It’s why I have to challenge myself to be better.  To face adversity head-on and push through.  To live my life in a manner that honors those who aren’t as lucky, and to inspire others with my story.

This is who I am. Why fight it?

My Personality

Seeking the adventure.  Facing adversity.  Embracing the challenge.

This is who I am.  The trail is where I’m supposed to be.  From the beauty it presents to the challenges it creates, I embrace all of it.  It’s always creating new opportunities to learn, to grow, to become a more experienced hiker, and a better person.  Hiking is not just a hobby, it’s my life.

Needless to say I feel at home when I’m on the trail.  The trail is my muse.  No wonder I want to spend five to six months in the woods going from town to town with my entire life on my back, and only my feet to get me there.

Or maybe it’s because I’m crazy…

Who cares?  I’m so excited!


The beauty to answering the why is that there is no right or wrong answer.  The answer is yours, and yours alone.  As I continue with future blogs I hope you’ll share with me the greatest adventure, greatest challenge, and biggest dream of my life.

March 14.  Can’t come soon enough.


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Comments 3

  • Mayo : Jan 15th

    Have fun man!!! I have serious thru-envy!

    • Bob Heilmann : Jan 24th

      Thanks so much!

  • Sarah : Jan 22nd

    U can and may find a million reasons to get off the trail.. Find a million and one to kp hiking. Really


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