An Introduction and Why I’m Hiking the Appalachian Trail

I am Paul Madigosky and I will be blogging for the duration of my Appalachian Trail thru-hike. Because of this, it is only prudent to tell you all a bit about myself first:

I’ve been an outdoor enthusiast for my entire life and can generally be found in the woods when I am not at work or sleeping. Much of that has to do with my father who has taken me on trips throughout the western united states, Peru, and several other places. I’ve hiked the Grand Canyon, throughout Coronado National Forest, through the Amazon Rainforest, and many other places.

So, why a thru-hike?

What am I getting from hiking, every day, for months at a time that I can’t get from a shorter hike?

I am hiking the AT because…

  1. I need to reevaluate the direction I’m headed and find out how to get what I want out of life. Finding myself at a bit of a crossroads, I am between what I want to do and what I am doing with my life. I crave fulfillment rather than just chugging along the path I am going down.
  2. I don’t want to die without ever having done something sufficiently outside of the box. Who doesn’t want an awesome story to tell? Everyone has that one awesome family member with loads of adventure-filled tales. Most people’s lives are boring and, honestly, I am pretty bored. Life was meant to be lived, my friends!
  3. I want to find a deeper sense of meaning and humanity. At base, I am a philosopher and, more importantly, a primitivist. As such, this thru-hike is one of my many attempts to punch the human condition straight in the mouth. Take that, ennui!
  4. I’ve dreamt of doing a thru-hike for a long time and the time has arrived to overcome that dream. My estimation of meaning could very well be different from anyone else’s, but this is what means something to me. As humans we are burdened with the task of seizing each moment and opportunity strikes but once for many people.
  5. About a year ago, I felt the call. I was pulled in the direction of this thru-hike to such an intensity that I had no choice but to answer. Is it too melodramatic if I say this is destiny? Haha.
  6. I want to use this trip, as well as others, to potentially win over sponsors to support me on a raft trip down the entire Amazon River. This has never been done before. It is incredibly dangerous and will take a lot of money and a knowledgeable guide. Because of that, I will need sponsors and the way to get those is to prove yourself in other ways. This is one of those ways.
  7. I don’t want to be comfortable in the banality of modern life. You never know what is coming for you and I want to live richly. To quote Thoreau, “I to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life….” I’m looking to find people with similar interests, appreciate nature more thoroughly, and laugh more often.

In Summation —

I have several more reasons I could write down, but these are the most pressing ones. I won’t bore you with excessiveness.

In general, I’m just very excited to be embarking on this journey and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.


*Note: I have recently been notified that the raft trip along the Amazon has indeed been done fairly recently. While disappointing, I will certainly find some other adventure to embark upon.


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Comments 8

  • pearwood : Dec 1st

    Hello, Paul!
    I could second any one of those reasons for hiking. My versions was, “Because it has been far too long since I have done anything really outrageous.
    Maybe I’ll see you on the trail.
    I’m PearwoodPhoto on IG.

    • Paul Madigosky : Dec 1st

      I’ll look forward to it! Considering your reasoning, I’d say you’re a man of substance.
      I’ll follow your IG.

  • Robert Hammons : Dec 2nd

    Hello Paul and Pearwood,
    I enjoy reading your blog posts and plan to be out there on the AT in 2021. Hope to see you out there on trail.
    May the trail bring the challenge, answers and peace you seek.

    • Paul Madigosky : Dec 2nd

      Thank you; I appreciate that.
      I hope to see you out there as well.
      And I certainly hope so because I’ve never spent so much time planning anything else! Either way, it’ll be a blast through both the ups and downs.


  • Chris Armstrong : Dec 10th

    Great article. Still trying to put into words (a post hopefully) of “why” I’m out there. All I know as of right now, it’s where I need to be. Good luck out there.

    • Paul Madigosky : Dec 28th

      Well, send me the link when you write it out. I’ll be interested to see what you’re thinking. Sometimes human reasoning stays just a touch out of reach of human understanding. There’s no fault in that!

  • Darlene M : Dec 11th

    Wow, Paul! Ambitious and amazing! I wish you all the best on your adventures and will be rooting for you.

    • Paul Madigosky : Dec 28th

      Thank you, Darlene! From the small amount that we have interacted over the last few months I can see you are a very kind person. I’m sure I’ll see you on the trail and I’ll be rooting for you as well!


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