An Introduction: The Birth of a Thru-Hiking Dream

 Let’s take a step in the time machine and head back to the good old days of 2012…

“Would you like some space for milk or cream?”

This is what I found myself saying thousands of times a day while pouring cups of coffee and making super fancy drinks for the upper class citizens of New Jersey. I was fortunate enough at the ripe age of 19 to have the opportunity to manage a coffee shop in a small town that welcomed big shots that were just a fifteen-minute train ride from the Big Apple.

Like all good things, it came to an end. I NEEDED something to break up the monotony and give me a clear head. What did I decide to do? Naturally like everyone says, the answer was to take a hike. My “can do” attitude put me on the fast track to planning a section hike of the New Jersey Appalachian Trail.

It went terribly, I had a fifty-pound pack, food packed in Tupperware, no water filter, and no idea how to get to the trailhead. I never even actually made it onto the AT, I found a trail that Google told me would connect with the Appalachian Trail but never did, so I hike until dark and then called my ride to get me. From there though my love for hiking and the trail was born.


Now that the hiking bug had bitten me, we can hop back in the time machine and move forward a year. I was ready to attempt a thru hike. It was July, I was headed Southbound, my pack was heavy, and my head was high. It was my younger sister, my girlfriend, and I headed to Baxter State Park in Maine. The first day I was there I went to the top of Mt.Katahdin to start my thru hike and after eight grueling hours I was back on the ground and ready to hit the trail in the morning.

That’s when shit got serious!

Unbeknownst to me my girlfriend was a bit crazier than I thought and decided she wasn’t going to let me go. You may be asking yourself how could someone just keep you from doing something that means so much to you by saying you can’t go. Basically my little sister was held hostage. She made comments like “You’re not stepping foot on that trail without me (Meanwhile she had no gear or anything)” “If you go, I’m going with you”. Throw in some extreme water works and you get the picture. She was willing to leave my 16-year-old sister in Maine with the car and no money, whether these threats were legitimate or not I had to go home. Months of planning for a six month thru hike and it lasted only one day.

Me at the summit of Katahdin

Me at the summit of Katahdin

Now with the inspiration of sweet defeat, regret, and disappointment, I’m ready for my 2014 NOBO hike of the Appalachian Trail. And yes I’m taking a train to avoid any issues! Ever since then it’s been gnawing at me, filling me with depressing thoughts of not being able to accomplish anything, but most importantly providing me with the greatest motivation of all. Sometimes shit storms like my first attempt are blessings in disguise. I’ve gotten a boatload of better experience, fine tuned my gear like a science, and have had time to also mentally prepare for this journey. So to describe myself now, I am a 21-year-old bearded adventurer, still slinging coffee for trail money, and future 2014 thru hiker of this beautiful thing called the Appalachian Trail!

IMG_1273Happy Hiking Folks!

Michael Osborne

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.

What Do You Think?