An Introduction to the Georges

   About Us:

We’re Ashley & Zach George – a  26 & 28 year old married couple from Cincinnati, OH planning a NOBO thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in early March of 2017. I (Ashley – currently writing this) am a nanny of three kids (ages 2, 4, & 6) here in Cincinnati – I have a BA in Secondary Social Science Education but decided not to use it and picked a profession where I could wear sweatpants to work and make my own baby food. I’ve been with the family I work for for nearly 4 years now, and I’m going to miss those little people somethin’ fierce. Zach is an engineer for an aerospace company with a BS in Materials Engineering (from Purdue – GO Boilermakers!) and is a little more excited to say SEE YA to his current situation.

Zach and I have let the lease run out our apartment, and are currently living with some very kind, and extremely accommodating friends here in Cincinnati in order to save more money in the months leading up to our thru-hike. When the date gets closer, we’ll likely migrate up to my in-laws (Zach’s parents) in Xenia (our hometown).

 

Why the Appalachian Trail :

Zach and I got married last October and honeymooned in Prague. We had talked casually before this about doing something big after our wedding, but that idea didn’t really have a name. I knew of the Appalachian Trail, mainly from the normal combination of pop culture and Bill Bryson – but I started looking further into it and found the book Appalachian Trials by our main dude, Zach Davis – and I was in.  After a lot of talk about what we wanted our married life to look like, we decided on the trail together, as a way to experience something new as a unit and to put our lives on the trajectory that we wanted. I can’t point to the exact day we decided to do it, it’s kind of just always felt like this was it.

 

The following are our combined lists of why we are hiking the AT & how we will feel if we quit our thru hike – now here for the whole internet to see:

We are thru-hiking the AT because…

  • We are dissatisfied with the monotony of everyday “post-grad” life
  • We think the idea of delaying adventure & enjoyment until retirement is flawed
  • We are taking control of the course of our lives and shaping it into the one that we want
  • We want to challenge ourselves physically & mentally
  • We want to spend time with each other
  • We want to create and complete a goal
  • We want to spend time in nature
  • Life is short, [email protected]!$ it

If we quit the AT we will…

  • Feel a deep sense of shame and embarrassment
  • Have failed one another
  • Feel as if future goals will be called into question – “can I complete this if I quite the AT? why try?”
  • Likely settle into a lifestyle/career that is not ideal upon returning
  • See failures in the mirror
  • Have a lack of confidence in ourselves & our ability to see a goal through to it’s completion
  • Have let down everyone who supported & believed in us

 

We are super excited to be taking off on this journey together – we know there will be hard days, injuries and probably a bear or two – but at the end of the day, we get to do this as The Georges and that is the best part.

We’ll be posting before we leave in March hopefully about a few things – gear, prep, more background, etc. Is there anything you’d like to hear about from us? Let us know in the comments! We’re excited to share the miles with you.

 

Ashley (& Zach) George

 

 

 

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Comments 12

  • Alex Wnorowski : Dec 8th

    You sound a lot like us! Amanda and I are 25 and 26 and we left our careers, moved out of our apartment and in with my mom, and are leaving late February. Will be following your journey and hope to see you out there!!

    Reply
    • Heather Provoncha : Dec 9th

      Holy smokes, that is exactly the same situation my husband and I are in. We are the same ages, and will be moving out of our apartment very soon. Good luck with all your preparations! See you out there!

      Reply
      • Ashley George : Dec 11th

        That’s so great! I love hearing about all these couples heading out together. When are you guys leaving? I hope we can meet you and your husband out there.

        Reply
    • Ashley George : Dec 11th

      Late February! Wow, that’s amazing! Zach and I are a little nervous starting out the first week of March, you guys are getting after it! I hope we’ll catch up a little and get to meet you & Amanda.

      Reply
  • Elaine McKinley : Dec 8th

    *I just want you to know that even if you quit, you will NOT have let down everyone who has supported and believed in you. The first step of anything is the hardest (at least for me) and that is what we are proud of you for–taking that giant step and risk. No matter what happens, your support system will not be let down. We might make fun of you, but that’s just because we know you can take it 😉 Love you!

    Reply
    • Ashley George : Dec 11th

      You are the best – thank you so much for saying that. Sometimes Zach and I forget that deciding to do this and taking the steps just to get to the start are a big deal. Love you ❤️

      Reply
  • Jill Knox : Dec 10th

    I love this. SO many solo hikers on the trail, its good to see a lot of couples as well. My husband Doug and I are hitting it in March and we’re in our mid-50s! We sold our home, have lived in a townhouse for the last year and are leaving THAT in February and taking up a tiny one-bedroom apartment to be used more of our home base! Back packs and sleeping bags hanging on the wall and just enough space for drop boxes.
    Can’t wait to meet other couples, albeit a lot younger, to keep us motivated.

    Reply
    • Ashley George : Dec 11th

      Your situation is so incredible and encouraging. I’m also glad to hear about all these couples out here – if we start around the same time (early March) I hope so much that we can meet you & your husband Doug. Good luck with your one-bedroom!

      Reply
  • Darlene Lunsford : Dec 25th

    So proud of you two for making your dreams come true. So many times people get so busy making a living that they fail to make a life! I look forward to reading about all your adventures and living vicariously through you. Best of luck on your hike and don’t forget some bear repellent! Love you!

    Reply
  • Sheri Mash : Dec 25th

    My high school graduation present to myself was a week long hike on the AT. I will never forget that experience! I am excited to keep up with and live vicariously through you two lol! I hope you post images often. Even the boring, monotonous back side of the person in front because this is your daily reality 🙂 Best Wishes to you two!!

    Reply
  • Cari Higgins : Dec 25th

    Be safe and enjoy your journey!!!

    Reply
  • Mike Buckhanan : Mar 2nd

    Hi Ashley & Zach; as you can see from the email address I’m at Zach’s old work place. My son thru-hiked the AT in 2008 & he still states it was the best experience of his life. I joined up with him for three 2-week sections at the start, middle & end. We left March 22nd and hit snow 4-5 days, so take something warm for the start and you can always mail it home later. Maybe the weather will be warmer this year with mild winter we had so far. If someone is mailing your supply boxes at the designated post offices & towns, keep the calorie count up high for what they mail. My son lost 35 lbs on the hike and looked like a totally different person at the end. When the miles seem long & your bodies are aching, look around at what you are experiencing in the backcountry and all the stories you can tell for the rest of your life! The AT trail angels come out right when you need them & the bonds you build with other thru-hikers will last a lifetime. Keep up the positive attitudes & keep the end goal in mind, then I know you can make it all the way. 30%-40% of people not prepared bailout on the first 4-5 days & you could usually pick them out as you passed them by. Neels Gap in Northern Georgia is the perfect place to pick up supplies and mail items home you don’t see as necessary anymore. The trail passes right through Mountain Crossings at Neels Gap. Good luck & I plan to check on your progress. Don’t let it get into your head about quitting, just keep taking one more step ahead & take in the scenery….

    Reply

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