Annemarie on the AT
First of all, introductions, I’m Annemarie! Thanks for taking the time to read my trail ramblings. I’m a 30-something former bank manager who sold all my possessions, quit my job and decided go for a really long walk!
Before I get into trail talk I thought I’d share how I landed on the AT:
When The Rona (COVID) hit I dropped my gym membership and started trail running. I lived 20 minutes from Raven Rocks on the AT in VA and that was my weekend run spot. My best friend’s husband found out I was running the same spot over and over and suggested we hike the Maryland section of the trail later in the year. When he made that suggestion I was clueless about thru-hiking. I didn’t even know there were shelters… or that thru-hiking was a thing. I suppose that’s when the ‘backpacking’ seed was planted. I was excited to do Maryland, but had no clue what it entailed. Trail running and backpacking are two different things.
Fast forward a little bit and as the summer of The Rona went on, I got bored. That’s when I started swiping on Tinder and going on hella lots of ice cream dates (socially distanced, of course). At some point I swiped ‘right’ on a pic of some guy with a backpack and a dog. I’ll admit that I am 100% a serial swiper. I swipe ‘right’ on first glances and then go back and weed through the matches.
I matched with backpack dude (and his pup). Upon reading his profile I learned he was thru-hiking the AT…for the second time. That’s the first time I realized that people hike from GA to Maine. My brain was spinning. Whhhattt? Who does that?! And twice?! After some back and forth and logistical planning we arranged to meet up when he got to Harper’s Ferry which was 30 minutes from my place.
We met for dinner on a Friday night, but it was more of an interrogation. I asked a ton of questions about thru-hiking and what/how/why he was doing what he was doing. After dinner we grabbed ice cream and ate it on the picnic bench outside the 7-11 in Harpers Ferry. He said I should join him for a little section hike…again with the spinning wheels. The following weekend happened to be July 4th so it was already long weekend. Perfect.
The following Friday, I loaded up an old backpack with wayyyyy too much food and met up with backpack dude (and of course, his pup). We started at Pen-Mar State Park and made it 60 miles to Boiling Springs, PA in 4 1/2 days.
I cried everyday.
My feet were blistered by the end of the first day and my shoulders, feet and hips ached.
And I freaking loved it.
I’ve only cried those kinds of tears a few times in my life:
First time–when I decided quit my job at the bank and move to London to finish the last two years of my Bachelor’s.
Second time–when I decided to join the Peace Corps.
Third time–was a bunch of times, but all about my decision to get sober (4 years this Labor Day).
Fourth time–every day of that section hike, when I decided I was going to thru-hike the AT.
It’s just shy of a year later, and here I am.
Maine or bust baby!!!!
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