Annemarie on the AT

Hiya Hikers!

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 timewhen I decided quit my job at the bank and move to London to finish the last two years of my Bachelor’s.

Second timewhen I decided to join the Peace Corps.

Third timewas a bunch of times, but all about my decision to get sober (4 years this Labor Day).

Fourth timeevery 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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Comments 21

  • Allen Weigand : May 4th

    Great story! Love to see your half gallon ice cream challenge at Pine Grove. Good luck

  • Shannon : May 4th

    So what happened with backpack dude? Are you walking together?

    • Annemarie Athey : May 4th

      Haha no, I am walking solo. We are still in touch and remain friends. 😊

      • Nancy : May 4th

        So excited for you! I can’t wait to follow your post.

      • Fred W Hess : May 4th

        I can only say Wow! I wanna go so bad! Been training since last Fall. Got one more year till full retirement. Was a whopping 270 lbs and could barley walk a 100 yards! Now I’m 241 lbs and walked my first 9.5 miles! Your advice and input would be highly appreciated! Happy trails to you!

  • Tom : May 4th

    You can do this Annemarie. Enjoy the journey.

  • Shirley : May 4th

    I am excited to follow you on your adventures.

  • pearwood : May 4th

    Go for it, Annemarie!
    Steve / pearwood

  • James Clements : May 4th

    Umm 2000 people on AT right now way way too many At Hikes on youtube! Far too many AT books Shut the hell up and hike do it for you frankly no one else cares!

    • Kyla : May 5th

      What an ass. If you don’t care about stories of the AT why are you even on this webpage.

    • Kimberly : May 15th

      I for one want to hear her story. It’s well told and interesting, plus I am pulling for her! No one cares to hear your negativity. If you can’t say something positive to a hiker, shut up.

    • G Evans : May 25th

      Wow James, you are mental. In actuality there are lots of people who want to hear her story. Go jump in a lake and cool off….

  • Julie : May 4th

    I enjoyed your writing and I look forward to following your adventures!

  • thetentman : May 5th

    Great story and good luck. Congrats on sobriety.

  • David Groce : May 5th

    I imagine you were very good at bank management. I imagine you are even better at non-fiction writing. If you every write a book, then I’d buy it. Wishing you beautiful vistas and easy descents.

  • timmy timmy : May 6th

    meow i believe in u meow

  • Jeffrey Steven DAIGLE : May 7th

    We are here in Maine praying for your safe travels. I am planning my trip now a dream coming true my wife supports me 100 % you need anything up in Maine we are here to help so excited for you

  • Caroline : May 8th

    So proud and excited for you. Looking forward to updates.

  • Kimberly : May 15th

    I will be excitedly following your posts! Pulling for you! You got this. Don’t let the negativity of others pull you down. Fingers crossed and prayers all goes smoothly in your journey.

  • G Evans : May 25th

    Enjoying your story! Thanks for sharing and ignore the ignorant ones please.

  • Pat Estes : Jun 2nd

    I am rooting for you Annemarie (Zipsss)! I think you’ve already accomplished something for yourself. You even attracted a hating douche-bag (yes, you James!).

    Positive waves,


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