Appalachian Contemplation

This Whole Blog Writing Thing

Hello! My name is Marietta. I’ve had the Appalachian Trail bug since I was 12 years old. At that point in my life I was completely book obsessed. All I wanted to do was read and books were great! Alternate realities where you could go on absolutely any adventure? Yessssss! I happened to pick up a book called Halfway to the Sky. It was about a 12 year old girl (go figure) who runs away from home to hike the Appalachian Trail. Ludicrous, maybe? Since I’m Michigan born and raised, this was the first I’d heard of the trail. Instantly this was something that appealed to me and I can’t really explain why. I did spend quite a lot of time playing in the woods behind my house, but my family never really camped or backpacked. Occasionally we’d go on short day hikes, but nothing especially long. Yet this book, that in retrospect is a bit ridiculous, set in motion a dream that I’m now attempting to live. It’s strange what sticks with us through the years.


Yup. That's the book.

Yup. That’s the book.

Fast forward 11 years to life being somewhat of a jumbled mess. Whatever happened to that life plan? Wasn’t I supposed to be to point “x” by now? Why weren’t things going according to plan? There are a variety of potential answers to those questions and my particular life circumstances, but the ultimate answer that I’ve decided upon is that this is life. I have to find some way to adjust and move forward.

How to go about that has come in the form of the trail, as unexpected (or expected, perhaps) as that may seem. Fall of 2014 I started thinking about the trail again. My dream of hiking it had never gone away. Every couple of years I’d theoretically plan a thru hike and imagine what it would be like. And here I was, with whispers of it again. Initially I thought it would be a repeat of previous years, more of a fantasy than any sort of reality. But this time it didn’t fade away and I instead starting talking about it more. Just after Christmas I sat my mom down and had a conversation with her about potentially hiking the trail in the spring. She seemed somewhat indifferent, but didn’t tell me not to try for it. The more we discussed it, the more she understood my desire and reasoning. It didn’t take long before she was on board with my plan. I had familial support! Which was very unexpected and exciting for me.

Actually following through!

My biggest crux in life over the past few years had been not following through with plans for whatever reason. Sometimes it was me, sometimes it was someone else, sometimes it was just life. Whatever the reason, I’d started feeling like I’d failed. And now I was about to start planning something I could very well “fail” at all over again. But I didn’t!

It was hard, but I planned my thru hike in a little over three months. This included: buying literally everything, doing ALL of the research (I’m slightly neurotic about that), finding people to start my hike with (whiteblaze worked!), convincing my parents to watch my pup (he’s even less trail savvy than I was), finding a way to Amicalola (thanks Mom and Mar!), chopping my hair off (that’s mandatory, right?), doing all the family travels (I spent over two weeks traveling before my hike, I do not recommend this), and learning the logistics of backpacking (without actually backpacking). Whew! But I did it! I started my Northbound thru hike on March 27, 2015 from Amicalola Falls. Because WATERFALL.

This is Eli. He's my pup. Living the oh so comfortable life with my parents while I climb mountains. Gosh I miss his furry self.

This is Eli. He’s my pup. Living the oh so comfortable life with my parents while I climb mountains. Gosh I miss his furry self.

Obligatory "I chopped my hair off and I like it!" selfie

Obligatory “I chopped my hair off and I like it!” selfie



Looking back now that all seems sort of like a dream. I’m not sure what suddenly made me so capable of planning/preparing for something that big and then actually setting out and doing it. Maybe it’s because I wanted it so badly? Maybe it’s because I was so desperate for something? I’m not entirely certain, but I’m so thankful it worked.

I have sooooo much more to say all about this, but it’ll have to wait a bit! Similar to most Appalachian Trials bloggers I wonder, “Am I doing this right?” Pshh, I guess we’ll find out!

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Comments 3

  • Steph : May 27th

    I liked that book too, although I didn’t read it until I was an adult.

    I think I met you on the trail! I was doing a section hike, and it was before you got to Vandeventer. I remember your leggings 🙂

    Glad I can follow you on here!

    • Marietta Jones : Aug 6th

      I’m only just seeing this now! My goodness! Thank you very much for the comment! It makes me happy that I’m most commonly remembered by my leggings because they really are spectacular =] I’m a huge fan of them! It’s nice to know that someone read this and I hope your section went spectacularly! Thanks again!

  • Daniel E. Nash : Mar 27th

    Amazing! I am really pleased to see you progressing in such a way. Nothing in this world is easy until your motivation makes it so I choose to manage the college work. Wishing you all the best for your future goals.


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