Are we there yet?

Hello! My first post! I’m Will! I’ll be starting a NOBO thru hike in late May of 2016 right after I graduate high school. I’ve been planning this for years now, so it’s exciting that I’m now only 7 months away! I get it, I’m crazy. I’m in high school, what’s wrong with me? High schoolers aren’t supposed to have this much ambition. I should be following the path of every other kid in my class and going to college in the fall. Instead, I’ll be taking a year off college and doing something totally amazing in the meantime. It’ll be way better than college would be. Most people are pretty surprised to hear that I’m hiking 2,000 miles in the woods instead of going to college. They think I’m crazy but that’s alright. I didn’t expect people to understand, but I’ve gotten really positive feedback. Most people admire that I have the courage to do something different and follow my dreams. I’m trying to split time between schoolwork and researching as much about the trail as possible so that I’m as prepared as I can be when I finally head out there. I’m in the process of obtaining all my gear and starting my training now. I’ll get to my gear in a later post, but for now, why the hell am I doing this? Well, here’s my lists.

I am thru hiking the Appalachian Trail because..

  • Why not?
  • I’m seeking adventure and challenge, and I want to do something meaningful with my life, something most people my age have not done.
  • I love backpacking and camping, and I’ve been spending time in the great outdoors as long as I can remember.
  • I want to be different. I don’t want to do what everybody else does, I want to be my own person, hike my own hike.
  • I don’t know when I’ll have another opportunity. I’m thru hiking straight outta high school because I want to accomplish my dream before life gets in the way. Before I get caught up with college, and then work, and then family. This could be the only time I have, and I don’t want to waste it.
  • I don’t want to have any regrets. I’ve been planning this for so long, I can’t not do it at this point. I don’t want to look back several years from now wishing I had done it.
  • I want to disconnect from the real world and reconnect with nature.

When I successfully hike the Appalachian Trail I will…

  • Be super muscular!
  • be part of the elite club of thru hikers
  • Be THAT kid. That kid from high school all my classmates talk about. You know, “did you hear what HE did? He hiked the whole Appalachian Trail, that’s awesome! What have we done?”
  • Have made a lot of people proud. Family, friends, and most importantly myself.
  • Have a lot of new, awesome friends
  • Have learned some things I could never learn in school
  • be a new person. I’ll be completely changed, and for the better.

If I Give up on the Appalachian Trail I will…

  • have failed to do what I set out to do. Failed to make my dream come true.
  • Let a lot of people down, all those people who are expecting me to finish. All those people I told I would do the whole thing.
  • Have wasted a year off of college
  • Have missed out on a lot of new experiences and amazing sights
  • Have wasted my money and time
  • Be seen the rest of my life as someone that almost did it. I won’t be unique, I’ll be just another person that tried and failed.

I can’t wait to get out there on the trail and make my second list true! Happy hiking!



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Comments 5

  • George Turner : Nov 6th

    First let me say that if I could jump in the Delorean and go back to talk to my 18 year old self I would tell him to do just what you are planning. May is kind of late. You are only giving yourself 4 months to get to Katahdin. Have you considered going Southbound?

  • The Chief : Nov 6th

    Congrats on the Eagle Scout! And ditto to what George says….on both the 18 year old self and to the late start. But you’re young, you can probably pound out more 20s than this old guy…lol

  • Steve : Nov 6th

    As a Eagle Scout myself, congrats on your rank and your goals. Definitely easier to take the time off as a high school graduate than waiting until you are married with a family. HAVE FUN and be safe.

  • betsymarshall : Nov 7th

    Historically speaking, many people do not complete on their first try; it does not make them failures. They come back next year and try again. Many of them repeat the trail several times over their lifespan. NOT coming back and trying is what makes someone a failure. (injuries happen, illness happens, family stuff happens, life happens…this does not make you a failure, it makes you someone who keeps coming back.) HYOH and have a great time!

  • Loretta : Nov 11th

    Congratulations on winning the hiking gear! It’s great that you have so much support from family and friends. Like any pilgrimage, I think the transformation will come as much from your openness to the experiences along the way as from completion of the quest, from how you respond to setbacks as well as from the achievement of benchmarks. I admire your enthusiastic ambition and look forward to reading your blog. I think this will be just the first of many “once in a lifetime” challenges for you. 🙂


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