Baby you got the gear, now shut up and hike.

I guess I should start this blog with who I am. My name is Mackenzie and I grew up in a small, rural town in New Jersey only 25 minutes from the Delaware Water Gap, where the AT transitions from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. I also attended a Girl Scout Camp in Pine Grove, PA most of my life. So, I’ve seen (and given a ride to) a few thru-hikers. Plus, I have day hiked on the trail in a handful of states.

I’ve interrogated every thru hiker I have come in contact with.

I kept the idea of thru-hiking in the back of my head and had it listed, among many other adventurous activities, on my bucket list. I recently got to a point in my life where I was unsatisfied and looking for a change. Frankly, I was yearning to slow down. So, I jumped and made the decision to hike NOBO from Amicalola Falls, on March 22.

Until recently, I worked for a small non-profit that works with kids with cancer. When I started there as an intern in October 2016 it seemed perfect so, I moved to Baltimore, MD and accepted a position full-time after graduation in May 2017. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as planned and I decided I needed to find something new.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Overall, I have been blessed and I am  thankful for that but, my life hasn’t all been easy. In November 2015 my long term boyfriend, Nathan Orsini, passed away from brain cancer. Since then, I have realized that I can’t take my health for granted. This made it easier for me to leave my job, apartment, and perfectly planned life to be a nomad for roughly 6 months.

I officially decided to thru hike the Appalachian Trail on October 15.

After spending the day in DC I saw an AT bumper sticker on a car in the parking garage. By the end of my 20 minute drive home I had decided I would hike the AT in 2018.

Since that day, I haven’t looked back. Immediately, I began researching. I joined Facebook groups, bought the official AT planner, created an Instagram and watched countless hours of YouTube videos. I am too excited to sleep most nights, I stay up until 2 a.m. because my brain is churning.

The first gear I purchased was three pairs of darn tough socks.

I needed to get gear, because I’ve never done an overnight backpacking trip. Within a month of deciding to thru-hike the AT I bought my sleeping bag, its liner, my tent, my pack, my puffy jacket, and three pairs of socks.

For someone as frugal as I am, the rapid spending of money made hundreds of alarms sound in my head. I have already starting pushing myself to new limits.

This sure isn’t the life I planned, but it is a life I love.

Affiliate Disclosure

This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!

To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.

Comments 6

  • Sharon : Nov 27th

    This is awesome!! So excited to follow along on your blog.

  • Christeen : Nov 27th

    You such a brave soul.whoo…hoo….

  • Ambular : Nov 28th

    I am so proud and encouraged by you!

  • Stephanie Wieder : Nov 28th

    I am so excited for you! You are making memories that will last a lifetime! So proud of the brave and strong woman you are! We will be cheering you every step of the way! Can’t wait to to follow your journey! Love, hugs and kisses! ??

  • Crayola : Nov 29th

    I’m excited to follow your blog Wilt! I wish you well in your journey. Remember, adventure is out there xx

  • Dan Orsini : Dec 9th

    Very cool indeed. I think we have drifter friends near some of the points where the AT touches civilization and since part of the adventure is bumping into souls we should figure out the possibilities. Love you much


What Do You Think?