Because I Can…

I suppose this is the official announcement of my AT hike to the online world. It was unofficially done for me earlier by a Potomac Appalachian Trail Club overseer after a trail maintenance trip I went on with the local chapter. Why am I doing it? Well, because I can! After contemplating my options post masters degree, I am absolutely sure jumping into a full time job/mortgage/marriage, etc. is not for me at this point in my life. By the time I finish my MS this December, I will have been in the U.S. (‘merica!) education system for 19 years. 19 years!! At (almost) 25 this is 3/4 of my life! What?? And like most self-righteous recent college graduates, I have no desire to use all the technical environmental science knowledge I accumulated the last 6 years in some ho-hum career. So I will take a break and hike the AT instead. I can only hope my 90 year old grandfather won’t judge me too hard.

My favorite local hike just off the AT in VA, Spy Rock.

My favorite local hike just off the AT in VA, Spy Rock.

The Story of My AT Inspiration

I’ve known of the AT for awhile but never thought a thru hike was something for me. I mean, who really wants to shit in the woods for 6 months of their life? (Holla to my BFF Avary) A good friend of mine thru hiked in 2013 and while I thought he was totally rad for doing it, I still wasn’t interested. Until one night in my first semester as a stressed out grad student, a colleague invited me to see Anton Krupicka give a talk at a viewing of a film he starred in called In The High Country. To sum Tony up into one sentence: he is a skinny, tan, mountain-running god. Who wouldn’t be inspired to do BAMF things after meeting him? My new friend and I got to the local Quaker school early (pacifists love long distance running?) to get good seats. While waiting for the film to start, she told me I should read this book about the AT called “Becoming Odyssa” by Jennifer Pharr Davis. I love books and hiking, so I agreed. She also said if I liked the book, I should consider thru hiking with her. I nodded my head and said “Maybe”, while thinking, “No way, this girl is insane”. Little did I know she had planted the seed in my brain. Trail-inception if you will. Within a few months all I could think about was hiking. I was hooked. I wanted to be a thru hiker.

Not Tony Krupicka, but one better. Jenn Pharr herself. Me on far left, hiking inspiration friend on far right. Everyone else just awesome people.

Not Tony Krupicka, but one better. Jenn Pharr herself and baby Charley. Me on far left, hiking inspiration friend on far right. Everyone else just awesome people.

So What’s the Plan Now?

Since that fateful day, I’ve spent a lot of my time (that likely should have been spent doing research) reading and researching about the AT. I got my hands on JPD’s second book Called Again, AWOL on the Appalachian Trail, Walking with Spring, A Walk in the Woods, Thru, and of course Appalachian Trials. I have most of my gear already purchased except a few smaller things like sock liners. And I’ve kind of convinced my parents that I won’t be putting my life in jeopardy to walk 2,000 miles in the woods by myself. Lately I’ve been biding my time by hiking locally in the George Washington National Forest and Shenandoah National Park and forcing my boyfriend to stop at all places AT on long drives back to his home state of Georgia. I’ll be finishing up my MS shortly and then will be counting the days until I start my hike. And to finish my first post, a quote written by the author in my signed copy of “Thru” that I bought while at Amicalola State Park:

” The AT belongs to us all. Go hike it!” – Richard Judy

 

First, we went to Mountain Crossings on my birthday last year.

First, we went to Mountain Crossings on my birthday last year.

Then to Nantahala Outdoor Center. Scott Jurek was right. The voracious vegan burger is super tasty.

Then to Nantahala Outdoor Center. Scott Jurek was right. The voracious vegan burger is super tasty.

And most recently to Amicalola State Park to see the falls and take weird pictures with the approach trail sign.

And most recently to Amicalola State Park to see the falls and take weird pictures with the approach trail sign.

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 1

  • Avatar
    John Casoni : Jun 10th

    Olivia, So how do you keep your pack from being stolen? Just keeping it in sight all the time? Do you think the crowd this year is because of Wild and A Walk in the Woods? Anything you brought that you should have left behind or forgot to bring? What do you use to keep your blog going? Paper? PC? Thanks.
    John

    Reply

What Do You Think?