Better Late Than Never!

Well hello there!  My name is Scotty, I am 25 years old, born and raised in Pennsylvania, and on March 17th I will be heading out on my NOBO thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail!  Before I get too far ahead of myself let me just tell you why YOU should follow ME as I blog about my journey with just a tidbit of my vast background in all that is outdoors:

  • 4 years ago I went for a walk with a friend and saw lots of trees with white lines painted on them…weird.
  • 3 years ago I had never spent a night in the woods.
  • months ago I had no idea what the Appalachian Trail was or what the heck a “thru-hiker” was.
  • 4 weeks ago I decided to tell my friends and family “IM GOING TO HIKE THE ENTIRE APPALACHIAN TRAIL THIS YEAR!”
  • 4 weeks ago I realized I was actually going to do this thru-hike thang
  • 3 days ago I applied for a blogging position at everyone’s favorite website for everything AT 😀
  • 2 days ago I got an email from the Zach Davis inviting me to blog for this very website! #finallyfamous
  • Today I received my final piece of gear in the mail, and now I just sit here and wait for my train.

As you can clearly see I am super qualified to be telling everyone everything there is to hiking the Appalachian Trail.

OKAY, okay maybe I don’t have a deep backpacking resume like the rest of the writers here on Appalachian Trials but HEY, EVERYONE LOVES AN UNDERDOG!  AND THAT UNDERDOG IS ME!

That is why your definitely going to want to follow along with me as I walk all 2189 miles of the Appalachian Trail this year!

Not only am I an underdog, I also have 3 of the cutest dogs in the world

Not only am I an underdog, I also have 3 of the cutest dogs in the world, thats 3 more great reasons to follow me

I’ll finally get serious now(maybe).   Also a quick disclaimer I did in fact graduate high school but my ability to spell and punctuate may not reflect that, sorry!  I’ll  give you a quick peak into my crazy life and it may get a bit long so again sorry in advance.  Four years ago I was in a very dark place, very depressed and trying to find a way out of it through drugs and partying.  I ended up finding myself laying flat out on an ER gurney one morning due to a pretty crazy car accident I was in.

The accident left me with two broken vertebrate (C7 & T1), a cracked open skull, torn ligaments and tendons along my spine, a broken nose and numerous broken ribs, severe head trauma, among numerous other injuries.

For the first three days it was a fight to keep me alive.

For the next week it was seeing if I’d ever be able to ever walk again.

I could go on for a long time about this event and time in my life but to say the least it shook me to the core and I knew I needed a change in my life.  I quit cold turkey all the drugs and separated myself from the party scene.  It was one of the hardest moves I ever made but one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.  I soon got involved in a Bible study of young adults and made a new circle of friends.   These friends truly shaped who I am today.  They took me on hikes and camping trips, something completely new to me and I immediately was captivated by the peace I got from going out into nature.

Over the next two years my desire for adventure grew and grew as I spent more and more time out hiking.  This past year I ran into a “thru-hiker” who opened my eyes to the AT and why my back was always hurting(my pack averaged 50lbs I think).  I knew right then and there this adventure was something I was going to do someday.  Here I am today, around 7 months later about to embark on that exact adventure.

Not sure really where I’m trying to go with all this but here’s a few reasons why I’m hiking:

  • Reflection.  I feel like I’ve grown into this routine I now call “my life” and it doesn’t feel right.  Don’t get me wrong I have a solid job,solid co-workers, solid church and Bible studies, the best friends and family a guy could ask for, but, I just feel like I need to take some time away from it all.  Five years ago I could never dream of having a life as good as the one I have today, I’m seriously so blessed!  Is this what I’m called to do with my life though? or is there something else or somewhere else I’m called to be right now?  I don’t have a certain question I’m seeking an answer for I guess.  It just seems right to take everything I know to be “my life” and remove it from my life for 6 months and see where my heart it called to go when all I know to be normal is removed.(hopefully that made some sense)
  • Direction.  Pretty much hit on this already but ya I really want to see where I’m meant to be living, career I’m to follow after, or whatever might be revealed to me through a six month escape from ‘the real world.’
  • A calling.  I’ve felt a calling to do something with my faith for some time now, and I’ve stuffed it down and tried to quiet it and ignore its obvious tug on my life.  I can no longer ignore this.  Along my hike I hope to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those I meet.  I’ve done different outreaches and ministries over the past 4 years and I always get so pumped up over it for a few days after and slowly it fades away.  So now I’m going to be striving to not let that fade but share the message everyday of hope and life through Jesus Christ, the message that has singlehandedly changed my life from that of drug addiction, suicide and utter hopelessness into a life full of love, happiness, purpose and eternal hope that nothing can ever change.
  • To grow in my relationship with Christ and put Him before myself on a daily basis. To not just read and know the teachings of the Bible but to live them out daily.  I really want to challenge my faith, I won’t be attending church and Bible studies daily like I have for the past four years and I believe this will truly challenge my walk in an new way that will force me to depend on Him more than ever.  From my experiences in the past these times can actually be the most fruitful, when we have no one or thing to cling to but Him we truly allow God to show up and move in our lives in new and miraculous ways.
  • Cuz nature is beautiful. Duh.
  • I need a change of pace.  No electricity, running water, toilets, warm beds, wifi, or microwave… this should be, um, fun….?
  • I am craving an adventure larger than life.  6 months, 2189 miles, all on my own two feet? yea thats a pretty big adventure I guess.
  • I have the rest of my life to work and save money.  The biggest complaint I’ve heard about this hike of mine is how its “irresponsible” and how I “should really be thinking about my future”.  Hiking for 6 months is A LOT cheaper than living a regular lifestyle in America, like a lot, the amount of money it will cost me to hike for 6 months equates to a little over a months pay.
  • If not now, when?
  • To live simply.  Whats a more simple lifestyle than walking everyday with everything you need to survive for six months on your back?
  • I don’t want to be boring.  Hahah this is kinda a joke but seriously how many people have you met that have tried something so radical and crazy?  Even if I fail to complete the trail I believe even attempting this will be something I will look back on as a great decision.  Plus I will have pretty dope stories for when I get home (BECAUSE I WILL COMPLETE IT!)
  • Postponing happiness until retirement is a flawed life approach.  (sorry for stealing this from your book Zach its just too fitting a reason though)”work for 45 years, and then and only then you can relax, follow your dreams, and take a nice long vacation.”  Sorry but that just doesn’t make any sense to my brain haha.  I’ve treated my body pretty bad for the first 25 years of use, and by the time I’m of age to retire there is no way I’ll be able to do even half of the things I’d like to!  After what I’ve been allowed to live through, every single day is a gift, and I need to treat it like that.  So now it is…
  • To meet new people.  The AT is famous for its trail towns and the community it has created for people who love to hike and be in nature.  I want to meet others who seek to live outside of a digitized screen.  To connect with others, listen to their stories, to care for, help, serve and show love to everyone I meet along the way, and at every given opportunity also share the Gospel and my story.
  • Photography.  I’ve really grown to love to take pictures.  I hope to take a couple of them while hiking in the mountains for six months, but not so much pictures of the mountains but the people in them walking with me.  Because lets face it there’s already enough insanely beautiful pictures by way better photographers with way better cameras out there already taken so why should I try to recreate something thats already been done?  I want to remember the faces and people and memories I capture not a poorly attempted starry sky night time lapse (although I will most likely still try)
  • Camping is fun.  Why not do it for around 180 straight days?
  • The great unknown.  Because why not try something new in a new place every single day for half a year!

These are just a few of a multitude of reasons to why I want to try something so outlandish and I probably forgot a lot more great reasons to why but to be honest this list could be unending because…this just makes sense to me I guess?  And Im sorry if it doesn’t to you 😛

Follow along with me on my journey here on AppalachianTrials

& also find me on Instagram @scotty_hikes

Thanks for reading and stay tuned, much more to come soon!!

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Comments 10

  • Gina Jones : Mar 10th

    God bless you Scotty and keep you safe – it was so moving at CCQ lst night. Never apologize for what you are doing, your grammar – you keep going dude – follow the Holy Spirit who is leading you. You are a true miracle and are showing you love, gratitude, humbleness and obedience to the Lord. Prayer & hugs, Gina

    • Scotty Hayden : Mar 10th

      Thanks so much for the support it was nice meeting you lastnight!! I’ll be sure to come back with quite a story to tell at the end of this epic hike!

  • Vicky Syfrett : Mar 10th

    I am so proud of the man you have become and excitedly look forward to sharing in your journey, You are so right that we should not wait till we retire to do “the fun stuff”. I have dreamed most of my life to take that hike.. Kept putting it off. Now am not physically capable. I will be praying for you while on this journey. A long way from T.C.

    • Scotty Hayden : Mar 13th

      Thank you, means a lot!

  • Mike Pflueger : Mar 10th

    This is awesome man, watch out for bears.


    • Scotty Hayden : Mar 13th

      thanks man! hope you can make it out there with me for a section!

  • Jose : Mar 11th

    A true story that inspires, that’s what’s up Scotty. Will be following.

    • Scotty Hayden : Mar 13th

      thanks man!!

  • In2w8s : Mar 13th

    Thanks for sharing your testimony! I’ll be praying for those God is going to place in your path to share His love! I’ll be hiking the Georgia part of the AT with my friends first part of April. Look forward to following you on your journey! And…GO EAGLES!!!!

    • Scotty Hayden : Mar 13th

      hey thank you! Hope you have a great time out on your hike! and yes GO BIRDS!!


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