So Come With Me, We’ll Go And See The Big Rock Candy Mountains
Hey there! My name is Rachael Upchurch and I want to introduce myself. I am 28 years old and live in the western suburbs of Chicago, Ill. I am heading north from Amicalola Falls on Feb. 28, 2018, to attempt a thru-hike. I have been planning this hike for over two years and I cannot believe it is almost here. I am newly married as of September 2017 and am leaving my hubby behind to hold down the fort as I start this adventure of a lifetime. My big three in terms of gear are the Osprey Aura 65L, Big Agnes Copper Spur UL1, and Enlightened Equipment Revelation 10-degree down quilt. My base weight is ten to 13 pounds. I feel like the big three and base weight are a prerequisite for introducing yourself to fellow hikers, lol.
I have never hiked up a mountain and honestly I have never even seen one – but my family was always avid campers and I have done two backpacking trips as well to prepare. My first was an overnighter at Mississippi Palisades State Park and the second was a two-night, three-day backpacking trip on the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin. I also do as much pack training as possible. I march up and down a set of limestone toboggan sled stairs near my house with my loaded pack on and I also do a lot of 30-minute sessions at the gym on the Stairmaster (so boring). I cannot wait to hike up to a view, no matter how many PUDS I have to go up and down to get there.
I plan on quitting my job as a medical biller and giving my current employer two weeks notice. I was originally planning on asking for a leave, but a job is a job is a job is a job and I am confident in finding a new position when I return. And who knows – maybe a whole new career.
I Am Hiking The Appalachian Trail Because…
I have 20 reasons written down for why I am hiking the Appalachian Trail. A few of my favorites are:
- So many people who I talk to say, Oh, that is awesome. I always wanted to do that. I do not want to be those people. I want to freaking do it.
- A lot of people have told me I can’t do it. They have tried to convince me that I won’t make it all the way or that I won’t even go. I have fought hard with my family regarding this. I will prove to those people that I am stronger than they could ever imagine.
- I am tired of walking around thinking that humanity is so terrible. From the few instances I have had hiking I have realized how different and kind the community is out there. I want my faith in humanity to be restored.
- I want freedom from society and the responsibilities of my day-to-day life. I have been working almost every single day of my life since I was 14. Half of my life as of this year. I want to experience life. I was not born to pay bills and die. I want to have fun and experience something new every single day.
- I want to inspire others to chase their dreams. Especially women. We are not required to sit at home and play house for our husbands. We should accomplish our dreams as well, just as we push others to do the same.
I am super excited to share this adventure with this amazing hiking community. I feel so honored to be a blogger for the trek. I learned so much information from this site and the amazing fellow hiking community, and I hope I am able to give something useful to someone else in exchange. Whether it’s motivation, tips for leaving a spouse behind, anxiety, gear info, budgeting, anything. Happy trails y’all!!
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.