Danielle and Hannah take the trail

Hello wonderful people, this post is long overdue but it’s better late than never right? My name is Danielle and I’m embarking from Georgia to Maine on April 7, 2016 with Hannah aka best friend, superwoman and fellow outdoor enthusiast. Together we plan to take on the 2000 + mile trek raising money and awareness for mental health with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. If you want to follow our journey and learn something about mental health along the way please consider following our instagram and checking out our fundraising page

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So, why the Appalachian Trail? 

Hannah and I participated in pre-orientation on the Appalachian Trail at our respective colleges (Connecticut College and Trinity, go NESCAC!). This also happened to be my first experience backpacking.  According to the college freshman self-help book The Naked Roommate, pre-orientation programs are to be treated as mandatory commitments. As an incoming first year student at Trinity College, who happened to be incredibly anxious about the college transition, I decided to try something totally out of my comfort zone, QUEST; a four day backpacking trip on the Appalachian Trail. Now, you might be wondering what happened?

Initially, I wasn’t sold on my first backpacking experience due to a variety of factors such as yummering watery beans and blistered toes and feet; however, I valued the lessons I learned about accountability, adaptability and responsibility while on the trail. Ultimately, I grew to love backpacking (thanks to learning how to pack a pack, toe liners and investing in quality gear) as well as the powerful transformative experience of the outdoors. Trinity’s QUEST program allowed me to transition from the role of a participant to an instructor with a Wilderness First Aid Certification. Now, as college graduates with graduate school on the horizon- Hannah and I decided to tackle the AT, the trail where our college experiences started on. With our start date rapidly approaching- we can’t wait to start hiking and see all the trail has to offer!

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