Fat and Bald and I Haven’t Left Amicalola

Today is my 28th birthday,  and tomorrow I start the Appalachian Trail. That statement lacks prose and insight,  but I want to write the truth and this is my truth.

My brother and I decided to hike the stairs of the Approach Trail today (the 24th) as we are staying in the lodge at Amicalola. I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the first, albeit short, leg of our hike.


But here’s the thing.  I’m a realist.  I woke up this morning also knowing that what I’m about to do will be an adventure,  yes, but also a living nightmare until I get my trail legs.  You see, today was really a litmus test of my capabilities and limitations.

Since November,  I’ve gained 50 lbs. I’m not sure why (and no,  it’s not a pregnancy and yes if things get worse I’ll see a doctor). I think my new medications are mostly to blame, as well as not being as strict with my plan, but the point is somehow I’ve gone the opposite direction of becoming trail ready.  It’s gonna be hard out there for me,  the hardest, scariest thing I’ve ever done.  But I can do it and come into my own.20150324_125603-1


I’m not gonna throw a pity party, but I will be real with myself.  I will be tough on myself, and push myself.  But I will also be kind to myself and listen to my body, even if it’s not the “right” one for the trail right now.  And I’m not going to let my psyche get to me in these first few weeks.

Climbing the stairs was so difficult and I wasn’t even wearing a pack. How much muscle had I lost since my shakedown in November? But I also told myself that I would make it through.  As my other brother said, think of the upcoming weeks as Doubles  (he was a football player). If you make it through those,  then you have no reason to quit. That’ll be my mantra for the next few months.

My other point of contention was with my hair. As mentioned in a couple previous posts I have trichotillomania, or compulsive hair pulling (so if you don’t like hearing about mental illness, tough shit, it’s 2015 and we need to stop pretending these things don’t exist or matter). Anyway,  I was so anxious for the trail that I spent 2 hours pulling my hard earned hair.


I know a majority of you may be wondering “what’s your point?”. It’s simply this: I want to look back on today and see where I began,  and how far I’ve come.  I’ve came so close to giving up on everything before and I vowed never to give up on myself again.  I’m going to pour my heart and soul into doing what I love and making this hike a great adventure. And even though now I may not have the perfect body, the best head of hair, or the most unbroken brain, I WILL challenge myself each and every day. At the end of the day and the end of the trail, if I do my best, I’ll know once and for all I’m stronger and better than I was before.

I can definitely do this. Next time you hear from me I’ll be several miles in and ready for anything.

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Comments 8

  • Maggie : Mar 24th

    Erin! You’ve got this girl. Rocky and I are just over 200 miles in, and it gets so much better/easier. The first 10 days or so were really hard. It’s fun and exhilarating to be on the trail finally, but our bodies were not ready at all, we didn’t train at all, and both of us had gained weight in the few months before we left. Oops. My knees, ankles, shin, feet… Everything just HURT. When we got to Hiawassee, I legit couldn’t walk to the grocery store. I just had to lie down and elevate my legs. You have a great attitude and that will get you through the first tough few weeks. I can’t wait to follow along with your hike. I’ll leave you notes in the shelter logs! -Maggie (Tortoise)

  • TyphusTheTraveler : Mar 24th

    I gained 20 pounds (not muscles) since I started a lot of walking including regular 20-30 mile walks (i.e. every weekend that I can). I had to stop worrying about that. It’ll go away. I walk because I like it but it also alleviates my depression just enough to keep me from offing myself. We all walk for different reasons. Happy trails.

  • Jeanne Church : Mar 25th

    Wishing you the best on your epic journey!

  • Meg @ Adventures in Verdance : Mar 25th

    I totally understand the weight/trich struggle. Remember that you are fabulous and keep going! Fun fact: Whenever I want to pull hair, I go on a hike (if I can). Usually snaps me right out of it. It’s taken a long time to train my brain that way, but somehow it started working for me.

    No matter what — own your beautiful, strong self.

  • Tamara D : Mar 25th

    Love your attitude. If we waited til we are perfect to start something, we’d never start. Yep, the beginning will be tough, but you are lapping everyone that is home on the couch. Now go and kick ass.

  • George Brenckle : Mar 25th

    I’m jealous that you are starting tomorrow! I’m still 60 days out from my start SOBO and am getting very antsy. And I can relate to the weight gain! I think that I’m eating more in anticipation of burning more calories (without actually burning them!) – not the direction I should be going in right now…. Best of luck and hope we cross paths somewhere in Pennsylvania.

  • Dee : Mar 26th

    You go girl!

  • imin2w8s : Mar 26th

    Pulling for you! Look forward to seeing your future posts!


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