I’m Finally on the Trail – For Reals

All the planning and excruciatingly long 12 months have passed since I started training and to hike the AT. It seemed like forever and I had second thoughts that I was planning too long in advance for this epic journey. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t have done it any differently. Like planning any fun event in life, the anticipation is a huge part of the excitement. Planning and achieving my physical and mental conditioning became a nice gradual process. It helped me to set incremental goals for each month and gradually work my way into each routine.

My pack, complete with the first four days of meals, have traveled over 150 trail miles. So to say I’m prepared and ready is an understatement.  It’s all coming together. My wife and I rented an      Airbnb in Dahlongea, we drove up from Daytona Beach, FL—an eight-hour drive with our youngest daughter, Haley. We made dinner plans Friday evening with our new friends Mike and Barbara Cordisco in Gainesville. Michael is a very active member of the Georgia Appalachian Trail club; he is the sawyer chairman and serves on the structure committee also. From his house we can see 46 miles of the trail. Saturday, our oldest daughter, Shelby, and our new son-in-law, John, joined us in Amicaola to hike around the falls and take some pre-hike pictures.

As the excitement mounts, I get the same feeling that I’ve gotten from every baseball, soccer, or hockey game I ever played in; butterflies and a palpable anxiousness. I know the only cure is the trail, and I know I will be completely at home hiking and being in the woods. That is my happy place.

This is what I look forward to most: every turn in the trail, every new vista, trail fellowship, trail angels, challenges, and great meetups.  I start this awesome journey with my family and Mike as we hike from the AT parking lot to the Southern Terminus trailhead on Springer and back to the parking lot; from here I head north to Hawk Mountain Shelter or campsite. One more kiss goodbye to my bride, Denise and every step north will bring me one step closer to my return home.  Along my journey, I plan to meet up with both new and old neighbors, friends, friends of friends (some which I haven’t met yet) a reunion or two and an epic conclusion summiting Kathadin with dear friends.  This is it—for reals!

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Comments 5

  • Jan : Feb 19th

    Great to see that you are started. Nice pictures of you, family and scenery. Best of luck and hope that there are more sunny days than dreary days.

  • David Hawxwell : Feb 19th

    We’ll be following you all the way John. Go with God.

  • Johnny Ray : Feb 20th

    We’ll keep an eye on you and maybe get a chance to chat with you from the trail!
    Press on, every step gets you closer to Maine
    Johnny Ray

  • Dave & Beretta : Feb 20th

    Beretta and I say THANKS for hiking for Paws of War Florida. We’ll be following your progress along the way!!!

  • John Fik : Mar 15th

    Hey my friend,
    Praying for sunny skies, ample food and God’s blessing over your trip.


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