How ‘Glorified Walking’ led to my Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Attempt
Five years ago my family was set for a trip to the Smoky Mountains. We had a whole week planned to camp and hike and explore a new (to us) national park. Two days before the trip I was at a graduation party for a friend and we were all playing a game of volleyball. The ball goes out of bounds in their grassy yard and I jog to get it. BOOM! Step in a hole and fall over to a sharp pain. First thoughts? “Oh crap, I have to be at work in 45 minutes.” My friends are tending to me, but I assure them I’m fine. My rapidly swelling ankle just isn’t on the same page as my brain. It’ll get there. I proceed to head into work with a very noticeable limp. As I enter the locker area and go to change my shoes I notice how swollen my foot actual. Queue the tears. Needless to say, they graciously let me go home. As I embarked from the parking lot a new challenge ensues… every child’s nightmare… what do you tell mom!? My situation was innocent enough. Playing volleyball was making it sound like a real injury, whereas the reality of my clumsy nature was that I just stepped in a hole. I settled on ‘glorified walking’ and proceeded to spend my original week long adventurous vacation instead, icing my broken ankle, eating ice cream and watching TV in my living room. (I couldn’t find any good pictures except this.. clearly my official doctor visit to remove the cast.)
Nothing makes you say ‘Yes I can’ like life slapping you with ‘No you cannot’
Fast forward a year, and my mom and I actually make it to the Smoky Mountains. By this point my brother is too cool to join us and would rather slave away at his minimum wage job for a week than go on an adventure with his mom and sister. His loss! We spent a glorious week hiking, camping, and exploring the woods. It was a magical experience and sparked my initial knowledge of the Appalachian Trail. Many adventures have been planned since that fateful Smoky Mountains trip, but I’ve always come back to wanting more. So here we are; only five short weeks away from taking a plane out to Maine to start my Southbound AT adventure! I’m writing a list, idea courtesy of the ‘Appalachian Trials’ book by Zach Davis, that will supposedly help me prepare for the mental battle thru hikers experience. I’ll believe it when I make it to Georgia.
(Reasons in no particular order)
I am thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because…
- I love the outdoors
- It sounds like fun and all the pictures I’ve seen are pretty
- I want to prove I’m capable of doing anything I set my mind too
- I want to gain back my appreciation for the simpler things in life… like sitting around campfires, enjoying time with no cell service, and engaging with other humans without a screen
- My corporate America desk job doesn’t fulfil my passions, just my bank account
- I like to walk
- The time is finally right and we’ve got enough money to take a break from work
- I really enjoyed my semester abroad in college where I was displaced from the ‘normalcy’ of life and thrown into new experiences with new people. I’m thinking this experience will be similar, but better, since I’ve have my partner in crime with
- Glorified walking (AKA being clumsy) won’t stop me
When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, I will…
- Have confidence in my ability to survive the zombie apocalypse
- Have some kick ass stories to tell
- Have a crazy sense of accomplishment and pride in my adventuring ability
- Feel confused having to do the things that ‘normal’ non-thru hiking people do
- Enjoy sleeping in my own bed again
- Appreciate steady pay checks
- Know that an act of kindness (AKA trail magic to a thru hiker) really can brighten someone’s day
- Need to increase my Icloud storage capacity to fit all the pictures and videos I took along the hike
If I give up on the Appalachian trail, I will..
- Be sad
- Feel like trying again is mandatory to redeem myself
- Have to tell everyone that I quit
- Feel like I’ve wasted XX amount of time and XX amount of money hiking instead of doing something else
- Disappoint my hiking partner (AKA my husband Alex)
- Dive my time into other activities so I can ‘redeem myself
Our Southbound thru hike attempt starts towards the beginning of July, 2018. If you want to see cool pictures and get some good laughs at our failures and success stories, follow us on Instagram here.
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.