Here Goes My First Blog Post…
Hello blogger audience! My name is Emma; trail name TBD, with much anticipation. Although as I write that, I knowingly ensure my fate of being bestowed a particularly embarrassing one, such as Queen Queefer. I’ll start off by saying that I’ve never blogged before, but I am really looking forward to this journey and sharing it with whoever reads along!
I am 24 years old and from Boston. I am a part-time student and a part-time wildlife veterinary technician. I’ll be applying to vet school this upcoming cycle, which means cranking out my application as I prepare for and hike the AT. I also have a 1½-year-old standard poodle named Lillian, or Lily for short; trail name TBD. Yes, Lily will be hitting the trail with me! I know this can be a controversial topic and decision, but that can be a post for another time. We’ll be heading out SOBO around July 3. So what brought me to this moment in life when I’ve decided to tackle the Appalachian Trail?
4 Score And 7 Years Ago…
Well, it wasn’t that many years ago when I first heard of the AT. Growing up in New England, I can’t recall the first time I actually heard of it. It just was there. That was fact. However, I first remember liking the idea of doing it after my first real backpacking trip in summer 2010. I was going into my junior year of high school and was on a monthlong trip to India with a group of peers. We went through World Challenge. You always hear about Outward Bound and NOLS, but I highly recommend World Challenge (the expedition one).
So, the next summer, there I was, on the AMC leadership trail crew in the Berkshires. I still have my journal and I was crying laughing when I reread some of those entries. My favorite quote? “My life is average: I am a sexually frustrated teen.” On the verge of 18, I had a huge crush on my 22-year-old trail crew leader. In typical teenage fashion, I wrote, “he must think I’m a pathetic teen.” Anyway, in those three weeks I went from “hmmm, I could see myself hiking the AT” to “I HAVE TO DO THIS!” I fell in love, not with Mike, but with the trail and the culture. I would talk to thru-hikers and section hikers as our team pulaskied and raked our way along an AT reroute to prevent erosion.
With the seed planted, I took my AT dreams a step closer the following summer. My sister, another hiker, backpacker, lover of nature extraordinaire, and I hiked the 100-Mile Wilderness. I truly wish she could come with Lily and me. Even though we get along famously, after 10 days hiking the wilderness, she was on a short stick with me, literally. She had twisted her ankle in the last three miles and had asked me to fetch a walking stick for her. My mind had gone all WFA (wilderness first aid), so I brought back sticks that would be good for makeshift splints. At the time, she was not amused, but we laugh about it now. That trip was incredible, and it only strengthened my dreams of thru-hiking the AT. But dreams rarely become realities, so what is making this now an actuality?
Gosh Darnit, I Must Do It
After hiking the 100-Mile Wilderness, I began college. As I weighed options for summers, semesters, and the following months, I was always considering ways in which an AT thru-hike would fit into the plan. Of course, it was never the right time. I’d get caught up in job opportunities and would feel that I couldn’t take time off from furthering myself in a career or profession. Also, I was way too chicken to take a semester off from school and actually do some soul-searching. No, instead, I decided to suffer through depression and other shit, grit-and-bearing my way through baccalaureate just so I could be done with it rather than actually enjoy myself. Well, needless to say, post-Colby left me in a very unstable place mentally. I look a job where I had a breakdown, and my parents brought me home to focus on me and my mental health. That was fall 2016.
As I was working on myself, I began to regain some sense that I might have time to take off to start my journey. However, I was committed to this therapy thing, so I had to wait until that was over. By the time that was over, I had already been interning at my current job and was lined up to be promoted to a technician. Once I started doing that, dreams of veterinary school came into focus. You see where this is going? My life was once again on a path of defined cycles of classes and applications and other necessary work… HOLD UP. This is life. It’s always going to have these plans. So. I. must. find. a. way. And that’s what I did! Well, that’s what I’m doing. I am deciding to take on the Appalachian Trail before I get too caught up in pursuing veterinary school and finding a husband and having babies and LIFE. So, here goes! Wish me luck!
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All I can say is WOW! This hike sounds so exciting. I am looking forward to reading your blog while you hike the Appalachian Trail with Lily. Take lots of pictures. I’m glad you are waiting until the temperature warms up. Sending big hugs.
I enjoyed your first blog post and look forward to hearing about your adventures on the trail!
Good Luck! I also hike with my standard poodle. How will you handle the mud and wet hair? It can take a long time to dry. Also standards are not fully grown until about 2 meaning joints are still maturing. Have you discussed a long distance hike with your vet? Finally, I hope you can keep up with her!! As you know, poodles have endless energy.
So exciting to be following you as you do this! What an adventure!
It is refreshing to read about younger people that start trying to achieve their dreams early in life.Rather it makes a journey like hiking the entire AT any easier, it’s hard to tell.
Being sixty years old and bicycling around the entire perimeter of the US two years ago and completing a canoe paddle of the entire Mississippi River this past year, I am also going to be SOBO hiking the AT, starting on July 15.Hope to catch up with you to compare notes!
Should be fun reading about your adventures,daily happenings! I’m also in my 60’s and will try to do the AT some point in time? Great luck to you! And have a great time. Keep on trucking dudet. 👍🏼😎