Harpers Ferry or Bust: It’s Not All About Katahdin
There are a few picturesque images that flash through one’s head when mentioning the Appalachian Trail. For me, it’s the ponies. For Instagram, McAfee Knob. Successful thru-hikers: the sign at the peak of Mount Katahdin. You know the one. THE sign thousands of hikers get on trail to climb atop and get their picture taken with. It signals: YOU HAVE MADE IT! You have successfully completed an Appalachian Trail thru-hike. That’s not the case for all. NOBOs only. SOBOs get the pleasure of awkwardly posing next to a lil cute baby plaque affixed to a rock on top of Springer Mountain. Me? I’m gonna dance, boogie, and slip-n-slide into the Harpers Ferry ATC at the end of my thru-hike.
The flip-flop way of the trail is the much less popular journey. In fact, when I tell people how I plan to hike the trail they usually respond with:
Nah, that’s cheating
I react with a quick
That’s not a thru-hike Yuh huh
Why would you do it like that? lotsa reasons
First the basics,
- less impact on the trail
- less people and crowding
I’m embarking on Earth Day. I love Earth Day. It’s my second favorite holiday, because let’s be real, nothing beats the extra hour on fall back daylight saving. In fact, even when I worked night shift, and one o’clock round two would creep around, I wouldn’t get too upset. Instead, my coworker Shamanda and I dubbed it guacamole hour and celebrated with some homemade avocado deliciousness.
I am a self-proclaimed modern hippie. I typically have bags of recycling in my trunk that I dig out of garbage cans or pick up off the street. I am super conscious of water and electricity waste. I give the evil eye to Styrofoam users. I rarely take a plastic bag and will drop ALL my items, one by one, on the way to the car in order to punish myself for not bringing my reusable bag. If I know you well enough, and it is warranted, I will gladly lecture on my soapbox about how your individual decisions affect the environment.
When I discovered the negative impact of the increase of hikers on the AT, then subsequently learned there was a way to limit my own, choo choo I’m all aboard!
Get Away from Me
I am letting the weather work in my favor. The rain will come. I’m cool with that. But the snow. That dreaded snow is not my friend. I know my role and I know my comfort zone. My original plan was to be a SOBO hiker. However, watching numerous hikers in previous years have to get off trail after being snowed out in the Smokies, well, I changed my plan.
Back Where We Started
It’s time to step foot on trail. Although I’ll start and finish at the exact same spot, I most certainly won’t be the same person. There won’t be a point A to B straight line that I follow. My path will be fragmented but my journey will be continuous. I won’t have that Katahdin sign to pose in front of or on top of at the end. But my feet will travel the same path, and it certainly still counts. Catch you on the flippity flip!
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