Hello from Sarah

Hi everyone! My name’s Sarah and I’ll be a 2014 Appalachian Trials blogger. I originally hail from Vermont, but in recent years have lived near Washington, DC. I’ll be starting my solo NOBO thru-hike in mid-March, and provided my parents haven’t moved yet, I’ll be able to walk directly home on the Trail. I have done 5 days on the AT already a few years ago during spring break. We covered all of Maryland and a little bit of Pennsylvania.

Why am I hiking?

You know, I watched a film recently on the AT, and something that resonated with me was how impossible the “why” is to put into words. It’s just something you know, in your heart. To be out in nature, to take in the views, to accomplish a big task, to wake up day after day in a sleeping bag that’s become home, to make more miles today than you did yesterday. To find yourself, or maybe not.

What I find fascinating isn’t everyone’s specific reasons, but rather the community of people who do it anyway. Who set out on this journey and meet others who have done just the same, and that is their strongest commonality. Once you’ve been a trail person, you are always a trail person. And you know, then and there. And you don’t have to explain. It reminds me of a poem our camp director would always read to us at the end of the summer, “Letter to an Old Camper” by Mary S. Edgar. I’ve copied part of it below:

“You may live in a house built to your taste
In the choicest part of town;
But some day for the old camp togs
You’d change your latest gown
And trade it all for a balsam bed
When the stars all night look down.”

The last stanza is this, and all you need do is replace “camper” with “hiker” (and perhaps you don’t even need that):

“For once you have been a camper
Something has come to stay
Deep in your heart forever,
Which nothing can take away;
And Heaven can only be Heaven
With a camp in which to play.”

I leave you with that thought. Good night and happy trails!

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