Why Am I Hiking the Appalachian Trail?

The Beginning

Many years ago while I was camping in the Smoky Mountain National Park with my then fourteen year old son and my husband, we came across the Appalachian Trail. I had no knowledge of the AT before that. I remember stepping on the trail and looking one way down the trail and then looking the other way. My son was doing the same. We looked at each other and both said we want to hike this trail one day. As I walked off the trail I felt a pull.

Three years later I had moved to Frederick, Maryland. We would visit Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia often. Again, I found the Appalachian Trail. My son and I walked along the trail through Harper’s Ferry and vowed again that we would hike the AT some day. Same as before, as I walked away from the trail I felt the pull.

Fast forward ten years, living back near New Orleans, I was sitting at a friend’s dining room table. She threw down an article in front of me about the Appalachian Trail and said, let’s go hike it. I felt the pull instantly.

What was the pull?

That was when I started hiking the AT and I haven’t stopped since. Every year  for at least a week, I would plan a hike moving further up the trail each time. The urge to thru hike the trail was strong back then, but life got in the way. A thru hike is a hike doing the whole Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Main in four to six months.

I’ve surmised over the years that I’m addicted to the AT and the pull I feel is the trail calling me to come out and play and hike.

“Come. Come out and play”, it calls all the time. “Come out and share the beauty and challenges I have for you.”

So, for seventeen years I’ve gone out and played  and enjoyed the beauty and challenges that the AT loves to share. I’ve finished a fourth of the trail in that time. Every time I leave the trail I feel the pull.

The addiction continues.

As I’ve said above, all I can attribute  my attraction, need, want to hike the Appalachian Trial is because I am addicted to it. It calls me and I have to go. I can’t resist it. The urge to do longer and longer hikes every time I go out is strong. Now that I am retired I can. Two months this year, maybe more next year. I can see the end of the trail in sight even though it may be a couple of years away.

I will finish my first hike of the AT as a section hiker. A section hiker is someone who does one section of the trail at a time until the whole 2,194 miles of the trail is done. Will I stop hiking the trail after I finish? I seriously doubt that.

A thru hike is probably in my future somewhere. I can feel it calling me. I can feel the pull.



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Comments 3

  • Linda C : Apr 30th

    Waterfall, good luck on your trek. I will be doing my first solo section hike later this summer and will be looking forward to reading your future posts.

    • Waterfall : May 1st

      Good luck on your first solo, Linda.

  • Carla Robertson : Apr 30th

    I had a similar experience in Harpers Ferry years before I did my thru hike. I knew someday I would keep going on that trail and then I did! Happy Trails!


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