Everyone I know: You’re doing what? Me: How the heck did I get here?
In three weeks I will be leaving my home in Texas never to return, at least to my home. I’ll be starting at Springer on March 27th heading North. All that sounds pretty typical for an AT thru hike hopeful. From what I’ve read over the last six years though I’m sort of an anomaly.
A Brief History of My Time
First, a brief history of my time. I’m 54 and grew up in St. Louis in a typical middle class family. My parents owned their own business and taught me the work ethic that has driven me my entire life. I played softball and soccer and we went camping quite a bit. After graduating college I married and had two children. After 18 years I divorced and remarried gaining a wonderful husband and two more great kids, an awesome son-in-law, and two beautiful granddaughters). I’m an accountant and my career steadily progressed over time ending up in a vice presidency with a great company where I spent 16 of my 32 year career. Almost a textbook follow the rules life. That’s the bones of it. Of course there’s always more flavor in the meat.
So why would anyone leave all of that to spend six months in the woods? I don’t really know. A desire to be cleansed of many things is the best way I can describe it. That’s sort of odd to say since I will be filthy most of the time and stink to high heaven. As I hike I’ll share more in depth those feelings.
But why and how?
But why the AT? It all started about six years ago when I decided to start backpacking. While researching gear I started to read about the AT. Soon I was binge watching YouTube videos. It’s not just a 2,200 mile hike. It’s a community and spiritual experience experienced with God’s creation in your face for six months showing you where your eyes should have been the entire time and should be all the time.
Realisitcally I didn’t really ever think I would get the chance to actually thru hike. And even if I did I knew deep down that I probably wouldn’t. I’ve always, always, deferred on dreams to put first what I thought I should. I think my family thought the dream and fascination with the trail would pass and maybe I did too. Instead it’s only solidified. Still, I have a wonderful life and home so it was ok if it never happened.
The Tumblers Clicked to Open
Suddenly over the last year all the gears started to turn and the tumblers clicked into place. My husband (also a rule follower) has been unbelievably supportive and encouraged me to thru hike. My children, friends, family, and mentors have been overwhelmingly supportive. So here I go. This is a one time shot for me. If I don’t make it, and odds are I won’t, I will return to the trail but as a section hiker. Most thru hikers say that the mental part of the hike is the most daunting part. If that is truly the case then I like my chances. My aging body may betray me but I don’t think my determination to move forward to a goal will. Of course that’s easy to say sitting here in my sweats after a nice hot bath.
For the last six years I’ve been a voracious consumer of blogs, videos, and just about anything else AT related. I hope to pay forward everything that was learned on that journey as well as sharing the one in front of me. Thanks for reading and to The Trek for choosing me as part of their 2017 team.
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.