How to Meet Thru-Hikers While Prepping for the AT
As I am preparing for my upcoming thru hike of the Appalachian Trail, I have been seeking out advice from those who have hiked before me. At first, I relied on random people I found on Youtube to guide me in their vlogs, but eventually I started finding people in my community who could give me advice. There are many ways to find thru hikers so think outside of the box!
Read the Newspaper
When reading the newspaper, my coworker stumbled across an article that featured a thru-hiker who seemed close to my age. I reached out to her on Instagram, and I asked if she would be comfortable setting up a time to have a call or meet for coffee. She responded right away, and we made plans to meet for coffee.
It was wonderful getting to meet with someone from my area that had completed my dream of successfully thru-hiking the entire AT. Meeting with her was very encouraging and helped me gain a more realistic view of the trail.
It is no secret to my friends, family, coworkers, and random people I talk to in the grocery store that I am thru hiking the AT. I have learned that people LOVE to offer stories of their hairdresser’s son’s friend who did the AT or their second cousin twice removed who attempted to hike the AT.
Don’t be afraid to ask those around you to connect you with those who they know who have hiked or attempted to hike the AT. I’ve had text conversations, shared Facebook messages, and spoken over the phone with people from all walks of life that just happened to have a connection to someone in my life.
Each conversation I’ve had with a previous thru hiker has helped shape the preparations for my hike.
Get Out On Trail
As I’ve been prepping for my hike, I have been hiking with my pack on local trails. I’m based in Kentucky, so none of the trails around me are on the AT. However, I have managed to run into a few AT thru hikers in the foothills.
One day I was out hiking, and I ran into a couple that actually met on the AT. They gave me lots of advice, and they helped ease some anxiety I’d developed about starting the trail. They also helped give me a better understanding of the welcoming community that is awaiting me on the AT and helped explain aspects of the trail that I found confusing.
Moral of the Story
At the end of the day, connecting with fellow hikers is a great way to learn and develop comfortability with an upcoming hike. Start conversations with the people in your life about your hike because you never know who might connect you with the person who gives you just the advice you need.
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