I hiked 200 miles of the Appalachian Trail

I have hiked 200 miles of the Appalachian Trail and it feels AMAZING! I have met so many cool people and have learned a lot both about myself and about hiking. Here’s the run down of my learning moments and highlights from the first 200 miles.

On top of clingmans dome

Hike your own hike

I know everyone says “hike your own hike” but it’s honestly so hard. I have struggled to find a balance of staying with a group but also being independent. For the first week it felt good to be part of a group. Having other people planning where we’re going to camp and how we’re going to get into town took a lot of  the stress away. But now that I’ve gotten the hang of the planning aspect, I feel like I need to go off on my own and hike my own hike instead of staying with a group. I want to be able to wake up every morning and listen to my body instead of feeling stuck with a certain amount of miles that my group planned out the night before. It’s hard, but I’m slowly learning the true meaning of hike your own hike.

Entering great smoky mountain national park

I will get stronger

The first week and a half was really hard because my feet hurt so much at the end of everyday. Waking up every morning and knowing I was going to be in pain by the end of the day is so challenging. At night I would go to bed nervous about doing 15 miles the next day. The last four days I have felt myself getting stronger both physically and mentally. After a 15 mile day my feet don’t hurt anymore. My blisters are slowly turning into calluses and my boots and finally broken in. I can feel myself getting mentally stronger too. I am able to hype myself up, and instead of getting nervous for a long day of hiking I’m excited. I know this is only the start of my trail legs and trail mind but it feels so good to be able to already see myself getting stronger.

At the NC/TN line

It’s ok to struggle

I have had some really awesome days but also some really hard days. Some days I wake up and don’t even want to pack up my tent. Everyone has good days and bad days out here. On a day where I’m flying up the mountains, I might see someone else who is normally faster then me having a really tough time. And sometimes I’m the one who’s struggling up the mountain. One of my friends once told me that I can’t have two bad days in a row. Out here, it’s definitely true. I find that after struggling one day I feel really strong the next. I also like to find small things throughout the day that make the struggle a little easier. Sometimes it’s listening to a song I haven’t heard in a while or allowing myself to walk really slow for a few miles. Being ok with struggling through some of the miles but also staying positive at the same time is definitely something I’m slowly learning how to do. Maybe I’ll even learn how to enjoy the pain and struggles of walking everyday.

Crossing Fontana dam

Highlights from days 9 though 16

– I cow boy camped for the first time (just sleeping on the ground without a tent)

Cow boy camping

– I hitch hiked twice and met some really cool people who were willing to drive smelly hikers

– I crossed Fontana dam and entered the great smoky mountain national park

– I hiked 17.3 miles in one day which is my longest day so far

Enjoying the beautiful woods

– I hiked up clingmans dome and reached the highest point on the Appalachian trail (6644ft)

– I hiked 200 miles of the Appalachian Trail

Cold and windy at the 200 mile mark on clingmans dome

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Comments 16

  • Robbie Steen : Mar 17th

    Good on ya, Hannah! Wisdom beyond your years Hope today’s a good one with many more ahead. I’m 26 days out from my start at Springer.

    Reply
  • Laurie Haw : Mar 17th

    Dang girl you’re tearin it UP!! Your posts and pics are fabulous! You are such an inspiration to new AT starters, like myself, and those living at home in comfort! Ha!, living vicarously through your journey…Happy trails and continued safe travels! 😃

    Reply
  • Lavonna Skeans : Mar 17th

    What worked for my feet was coating them with Vaseline every morning, followed by toe socks, then darn tough socks. Also, keen boots one and a half size bigger than usual and after market insoles from Dr. Scholls ( the kind where you stant on a kiosk and it gives you a specific pair).
    I never had a blister.
    Happy Trails

    Reply
  • Jane : Mar 17th

    I’m so excited to follow your journey! You are walking my dream! I am 60 and have only been at the entrance to the trail. But I have done the steps! That was hard! Lol keep truckin Spring and I will follow your blaze right into summer!

    Reply
  • Ted Perry : Mar 17th

    Keep going, don’t let anything stop you

    Reply
  • NOMAD1C (trail name) : Mar 17th

    Maybe we’ll cross paths.
    I’m heading SOBO on May 1st.
    Remember this:
    It’s not about speed,
    It’s about endurance.

    Reply
  • Ralph B. Mahon : Mar 17th

    I prefer to hike with just my dogs. To me it’s like my kind of church. Peaceful, no TV or computer.
    As far as my feet, I have to use a belt sander to get rid of built up skin. No blisters.😊

    Reply
  • Neal B. Scott : Mar 17th

    You aren’t too far behind Taylor, the New Hamsha Hiker who also posted a youtube video of clingmans dome today. I know she posts her vlogs with a delay so you never quite know exactly where she is. But then maybe you ‘delay post’ too! Does seem safer.

    Reply
  • Debra McLaughlin : Mar 17th

    Way to go Hannah! I plan on starting next yr. I can only section hike. Reading your story so far is inspiring. Keep it up!

    Reply
  • Faith Breads : Mar 17th

    It isn’t about who starts the faster but who slows down the least! You’ve got this 🙂

    Reply
  • Rick : Mar 17th

    Way to go lady,I plan on doing a partial of the P.CT hopefully next month. I’m 61 and your youth on the A.Tinspires me..keep itgoingbut most of all enjoy it..godspeed Rickster

    Reply
  • Geoffrey Bevan : Mar 18th

    Way to go! I did the same 200 in two sections last year. I laughed when reading your sore feet comments. I’d swear someone spread rocks on every inch of the trail in GA!

    My favorite part so far was the last two days in the Smokies. The climbs and views were incredible and getting into the pines just south of Clingman’s was like being on another planet.

    Can’t wait to get back! Safe trails to you on your next section!

    Reply
  • Click : Mar 18th

    Yay, Spring! It’s great hiking with you. I’m so excited to see you finish this hike. Clingman’s was great! Gatlinburg is…interesting (in case you didn’t zero).

    Reply
  • Becky : Mar 19th

    So nice to read your thoughts! My son, Cheese Curd (a.k.a. Josh), must be right behind you by a day. He’s taking the semester of his college sophomore year off and loving every second of the trail. I hope you two run into each other. Wishing you all the best on your adventure!

    Reply
  • Nancy Silver : Mar 19th

    You are amazing!!! I love your updates and you are bringing your experience to life for me. I love that you are sharing your challenges as well as your joys. You are an amazing woman and I am so proud to know you and be part of your adventure. Love to you! Looking forward to your next update!

    love,
    Nancy

    Reply
  • Matthew Linscott : Mar 21st

    You are one of the many special people that are Inspiring myself to do the thru hike myself next year. Be safe and stay focused. “Never Give Up”

    Reply

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