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.
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.
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.
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.
Highlights from days 9 though 16
– I cow boy camped for the first time (just sleeping on the ground without a tent)
– 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
– I hiked up clingmans dome and reached the highest point on the Appalachian trail (6644ft)
– I hiked 200 miles of the Appalachian Trail
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.