I’m Hiking For Me: 35 Days

Hey ya’ll!

As many of you already know, my name is Caleb Bonner and I am thru-hiking the AT starting Feb. 25th. I just recently graduated from Western Carolina University in December and I am so very excited to start this journey! Originally I was going to start March 1st, however I moved it back a week in order for my girlfriend to meet me in Franklin and hike to Fontana Dam with me on her spring break.



Over the holidays, I tried to write down my lists that Zach Davis recommends in his really awesome book. However, I couldn’t. I couldn’t really think about why I was really doing it. However over the past month and with less than 35 days left until my departure, here they are..

I’m thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because…

  • I want to.
  • It’s been a lifelong dream of mine
  • I really want to push myself and my boundaries
  • I want to grow stronger as a person physically and mentally
  • I want to see the beautiful landscape God created
  • I want to prove my self-reliancy
  • I want to walk somewhere new every single day
  • I want to embrace the thru-hiker culture
  • I just graduated from college and why not
  • It’s on my bucket list

When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, I will…

  • Be a stronger man physically and mentally
  • Have gained so much knowledge about myself, others, and the environment
  • Have stories to tell for my entire life
  • Have become closer to God
  • Made new friends (young and old)
  • Be proud
  • Give back to the trail

If I give up on the Appalachian Trail, I will…

  • Most likely be seriously injured
  • Be dissapointed in myself
  • Get back out there and finish it


While some people’s lists are very long and complex, mine is quite simple. I want to get out there and live every single day fully and push myself to see what I am capable of.  With 35 days left until I get to Springer, I am feeling many things. Nervousness, anxiety, longing. Not in a bad way, but I am just ready. I know that everything will be ok when I get out there. I have packed and unpacked so many times, and done everything I think will prepare me for a successful hike. I am prepared and I am ready. I am ready for the greatest adventure of my life.

Happy Trails and God Bless!

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Comments 5

  • Deane Giordano : Jan 21st

    Right on, Caleb! I love the ideas of walking somewhere new every day, having stories to tell for your entire life (I’m totally stealing that and adding it to my list…hope you don’t mind) and getting back out there and finishing it if something goes wrong this time around. Your “If I give up list” tells me there is NO DOUBT that you’ll finish. I hope to meet you out there (but I’m starting later and probably hiking slower), but chances are I won’t. So leave your stories in the shelter logs for those of us bringing up the rear. Good luck! Ruby Throat.

    • Caleb Bonner : Jan 21st

      Right on! Thanks so much for the feedback!! Maybe we will cross paths and I will definitely be writing notes in the trail logs!

  • Brian : Jan 23rd

    I love your reasons for going on this walk. I hope to be able to do it myself someday. Look forward to seeing your post when you finish.

  • Rebecca : Jan 23rd

    Where are you staying before you hit the trail? My starting date is Sunday, 26th 🙂 so we’ll most likely see each other sooner or later.

    • Caleb Bonner : Feb 10th

      I’m staying in one of the surrounding towns the night before then getting dropped off at USFS46 that morning!


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