I’m Off to See the Wizard (on the Appalachian Trail)
Ladies and gentlemen, if you haven’t heard already, I, Hayden Cox, will be hiking the Appalachian Trail starting in the beginning of March 2020.
There, There Hagrid. It’s Not Really Goodbye After All
After a few months at a wonderful job, I’ve informed my boss I will leave the firm on February 28. With ~five months before I start law school, I want to maximize this time in my life by doing something I may never get the chance to do again. And with me—for some unknown reason and perhaps some latent masochism—that means making myself extremely uncomfortable by living in the woods for the next several months.
Other than a few odds and ends, I have all my gear: tent, sleeping bag, socks, underwear, you name it. I signed up with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy to register my hike—which, for anyone considering a hike of any distance, is a responsible thing to do. I tested out all my gear on an overnight trip to Jones Gap in South Carolina (good thing too, my tent’s rain cape did not work at all). Lastly, I made plans with one of my oldest friends, William Chalmers (follow him on Instagram @chalmsonthetrail) to drive up to Amicalola Falls to start the Approach Trail toward Springer Mountain.
If all goes well, Will and I will arrive together at Springer, the Southern Terminus of the Appalachian Trail. After that, who knows? I certainly don’t.
You Know Nothing, Jon Snow
Frankly, there’s a lot I don’t know—a point my mother seems to enjoy pointing out to me. I don’t know what the weather will be like. I don’t know if Will and I will stick together. I don’t even know where I will camp on the very first night. And I definitely don’t know if there is a wizard on the trail. But strangely, I’m OK with that. I’ve been fortunate enough to know where I was going to sleep nearly every night of my life, I’ve known exactly where my next meal will come from, and I’ve grown up with many of the luxuries of a first world country.
I think it’s overdue that I experience what many people deal with every day: not knowing.
That being said, here’s what I do know: I have some strong legs from running, but have minimal camping/hiking experience. I will make a lot of mistakes. And, if I don’t take advantage of this opportunity now, I will likely regret it for the rest of my life. I’m not sure what I’ll learn, but I know it will be significant, life altering, and will allow me to see the world from a new perspective.
Never Tell Me the Odds!
I hope you’ll enjoy reading my updates as I start on this journey. For more updates, follow me on Instagram @haydenstuartcox or feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected]. In the meantime, please pray that I don’t get eaten by a bear. All religions, or lack thereof, are acceptable.
Here is to uncertainty, a dash of crazy, and an experience I’ll never forget. Here is to the Appalachian Trail, 2020.
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