Introducing Spring and Mr. Quack

Hi! My name is Hannah but on the trail, people call me “Spring.” I am counting down the days until I head out for my northbound Appalachian Trail hike in February. I was born and raised in Massachusetts and just graduated high school last June. Before I’m stuck at a desk again for four more years, I decided to take a gap year in order to spend as much time outdoors and hiking. I spent the first half of my gap year working on a farm in Hawai’i and am so excited to spend the second half of my gap year hiking the AT. Continue reading if you want to learn more about me and my hike! 

Me and Mr. Quack on a hike in Hawai’i Volcano National Park

How did I get my trail name? 

During my shakedown hike in Georgia last March, I was on spring break during my senior year of high school. I was a section hiker among a sea of thru-hikers since everyone was starting their journey north. People were constantly asking me if I was a thru-hiker and I would always reply with the same answer; “No, I’m on spring break.” So I was named “Spring Break.” This was later shortened to Spring which I think fits my hiking style and personality perfectly. 

At the Georgia/North Carolina border on my shakedown hike

Why do I hike with a rubber duck?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I brought this duck on a hike with me a few years ago because I thought he would be fun to photograph. He turned out to be a fantastic hiking partner so I now carry him on all of my hikes. He became a well-known member of my tramily during my shakedown hike and I eventually named him Mr. Quack. Although I see him as a duck, after a long day of hiking people tend to mix up their animals and refer to him as a frog. I am still unclear why but you can decide for yourself whether you see a duck or frog. 

Me and Mr. Quack at the top of a hard climb

How did I get into hiking?

In seventh grade, I went on my first backpacking trip which was a three-day hike of the Grand Canyon.  My family was planning a trip to Arizona but they told me that we would just be doing day hikes. My 12-year-old self thought that was so lame. I didn’t understand why you would go to the Grand Canyon and not hike to the bottom. So I told my mom that I would only go if we hiked to the bottom and camp there for two nights. She agreed and we both started training. After that hike, I was hooked. I continued to fall in love with backpacking at my summer camp in the Adirondacks where I got my 46er, and on a NOLS trip in Alaska. As I got more experienced, I started planning my own backpacking trips and was soon going on multiple night trips by myself. I now cringe at the photo below in which I am wearing a cotton t-shirt and have my hip belt below my waist.

Fetus Hannah on her first backpacking trip at the Grand Canyon

Why the AT?

After the Grand Canyon trip, my family decided to go on a backpacking trip every Labor Day weekend. We would pick a new AMC hut in the White Mountains to stay at or camp near. There were always thru-hikers at the huts so I was able to talk to them and learn about thru-hiking. After hearing about the AT from them, I fell in love with the idea of walking from Georgia to Maine. I plan on conquering the other triple crown trails eventually but want to start on the AT since I have been dreaming of it since first learning about it. The AT also feels the most approachable since I am familiar with the terrain and it is close to home. I can not wait to make this dream a reality. 

Balancing a duck on your head is harder then it looks

What am I most looking forward to on the trail?

I am most looking forward to eating ramen and instant mashed potatoes three meals a day. I am also looking forward to meeting new people who love to talk about hiking. Whenever someone asks me about thru-hiking I dive into an hour-long spiel where I explain all the details. I love seeing people’s jaw drop as I explain that I will be carrying everything I need for five months on my back. Although it is fun to explain the nitty-gritty of thru-hiking to friends and family, I am excited to be with like-minded people. Everyone on the AT is passionate about hiking, and I am excited to make friends who understand my passion. Additionally, I am also looking forward to the boredom that comes with thru-hiking. This might sound strange but I love thinking and spending time alone in nature. I can zone out for hours while pondering life and hiking down a trail. I am excited to see how I change and grow with all the alone time throughout my journey. Subscribe to this page if you want to follow along on my AT hike! 

Eating ramen with Mr. Quack

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Comments 4

  • Avatar
    pearwood : Jan 11th

    Hannah,
    Sounds good. Go for it. At the tender age of seventy I don’t expect to hit the top of the vaccination list very soon. It looks like my 2021 AT NOBO is going to get pushed out another year.
    I’m blogging here as pearwood.
    Blessings,
    Steve

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Ralph McGreevy : Jan 12th

    Everything we do is paid for with life energy and time wasted is never regained. So many people go to university too early, with no real idea why they are there. Hiking the AT will surely teach things that could never be learned in a classroom. You have obviously planned pretty well and done a decent shakedown hike. Hope the trip goes well. Be careful, enjoy every day and consider where you want your live to go. Onward.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Emmy : Jan 13th

    Hannah,
    I am excited for you and looking forward to reading your blogs from the AT.
    Live your dream!
    Hugs,
    Emmy

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Shannon : Jan 14th

    You go girl! I admire your strength and courage and for living life to the fullest. You’ve already learned that lesson young which is a beautiful thing. It took me almost 30 years to figure that one out. Looking forward to following you (and Mr. Quack’s journey lol) journey!

    Reply

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