Hello! My name is Andrea Dean, currently residing in Salt Lake City Utah. My husband of 27 years (Rich) and I will begin hiking the Appalachian Trail in a few short days. Hiking the AT has long been his dream, but up until a couple years ago, it had not been mine. I’m one of those people who always tells myself that “I can’t do hard things”, and hiking 2198 miles just seemed impossibly hard. However, as the reality of him setting out to do this crazy thing began to creep closer and closer, I began to think that maybe I didn’t want to miss out on this either.
Day Hikes are Great, but Backpacking is Even Greater!
As a child, my family spent a lot of time in the outdoors, hiking and camping. I hated hiking then, but have grown to love it as an adult. What better way to get exercise and calm the mind than to set out on a dirt path into the wilderness? Day hiking is one thing, but backpacking is a whole different beast. Up until a few years ago, I had only ever been on one backpacking trip as a teenager. It was a single overnight, and I was so miserable, I swore I would never do that again. Granted, I was carrying one of those old heavy external frame packs, and I probably packed enough clothing and food for an entire week. Six years ago, I decided to give it a go, and set out for another single overnight trip in the Wasatch Mountains. This time around, I was a bit more prepared with lighter, more comfortable gear. And guess what? I loved it! I loved every bit of it, and couldn’t wait to get out there and do again.
Am I Ready? You be the Judge
Fast forward to 2020. With the onset of Covid, my workload decreased, and like many people, I was sitting around twiddling my thumbs. I love a good goal, so I decided to hike 2020 miles in honor of what would prove to be the year from hell!
2021: I set out to hike the equivalent mileage and elevation gain of the AT (Rich also did this despite working full time).
2022: In an effort to get better at climbing uphill, we both hiked over a million feet of elevation.
2023: AT Bound!
Physically Ready, yes! Mentally Ready, as yet to be determined!
Given that we are less than 2 weeks out from setting foot on the AT, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t apprehensive about it. I’m downright anxious. Flights have been paid for, lightweight gear purchased, food is packed and ready to be shipped from home, all that’s left is to put “one foot in front of the other” for a mere 2198 miles!
-Andrea and Rich
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Be sure to stop in Franklin NC
First Baptist Church is feeding hikers pancakes and bacon every morning March 14 thru April 14 free.