Ben here- I’ll be starting my northbound thru-hike on April 12th, 2016. It’s my first time posting on Appalachian Trials so I figured a quick introduction was in order.
Coming to you live from…
I’m currently twenty-four years young and residing in the sunny foothills of Boulder, Colorado. My interests include cheese, bread, and any combination of the two. I also find plenty of time to snowboard, run trails, and get lost in a good book. I’ve spent the past two years working a pretty awesome job here in Boulder, and the four years prior to that at the University of Colorado, where I majored in staying up too late and being “sick” on powder days (sorry, Mom and Dad). In all seriousness- I studied Communication. Sure, it may not have been the most rigorous of fields, but I do feel that I learned a valuable skill set and it’s served me pretty well thus far.
Planting the seed…
I grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia, and spent a good part of every summer exploring the mountains a little further north. Between hanging out on Lake Blue Ridge and knocking off sections of the Appalachian and Benton Mackaye trails, I always felt at home in those mountains. A thru-hike of the A.T. is something I’ve wanted to accomplish since I was pretty young, however I was especially motivated by an Outdoor Education class that I took in 9th grade (shoutout to Bill Bradach at Milton High!). Coach Bradach taught us the basics of several outdoor activities like backpacking, fly fishing, and archery. It was one of my favorite classes in all of high school, and I feel super fortunate to have had the opportunity. One day in class, a former thru-hiker came and talked with us about life on the Appalachian Trail. It was a truly memorable experience for me, and I knew from that day on that I wanted to attempt a thru-hike of my own one day.
No turning back…
While it’s not easy to give up a great job and a pretty cushy life in Boulder, I know that it probably won’t ever get any easier. So I’ve decided to trade it all in this spring for six months or so on the Appalachian Trail. I know that a thru-hike comes with a hell of a lot more than just sunshine and pizza pies, but I’m ready for the challenge and I’m itching to get started. I’ve given my notice at work, and this Friday will be my last day there. I’m fortunate to have an employer who understands the dream and took the news really well. After a few years working with an outdoor company I’ve found myself with quite a bit of backpacking gear on my hands, but of course I’ve still found a few places to upgrade and go lighter. Those purchases have been made, and pretty soon I’ll be starting the long drive to Georgia. Needless to say, it’s finally feeling real.
If you’re interested in my hike, I’d love for you to follow along! I’ll be posting here a couple more times before hitting the trail in April to give you an idea of what I’ll be carrying and what I’ll be up to until then.
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