It’s a New Year.
My name is Cole and I’m new to the world of thru-hiking. Over the past few months, though, I’ve realized there are many aspiring hikers looking to join this community of outdoor enthusiasts; I’ve felt really welcomed from the first moments of gear research and advice-seeking. Again, these times speak to what I’m looking forward to experience first-hand: a transformative experience that draws on the strength of community and support from, at least initially, strangers along the way. Over the course of my blog entries, I hope to put into words these moments, the ups, the downs, and the switchbacks to contribute what I can and continue to seek advice.
And I’ve sought out tons already by virtue of my starting date. For nearly a year, I’ve progressively toyed with, firmed up as an option, and committed to a thru-hike. The opening for me was the beginning of 2016… the exact first day. I’ll be setting out from Springer Mountain in northern Georgia to walk 2,187 miles over the course of five or six months to Mount Katahdin, Maine (a northbound, or NOBO, hike) starting on New Years Day.
As for my trail name, which seems to be a common identity marker for thru-hikers no any trail, I’ve cycled through many. I began with an homage to my home state and 13th state on the NOBO trek, New Hampshire, “Live Free or Die” was an early contender. Despite the patriotism, I later felt the word “die” didn’t really jive with my plans during or after the hike and moved on to lighter references. I’m lucky to live with two cats who I adore; they bring the toy mouse to my door each morning and jump in front of my laptop’s camera during remote conferences (timed just when I’m the focus of the meeting). Enter “Fancy Feast,” “Baxter,” “Meow Mix” and later “Fresh Step,” to which a friend called me out for wanting to be a “cat’s bathroom.” I moved to interactive names, of which “Duck Trails … wahOOoo (sing the last part)” was a popular one – I have to say I liked that one a lot. Yet it’s up for grabs.
I’ve settled on a simple description to which I can continually draw back to, not just on January 1st, but daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, during this journey and in the best years to come ahead of me.
Hi. I’m “New Year.” It’s nice to meet you. Please, any advice for my January 1st start?
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