It’s My First…
Over the course of 22 years I have experienced many awkward “firsts.” From the time that I discovered “fitting in” did not mean wearing Hollister clothes, to learning that meeting new people always comes with a certain level of awkwardness, my life has been full of awkward, fun, and sometimes just weird “firsts.” None of these can prepare me for the “firsts” that I will encounter on the Appalachian Trail (AT). What a better way to begin my first blog post with some of the things that will be first experiences.
My First Solo-Hike/Thru-Hike
Some hikers come to the AT having hiked for many miles and having learned many important pieces of information, but unlike some, I am not a professional outdoorsman. I have gone on an occasional backcountry trips (by occasional, I mean I have gone 3 times in my life), but do not have expansive hiking experience. Sure, I have read articles, books, and forums, but nothing beats the actual experience of “learning by doing.” Spending 5 months in the wilderness, having never done anything like this before, is going to be one heck of an adventure and I hope that you will join me in it.
My First Year Not in School
Laugh all you want, but for someone who has been constantly learning in an environment where everyone is within four or five years of each other, the culture of the AT is bound to bring a challenge of both social and emotional change. Not having to stay up late finishing papers, reading for tomorrow’s class, or finishing Greek and Hebrew homework is going to be a strange sensation. One way that I do hope to continue learning is by my interactions with people. The AT is full of people from all walks of life who have an incredibly high amount of diversity in their experiences, through listening to stories and other conversations, I am sure that I will learn not only about others, but also about myself.
My First Time of Independence
Although I attended a college that was four hours away from my home, I still saw my family about every month my freshman year and around every third month my senior year. There was and still is great joy in spending time with them whenever I was stressed or just needed a break during college. On my hike, a few of my family members hope to join me during a section of the AT, but I will not be able to call home after a long day of hiking in the rain or after I simply “had a bad day.” The little conveniences of text messaging, short phone calls, or sending pictures to the ones I love will be something that I will miss greatly, but if “trail families” are as real as people make them out to be, then I do not doubt that I will find a community to be loved by and to love.
With all changes and new experiences there are certain “firsts” that we can never expect. There will be many of those moments, which I hope to both document and share with you. Plus, who does not want to live vicariously through someone spending 5 months walking more than 10 miles every day? It might even be enjoyable, and who knows maybe I’ll learn something and you can too.
Until next time.
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