Just a Squirrel with a Goal to Thru-Hike
“Yes, hiking 2,190 miles sounds like fun to me.”
I grew up in middle Tennessee in a “blended family” that includes myself, my parents, and my adopted twin sisters, Hope and Faith. They are now 15 and are way cooler than me.
I was lucky enough to have parents who encouraged/forced my sisters and me to go outside at any opportunity. We grew up constantly going on family camping trips, hiking and kayaking on the weekends. I even went backpacking with my dad a couple of times. I didn’t realize how lucky I was until I became an adult and saw how rare that sort of thing was.
So yeah, I really like to be outside.
I guess that’s the main reason I’ve been wanting to hike the AT since I was about 13. Spending sixish months of my life in the woods sounds like an absolute dream to me.
More importantly, the AT has been a goal that has gotten me through some tough times. I have struggled with mental health for my entire life, and setting goals has been one of the best ways for me to cope with depression and anxiety. There’s nothing better than to wake up and think about something positive and exciting that you’re planning on doing. The AT has been the sole reason I’ve gotten out of bed more than once.
But that’s not to say planning for the AT has been a breeze. In fact, it’s often a source of anxiety. The financial burden of saving for my thru-hike is daunting, especially when I think about the thousands I owe in student loans. I have been serving in AmeriCorps (which is awesome, btw) since January and the living allowance you receive during your service is pretty meager. My term of service is over at the end of November this year, at which point I’ll start working two jobs and scramble to save the money I’ll need by March 2019.
So far I’m just telling myself it will work out, which has been a fabulous opportunity to test my patience and faith in myself. It’s a great opportunity to learn and grow, which is one of the best things I’ve gotten from planning to thru-hike so far. I’m sure that growth will continue exponentially on the trail next year.
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Nice job! Are you taking red Power Ranger?
Yes I would agree with the flying squirrel comparison. Thanks for validating that I’m cute. We are very proud of you and are excited for your adventures!
Hey Phoebert, (can I call you Bert?)
Can’t wait to hear about, and make fun of, every bit of your adventure! SCIENCE NERDS RULE! Please wear supportive footwear and stay hydrated. Don’t take any wooden pickles.
6ish months out! Great article. Looking forward to more
I went to high school with your dad and live 10 minutes from the AT headquarters in Harper’s Ferry, WV. I have hosted 2 groups of thru hikers and would be happy to host you and Isaac. You would have a basement guest and bathroom to yourselves and I really like to cook. Or if you’d rather, we can treat you all to dinner, take you Walmart and set you back on the trail.
Best of luck,
I used to work with your mom and she shared the link for this on FB! We’ve never met, but I gotta say this looks like an awesome adventure you have planned and I’m excited to read more about your journey. Best of luck to ya!
Welcome, Phoebe! I’ll be NOBO (and blogging) for 2019 too 🙂 Best of luck with planning!
I’m so proud of you and what you have and are accomplishing. I don’t know if you remember this or not since you were only about 5 at the time, but I remember taking you and Jenny out on a bird walk one time when we were in Pocahontas and pointing out an Eastern Phoebe to you. I shared my bird ID book and you both seemed very excited about birds. Of course, I loved that, since I’m an avid birder (notice I didn’t say expert). I even have a picture. If I can dig it up, I’ll share with you.
All the best to you on the trail!
Great Aunt Mary Alice
Omg I think I remember that! How crazy is that?