To Katahdin or Bust

Worrying about filling in my break from school with some valuable experience, scrambling to see all of my patients and scribble my notes before the attending arrives each morning, filling every free minute with studying until my eyes fall out…. everything came together with a text from my boyfriend:

How long is your break going to be? Because I say if it’s long enough, we should consider hiking the Appalachian Trail

My brain stopped going. Nurses were leaping from one room to another, monitors were beeping to the rhythm of the heart, patient papers were flying off of the printer and I remained motionless in the middle of it all. I was done considering; we were going to do it.

After fifteen months of planning and preparing, our time is here! We’ll start at the approach trail in Amicalola State Park on February 10. A thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail has been a dream of Nate’s since he was a teen, and when he first mentioned it to me I was afraid I’d only get to hike with him for a week or two at a time. But when my career goals shifted from obtaining an MD/PhD to focusing only on my MD, I found myself with an impending nine-month break that needed filled. It was Nate who realized that the lull in my education provided us the perfect opportunity to hike the trail together.

We have made ourselves deer jerky and granola bars for impromptu maildrops. We have weighed each piece of gear individually and as two fully stuffed packs. We have set up our Facebook page and our Youtube channel to stay in touch while we’re gone. We have done our taxes and I’ve scheduled courses for my final year of medical school. The only thing left to do is twiddle our thumbs and wait.

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