Last Minute List Time

^pictured above: a honky tonk farewell party!

I’m 100% occupied with packing and finalizing and eating and watching tv as I count down the final hours until I leave for Georgia tomorrow. This is really about to happen! One of the last things to check of my to-do list is to get this post up so this may be the last time you hear from me before I am on trail!


For the probably hundreds of people who have asked me about my hike and wondered out loud or to themselves why I want to do this, here is the answer. Well, its as good an answer as I can put on paper. I could never fully convey to anyone, except perhaps another thru hiker, why I want to do this because a lot of the reason has to do with a feeling. Its a feeling that can’t be described to someone who has never felt it. The best I can do is it is like falling in love, graduating college, and meeting your childhood hero all jumbled up into one chest tightening emotion.

Appalachian Trials

In my preparations for hiking the AT, of course I had to read Zach Davis’s book Appalachian Trials. There is so much good take away from this book and if you haven’t read it yet and you are planing on hiking for any length of time, I do suggest you read it. I am a firm believer that having a strong mental game is crucial to achieving the things you want in life and this book is all about how to have a strong mental game while long distance hiking. As part of this mental fortitude, Zach suggests composing lists to answer 3 specific questions, and referencing the lists while on your journey. These lists serve to reminder the exhausted hiker who is ready to quit why they wanted to do this in the first place, what they will gain if they keep going and what they will face if they quit. Here are my lists.

I am thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because…

  1. I have wanted to do this since I was a kid. I have dreamed about it, thought about it, imagined it for years.
  2. I have friends who have gotten a PhD, gone to vet school or med school, traveled the world or worked oversees. My friends have done great things. The AT is my great thing.
  3. I want to achieve something great so I can tell my children they can achieve anything and really understand what that means.
  4. Exploring the outdoors, seeing breathtaking views, spotting bears, butterflies, birds, bugs and more, and meeting amazing people sounds like a magical way to spend 6 months.
  5. I would rather be hiking than be at work.

When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail I will…

  1. Have made my childhood dream come true
  2. Be a bad ass. I will have the coolest stories to tell my family and friends and anyone else who will listen.
  3. Be an inspiration for my kids. I will be the world’s most awesome mommy!
  4. Have seen natural beauty like I have never experienced before.
  5. Have shared my experience with some very special people who can relate to living life as a hiker.
  6. Know that I can achieve any goal and overcome any obstacle. I will know what I want in life and how to get it.

If I give up on the Appalachian Trail I will…

  1. Be a quitter. My childhood self will be disappointed. I will have to hear I told you so.
  2. Not have an epic story to tell. I won’t have anything to inspire my children.
  3. Always wonder what if I had kept going…
  4. Have to go back to work at a 9-5 job.
  5. Have wasted a lot of money. A LOT of money.

All my friends don’t want me to quit!


These two (my husband and my sister) don’t want me to leave for 6 months, but still don’t want me to quit.


Tiny dog says “Be strong and mighty like a yorkie. Never quit!”


My dad runs ultras! I come from a long line of people who don’t quit!


My mom cries when I leave, still doesn’t want me to quit.




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Comments 5

  • PhotoRancher : Mar 4th

    Sara, Best wishes on your AT hiking adventure. I hope it is a fabulous experience for you. Soooo….. Do it; Get the t-shirt; Come home!

    • Sara Ecay : Apr 16th

      Every time I climb a tall or well known peak I think “ok now where do I go for my tee shirt?” 🙂

  • Martha Sames : Mar 4th

    Have a great adventure!

    • Sara Ecay : Apr 16th

      So far so good!

  • pam : Mar 17th

    I know exactly how your Mom feels!


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