Let Me Introduce Myself
My name is Ashley Vines. I’m 32 years old and am FINALLY embarking on the adventure of a lifetime- thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. All five million steps of it.
As stated in my bio, I grew up in western NC but have lived in Wilmington, NC the past 14 years. I grew up climbing trees, riding horses, and daydreaming of all the places I would travel to when I grew up. I’ve always been a bit of a free spirit in that sense.
For the past 10ish years, I have worked in EMS whipping around Brunswick County in the boo-boo bus, loving *almost* every minute of it. Recently though, I decided to take a step back, drop down to part-time and get a job serving beer at a local brewery.
Also, I decided to get my yoga instructor certification and then leave to walk in the woods for six months. So there’s that. (Side note: who says a mid-life crisis has to happen at “mid-life” OR that it has to be a crisis?) I like to think of it as my awakening.
Why would you want to walk in the woods for six months?
I’ve heard this question quite frequently since announcing that I would be hiking the AT, but my answers can never fully describe why I want to do this. Everyone has their reasons for attempting something like this but to keep it simple, point-blank: I NEED to walk in the woods for six months. I NEED to set out after huge goals like this.
Hiking the AT has been a goal and my ultimate dream for the past ten years. I bought my first thru-hikers companion book in 2013, followed by 2017, 2020, and now 2022. I think it’s about damn time I get to put one of them to use.
That being said I’d like to throw out my “lists”:
I am thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because…
- I want to separate myself from the stresses of everyday life to gain a broader perspective on the direction of my life.
- I want to gain confidence in myself and what I am capable of.
- This dream was placed in my head many years ago and I feel the absolute need to go.
- If I were on my death bed I would feel extreme regret for never attempting this. (Seems dramatic I know, but it’s true)
- I want to allow myself to experience a simpler lifestyle fully immersed in nature.
- I need to build a better relationship with food and the importance of it as fuel.
- I need to prove to myself that I am capable of standing on my own two feet.
- I want to prove everyone wrong who has doubted me.
- I made a commitment to myself to do this. No excuses.
When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail I will…
- Have confidence in myself and how strong I am.
- Have achieved one of my biggest life goals.
- Have a better relationship with food and sleep.
- Know that I can accomplish huge goals like this even when everyone else doubts me.
- Feel a deep satisfaction and appreciation of a simpler lifestyle.
- Know more about myself and what I want out of my life.
- Never doubt my badass-ery again. : )
If I give up on the Appalachian Trail I will…
- Have let myself down.
- Not gain any perspective on the direction of my life.
- Not believe in myself.
- Have given up on one of my life goals.
- Have thrown away the opportunity of a lifetime.
So there it is. Out for the world to see. I hope you choose to follow along on my ~2200 mile journey north to Mt. Katahdin.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.