Lists + 2

I start this thing in 60 days. My brain feels a lot like my pack at the moment – disorganized, cluttered, and probably a little too full of stuff I don’t need.

Lucky for me, the standard first blog post around here consists of one of my personal favorite coping mechanisms for when I get mixed up and overloaded: lists. I make lists of things I like, things I hate, things I need and need to do, what I’ve seen, what I wish I could see, etc. I’ve filled notebooks. The personal versions of Zach’s “whys” from the book that started it all, Appalachian Trials, are what the Trek bloggers typically seem to post first to get the ball rolling. They’ve already worked wonders for me, and I’m pretty sure they’ll continue to do so over the next several months.

Since this is my first blog post, however, here’s a basic list of things about me to start out with just in case someone other than my mom and boyfriend ever end up reading this:


A five-years-younger me at camp, hiking for the millionth time the trail where I “caught the bug”.

  • I’m a solo NoBo (north-bound thru-hiker, for all my friends back home). I’m starting on March 10th, 2017 from Springer Mountain. Yes, I’m doing the approach trail.
  • I just finished the first semester of my sophomore year of college at a small Christian university, where I study Spanish education. I’m taking the second semester off to thru-hike.
  • I love Hamilton, BBC Sherlock, Friends, The Head and the Heart, Harry Potter, twenty one pilots, and lots of other nerdy things (a list for another time).
  • I grew up spending my summers at a traditional YMCA summer camp in western Pennsylvania. It’s where I caught the outdoorsy bug and developed a fear of snapping turtles.
  • I’m a pretty green backpacker, I think. I’ve done a ton of long day hikes (like to Loch Vale in RMNP, pictured in the header) and a few overnight trips, but definitely nothing close to what I know is out there.
  • I’m a bit of a gear-freak.
  • My favorite luxury item for the trail is my ukulele.
  • I’m an INFJ and a Gryffindor/Pukwudgie.
  • Rocks and pine trees are my favorite thing in the world.


Yeah, I know, this is starting to sound like eHarmony. So, here’s my “whys”:


I’m thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because…

  • I have no idea what else to do. I have pretty much zero direction or sense of calling at the moment, but the AT has been pushing itself to the forefront of my mind for about two years.
  • Again, I love rocks and trees.
  • It terrifies me. I need more healthy fear.
  • I want to prove that I can to everyone who’s given me that look when I mention doing anything ambitious.
  • I want to learn to be totally self-reliant.
  • I want to learn to love and be proud of myself and my body; not just how I look, but what I can do.
  • I need to be reminded of God’s presence; I’ve never felt it anywhere more than I have in the woods.
  • I’ve never felt more myself than I have in the woods.
  • I don’t want to follow the norm. I don’t pay copious amounts of money to go to a college where I don’t fit in, to study something I’m not sure of, to get a job I’m not passionate about, just so that I can maybe be happy on the weekends. After all the loss I’ve experienced this year, I’ve come to realize that the time to be happy and pursue dreams is now.

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

  • Cry so many happy tears.
  • Eat so much food.
  • Have a better idea of what I should be doing (hopefully).
  • Be hella buff.
  • Make it up to all the people who supported and believed in my dream from the start.
  • Tell everyone who doubted me to kiss my butt.
  • Be beyond proud of myself.
  • Know God and myself better.
  • Have so many new friends, memories, photos, and stories.
  • Have seen some of the coolest trees and rocks ever.

If I give up on the Appalachian Trail, I will…

  • Most likely try again or become a section hiker.
  • Forgive myself.
  • Have to explain my “failure” to everyone I’ve talked to about my thru-hike.
  • Have to go back to where I was before I made the decision to do this.
  • Survive, but be disappointed.
  • Cry not-happy tears.
  • Probably be seriously injured.
  • Be bored again.


And finally, my resolutions for the fresh new year:

  • Don’t apologize when it isn’t warranted.
  • Say exactly what I mean – no more sugar coating.
  • Create: music, art, prose, anything.
  • Listen more closely.
  • Allow for more silence.
  • Bestow a trail name on a new friend.

And perhaps most importantly,

  • Make it to Katahdin!


More lists and stories to come. Happy trails, friends, and thanks for reading!

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Comments 9

  • Nickle Pickle : Jan 9th

    I hope you know how proud I am of you. I have already seen you grow as you prepare for this and I know you will grow infinitely more. I’m going to miss you so much but I will be right there when you are done. I love you. More every minute!

    • Thomas Millard : Jan 9th

      Welcome to the class of 2017 I’m Forrest and am starting on the 11th of march from springer so will be seeing you that first day have already meet two other hikers starting that day only 59 days and a wake up

  • Chris G. : Jan 9th

    you can pick making it to Katahdin a New Years Resolution? the game has changed! Im starting a little later in March but maybe ill see you all down the road. That approach trail is good to get heart rate and curse word factory going. I’ve done it two or three times and I tell myself im never doing it again as soon as I get up to Springer but we’ll see if I do it again come late March. Happy Hiking!

  • Brittany : Jan 11th

    Hey Hannah! So cool to hear your story! I’ll be starting my thru hike around the same time! Hope to meet you on the trail!

  • Ashley George : Jan 11th

    hi Hannah!
    I’m also from nowhere Ohio (Xenia) and am an INFJ – in hiking the trail with my husband this year, we leave from springer March 7th. See you out there I hope!

  • Jeff Mann : Jan 11th

    I too am gearing up for a March 4 start. I am gearing down from work. In my case Retirement. My wife gave me her loving blessing. Truly worried yet excited at the same time. I am sure you will pass me by even with a week head start. Good luck.


  • Gary Stell : Feb 9th

    Thanks for sharing! Best of every thing on the trail and in life! Maybe we’ll meet up out there! Happy Trails!

  • Steven Newland : Mar 15th

    Good luck on your hike. You will be fine. I started the planning phase this year to hike the AT in 2018, or 2019. I enjoy hikers blogs and reading there adventures.
    Take Care!


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