Mom, Please Never Let Me Hike the Appalachian Trail

“Mom, please never let me hike the Appalachian Trail. There will come a day when I will want to hike the Appalachian Trail, but you must not let me.” This is what I told my mom two years ago, while I was hiking the Long Trail. It was nearing the end of the day, during that time of the day that many call golden hour, because everything lights up in a shimmery glow, I was slightly delusional from exhaustion and dehydration and was hiking up a mountain. Oddly enough, ever since I finished my thru-hike of the Long Trail, there is nothing that I have wanted to do more than hike the Appalachian Trail. It’s as if that phone call with my mom was some sort of premonition.

I’m in a phase of my life where I feel a bit like I’m drifting.

I don’t have a concrete life plan. I have an idea of what I want to study and what career I want, but at the same time I am in no rush to start my professional life. One of the only things in life I am absolutely certain about is that I want to hike the Appalachian Trail.

I used to always want to take the accelerated route to everything.

I had a deep-rooted belief constructed by society that I was to go to school and straight afterward enter the professional world. This idea landed me in law school at the age of 19. In only three short years, I would be finished with my degree and could begin practicing law. However, right from the very first class when I pulled out my notebook and pen I knew immediately that law school was not where I wanted to be. I realized that I had absolutely no desire to be a lawyer. I didn’t want to deal with negativity and problems every day. I didn’t want to be in a competitive environment. I didn’t want a job with endless hours.

I planned to finish my semester in law school and then hike the Appalachian Trail. However, another opportunity arose, and I had to postpone my hike. The opportunity that arose couldn’t be more foreign to the Appalachian Trail. I got a job at Disneyland Paris as a performer. I was to become a very good friend of Cinderella. So far, I have enjoyed my time working at Disney and feel like it has been a growing experience. However, I have yearned to be in nature. I miss the sound of a creek. I miss hobbling onto stones to fill up my water bottle. I miss the smell of wet soil. I miss being surrounded by mountains.

In just a few months, I will trade a world of gowns and jewels, to a world where everything I own is on my back.

I will trade sparkles and makeup for dirt and sweat. And I couldn’t be more excited.

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Comments 2

  • Frank : Oct 14th

    God for you. Maybe see you out there next year. I will be starting March 27th myself. Good luck !

  • jonathan harris : Nov 24th

    Hi Charlotte

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us – I too am absolutely sure of one thing: thru hiking the AT. I’m going to wait til my son goes to college in 7 years , but until then I enjoy section hiking the AT in Virginia – I live in Roanoke

    Good luck!


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