My Thoughts, Goals for Hiking the AT

For all of the new folks, following family members, and friends new to The Trek, the best book written on the mental aspect of hiking an epic trail like the AT is Appalachian Trials. This book was crafted by the Good Badger, aka Zach Davis, the owner/editor-in-chief of The Trek.

Without completely given away the nexus of this book, early on in the book Zach poses some questions the aspiring hiker needs to consider and answer. There are no wrong or right answers as each person has their own journey. Below I am sharing my thoughts, life goals, and personal self-improvements. I am a firm believer that when you commit to a goal, you need to write it down, proclaim it, own it, and see it through completion.

As I write this blog, I am 24 days from my start. I’m anxious, focused, and ready. My pack is packed and ready to go. My weekly hiking has intensified to include at least one 15-miler a week and several seven- to eight-mile hikes with my ready-to-go pack.  I wouldn’t be honest if I said there were no butterflies; I’m still second-guessing my trail shoes, but all else is good to go. My mentor, MavErick’s (AT class of 2018), has been following my journey and giving awesome advice and support and that is very reassuring. Thanks, buddy.

Happy trails.

I am thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because…

1.  It has been my goal for many years—this is the year.

2. It will challenge my skills and abilities.

3. It is not easy.

4. It parallels my character.

5. It will define a part of me.

6. It will disconnect me from the noise.

7. It will reconfirm my faith in humanity.

8. It will strengthen my resolve.

9. It will teach me patience.

10. It will introduce me to a different culture.

11. It will return me to my natural connections.

12. It will put into perspective the instant gratification we get too accustomed to.

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

1. Be an ambassador to the AT and the trail.

2. Share my success with friends and family.

3. Stay attuned to my new culture.

4. Continue to hike and dream of other goals.

5. Become a trail angel and share the magic.

6. Use my newfound patience to stay calm.

7. Be more understanding of each generation.

8. I’ll apply my honed woods skills and social skills to crush Survivor.

9. Continue to stay active and live a healthy lifestyle.

10. Run a marathon.

11. I’ll continue to be more adventurous.

12. Have an even deeper appreciation to all things nature.

If I give up on the Appalachian trail I will…

1. Likely be physically injured.

2. Be hugely disappointed.

3. Be more motivated to complete my thru-hike.

4. Overcome and earn my thru-hike with dogged perseverance.

5. Have created an unwanted stigma.

6. Be frustrated and dissatisfied.

7.  It will alter my plans for 2020.






I have such a positive and determined attitude that I really struggled even filling six blanks. This is part of my life’s epic journey.

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Comments 2

  • Jan : Feb 4th

    Absolutly a large challenge that you have made for yourself.
    May I comment, in your list? “If I give up on the AP Trail, I wll…… #6 – you will be frustrated but I feel that you will be SATISFIED” that you tried – not dissatisfied.
    #8 – I believe that “you” will just learn how to deal with another “BLIP” in your plans of life, of which you have been very successful already.

    As Roy Rogers mght say to you: “Happy Trails”

  • Rick (Quiet Man) : Mar 17th

    Catmando, I completely agree with you – it’s not enough to write down one’s goals – you need to “proclaim” them if for no other reason than to keep yourself focused. I have gotten only as far as articulating that a thru-hike has been a dream since I was a teenager. But that isn’t enough. I need to start thinking about the more mental aspects of why I want to hike. Thanks!


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