My Initial Goals Before Setting Out

I’m Mark.  I’m going to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 2019.  I’m old.  Actually, I’m not old, only 63, but my four grandchildren will all tell you I’m old so I guess I’ll leave that in.  I do plan to thru-hike the AT, or at least I’ll start with that plan in mind.  My initial goals are:

  1. To start on Springer Mountain in March.
  2. To make it 100 miles.
  3. To make it past the Bill Bryson bailout point in the Smokies.
  4. To make it to the ATC Headquarters in Harpers Ferry WV.
  5. Most importantly, enjoy the trail, the experience, and the people I meet, for we may never pass this way again.

Beyond that, I’ll just have to take my chances.  I feel very lucky to even have this opportunity. I’ve been a committed member of the corporate rat race for decades and if it wasn’t for my large corporate employer eliminating my job as part of a reorganization and providing a generous severance package, I would still be working away.  But I’ve dreamed of hiking the AT for years and now the universe has conspired to give me this chance.  I’m not completely unfamiliar with the rigors of hiking and camping, but I’ve never camped more than three nights before the siren song of showers, mattresses, and other creature comforts lured me off the trail to a hotel or home.  So I am kind of nervous at the prospect of hiking 2,200 miles of mountains, but also giddy with anticipation.  Just taking the first steps on the trail with my pack on my back and a spring in my step will make the endeavor a success of sorts.  Many things can happen but at least I will take my best shot at it!

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Comments 4

  • Kool-Aid : Mar 21st

    HYOH!! Don’t miss the fun, experiences, beauty, to do a thru hike, unless that’s the most important!! Im 63 woman, never hiked a day in my life. Till 2016, starting as a Thru Hiker. Wow, NO!! I would never get to experience the GREAT joys, if i did that. Ive taken 4,000 pictures and been out 12 months total!! I leave July 7 2019 to finish 160 miles!! I’ll look for you and you me!! Enjoy, go your pace!! The youth can do it again, we probably wouldn’t. Don’t miss the experiences. Be safe!! Its way harder than I can describe, especially our age! I have 6 kids and 12 grabdkids.

    • Ruth Anne Collins : Mar 22nd

      Looking forward to following along! We oldies do it differently. Enjoy yourself out there.

  • Paul Andrew Rhoades : Mar 22nd

    Looking forward to following you in your adventure, I’m from the Detroit Michigan area and just turned 60 and getting back into backpacking.My daughter and I are going to do the chilkoot trail in Alaska this July .I did this trail when I was 20 years old back in 1979.looking to see what has changed in 40 years besides me

  • Jess : Mar 24th

    You have all the rats watching from the Windy City with pride and excitement for our Mark.


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