Many prospective thru-hikers are asked why? Why do you want to hike for 5+ months? What about your jobs? How will you get food? Do you need to hunt squirrels and forage for berries? Are you afraid of bears? What do you do when it rains? Did you read Bill Bryson’s “A walk in the woods”?
Here is a quote that can best sum up a response to these questions: “There is no moment more important, more perfect than right now. Not in a week, not after your promotion, not after 30 years when you plan to retire and relax. Right now!” – Eddie Pinero
We are debt free, no mortgage/lease, and nothing holding us back. We are fortunate to be in good health and have maintained an active lifestyle. Why not now?
We were both employed in roles that we enjoyed and at companies we liked. Leaving our jobs was the toughest part of our decision-making process but we felt strongly enough to take this risk.
The AT walks through the backyard of the Appalachian Mountains. Town is never far away and we’ll be able to resupply every 3 – 5 days except for the 100 mile wilderness where we will carry about 10 days of food.
We are very respectful of nature including all of the animals – but no, we are not afraid of bears.
Yes, we have read “A walk in the woods” and unfortunately, we saw the movie too.
Eric thru-hiked the AT northbound in 2011 and always knew he would hike it again. Hayley has been interested in a thru-hike for several years. Together, we have accomplished multiple 100+ mile hikes in the Berkshires, Vermont, and Maine, along with other long-distance hikes in the White Mountains, Shenandoah National Park, Pisgah National Forest, and the Great Smoky Mountains.
The time is now. We are looking forward to the adventure and the challenge. Getting away from technology, commuting into the city, and just simply enjoying time in nature. The past two years have certainly been challenging for everyone. Eric worked in Higher Education and often told his students “Time away is a good thing. This allows you to focus on yourself, health, and well-being”. We have been discussing the possibility of thru-hiking the AT together for several years and now this dream is becoming a reality.
Why we chose SOBO. A few factors came to making this decision but the biggest was timing. We wanted to give our employers a sufficient amount of time to prepare for our departure and Hayley had some familial obligations at the beginning of June. We also live in Massachusetts so getting to Baxter State Park is easier than starting in Georgia. We are looking forward to the smaller number of SOBO hikers that will be on trail and anticipate we’ll be past the NOBO bubble in the Vermont. The timing will align with peak foliage in mid-Atlantic and Virginia. Eric is also curious to answer the question, what direction is better? It is the same trail, just in reverse. Geese fly south every year and have been doing so for millennia. They must know something we don’t.
If you travel for a living and do it right, you can get so good at it that you never have a home. Over the past 15 months we have lived in MA, NC, VA, NY, and RI while visiting CO, MD, VT, NH. We are now looking forward to exploring the 14 states on trail.
To summarize, we are hiking the trail for the adventure and the journey of self-discovery. We want to lose ourselves in the moment and leave behind the city life. While we could (and have at this point in our post) go on and on about why we want to attempt a thru-hike on the Appalachian trail, we don’t see the question as WHY but feel it’s more like WHY NOT.
“We have this mentality that the future is going to somehow mean more than the present. If we suffer now or are unhappy now that we’ll save the best in life for some other time.” – Eddie Pinero
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