The Reset Button: The Appalachian Trail As An Escape

The reset button.

Quite a useful idea to implement to machines when they get too congested, overworked and cannot process what is going on. With only one action, a device can be returned to its original state; a clean slate. Start from scratch.  When you’ve opened too many programs on your Mac… reset! When your PlayStation freezes in the middle of blowing a zombie to bits… restart! When Instagram just keeps crashing… turn it off!

So, how does this relate to walking 2,200 miles through the woods?

Attempting to thru hike the Appalachian Trail is certainly a life-altering journey that affects everyone who attempts it. I’ve heard and read more reasons (or excuses!) than I can even remember as to why an individual is attempting a thru hike. Reasons vary from the highly personal to the feebly clueless, and land everywhere in between. I wish to share my intentions and motivations for attempting such a lengthy, precarious and incredible adventure, because it is the central drive and focus that keeps me going.

Simply, I need a reprieve from civilization.

I have desired through long nights of thought and observation to merely leave what my life has become behind in search of something great, something else, which at one point appeared only as a dream. I, along with my girlfriend Morgan (whose writing will also be appearing on this site as we hike!), decided to commit to this transformation last summer; now we are only a couple of weeks away from actually taking our first steps on the Trail.

The past several years of my life have included working in restaurant kitchens, trying to save money for school and searching for a purpose (oh yeah, it’s about to get deep!) From the forests of North Florida to the wondrous expanse of Colorado and Wyoming, I found the silence and solitude I had been searching for in places such as Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Torreya and Cape San Blas. The time, space and quiet to think freely, without distraction. Days grow longer; sleep is more peaceful, life becomes better appreciated.

But weekend camping outings and road trips will only do so much. They are only a chance at a break from the bustle of what life has become. The pace at which modern life accelerates is beyond comprehension at times. The fluorescent lights, the apps; punching the clock, ignorant customers; not enough time for this or that; the shitty foods our culture scarfs down. I yearn to escape it. Maybe I’m just making excuses, but I’m always searching for that purpose, that higher calling…

So I am going to hit the reset button.

Life on the Appalachian Trail sounds exactly like what I need. The adventure, the simplicity of the goal. To walk and see and laugh and think and read and sleep! To fall into slumber when the sun disappears and awake when it returns! To flow with the natural rhythms of this beautiful planet we inhabit. To experience that which I had only previously dreamed of. The reasons why we hike may be extremely diverse; however, it is inevitable that the Trail will rejuvenate and alter the trajectory of everyone who is brave enough to step foot on it.

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Comments 2

  • Avatar
    Tyler Phillips : Feb 6th

    I’m in the exact same boat man, i need to press the reset button. Although I’ve got a year until my thru hike, I hope your hike gives you that much needed refresher. Good Luck!

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