After Years of Delay, I’m Right Where I Need to Be

Well, here’s my big announcement – I, Isaac Nesbitt, will be attempting a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail starting March 26. It’s time to chase a dream and really stir up the pot called my life. I’ll be leaving behind a career, moving out of my rented house, and setting out on a hike that will hopefully end 2,200 miles later on Mount Katahdin in Maine.

The Beginning

I’ll be starting my hike at Amicalola State Park, at Springer Mountain in Georgia, headed northbound (NOBO) on the AT. But the real beginning started long ago.

I grew up in South Carolina with an outdoorsy family, and as I grew up we traveled around the country. These trips began in a pop-up, moved to a travel trailer, and finally a fifth wheel.  A far cry from my 19-ounce tent.  But these early trips, beyond letting me see lots of our beautiful country, gave the chance for my dad to take my brother and me on lots of little day hikes, and somewhere along the way I became aware of Appalachian Trail.

My brother, me, and my dad. This was my peak coolness level in life

Growing Up

Hiking the AT didn’t become a lifelong obsession the second I learned about the trail—it has been hiding in the back of my brain waiting for the right moment. My true outdoor obsession was bass fishing, and I spent hundreds of days outdoors trying to catch little green fish.  But I have always felt more at home and at peace while outdoors—whether fishing, hiking, landscaping, or really any activity.  So it was only a matter of time before the pull of spending six months in the woods would become too strong to resist.

I did say outdoorsy family, right? Fishing was my first love in the outdoors

But hiking has always been a side hobby—sort of like climbing, Ultimate frisbee, disc golf, or a handful of other activities. But there were always day hikes—including with friends while in college.  And it was while in college that the idea of thru-hiking slowly started to emerge again.  I considered trying to thru-hike during the school summer, or even after graduation, but neither worked out.  So with my engineering degree in hand, I took my first “real job” and jumped in head first.

Over the last couple years, while building my career, I began to hike more. Including an 80-mile, four-day adventure over Thanksgiving and an awesome trip with my best friend to hike the Presidential traverse in New Hampshire (wow, the White Mountains are a different beast).  And those trips really ignited the fire to hike the granddaddy of them all—the AT.

Hiking in the White Mountains was out of this world! Cannot wait to go back.

The Decision

I’m not sure when I decided that at some point I would hike the AT, but every year I kept saying to myself, “It’s not the right time.” This went on for a couple of years, and finally one day I snapped and realized it will never be the “right” time.

You see, my analytical brains sees thru-hiking like most of society: leave your job, leave your house, leave your friends and family—lose all your security just for a long walk in the woods.

Thankfully for me, I tend to make snap decisions and stick to them until the end. So when I finally got fed up with “maybe another year,” I chose 2019 and have stuck to my guns.  And now it’s time for a heck of an adventure.

At the finish of my longest hike—76.2 miles on the Foothills Trail. You gotta check this trail out!

Moving Forward

Now it’s crunch time, with a little more than a month before I hit the trail. I have started saying goodbyes at work—goodbye to all the great people, all the opportunity it provided me, and all the crazy stress it created at times.  Plans are in place to move my stuff out and I’m finally getting excited and nervous to begin the hike.

I hope everyone can follow along with these blogs, and I promise in return to be as honest as possible—about the highs, the lows, the laughs, and the tears.

It’s going to be one hell of a journey, and I cannot wait.

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Comments 9

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    Phillip Lee : Feb 5th

    What great adventure. Wish I was going with you. I guess I will, kinda, through the blog.

    Reply
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    Summer Shuford : Feb 5th

    Super excited to keep tabs on your journey! Godspeed!

    Reply
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    DavidHamilton : Feb 5th

    I have always wanted to do this! Praying for you as you go! God is for you and with you!

    Reply
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    Debbie Renew : Feb 6th

    I am so excited for you…your entire life has been leading you to this moment….enjoy and relish Gods beauty all around you. You’ll never hike alone!

    Reply
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    Michelle Adams : Feb 6th

    Isaac:
    My husband Michael and 4 of his friend have been going on 4 days trips hiking the AT every year. They love it!! I wish you the best of luck. 2 years ago they ran into a young woman that as soon as she graduated high school in June she started in Maine and they met her as they were starting the trail in Georgia in November. Good luck and keep us posted!

    Reply
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    Sonya : Feb 6th

    A great honest posting, have a blast out there and keep us all up to date!

    Reply
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    Al Hunter : Feb 6th

    Best of luck, have a great time. I will keep you in my prayers.

    Reply
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    Kathy Treadway : Feb 6th

    Isaac,
    I am thrilled at this opportunity for you. It will be exciting to follow your journey through the AT as it evolves. Good luck. I hope warm fires, and clear thoughts are there when needed.

    Reply
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    Debbie Townsend : Feb 6th

    What an amazing adventure Issac! As a hiker, I know the total love of the outdoors, trails and God’s beauty all around us! I am so excited that you are going after your dream and wish you Happy Trails on your journey! I’m excited that you are going to blog so we can keep up with you! Safe travels and enjoy every step of the way!

    Reply

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