Seeds of Adventure and Pearls of Wisdom

Hello, and welcome to my Trek blog.  As a first post, I thought it might be good to get into where the idea / motivation for attempting a roughly 2,200 mile thru hike comes from.  Part of the motivation is from my past (what I would call the ‘Seeds of Adventure’), and part of the motivation comes from advice of others (‘Pearls of Wisdom’).  A little info about myself:

My background:

I am a semi-retired architect (I quit my job at age 55 to go on this adventure).  I am not sure if I will go back to work when it is done, but it seems fairly likely to me.  I have been married for 32 years and have three kids, and three grandkids.  Building and raising a family has been great, but for the past few years I have felt a bit unfulfilled.  I love driving a sports car in the mountains, drinking some fine Mexican beer, and building things.

Seeds of Adventure:

As a kid, I loved building forts (which led me to become an architect), and playing in the woods. This is truly the start of what led me to want to reconnect with nature by hiking one of the most ambitious trails in the country.

My dad sent me to summer camp for about 7 years, and I absolutely enjoyed those camp sessions more than any other time of my youth.  I hiked a 4 day ‘Prize hike’ one summer which included a section of the AT, and it was pretty much a disaster.  since I am so much older now, it should be an amazing experience, especially considering I won’t be lugging 20 pounds of butterscotch pudding in my backpack.

We moved to north Georgia 11 years ago, and walking around the local hiking trails are an attractive way for me to spend my spare time.  If 2-3 hours is good, wouldn’t 6 months be even better?!?  We shall see!

Most of my friends say that I live an interesting life, but I think it is mostly due to ill-advised events that end up sort of working out, even if it does not go according to plan.  As an example, I built a bookcase a couple decades ago, but it did not fit up the staircase to the loft where it needed to go.  I enlisted a friend to help me hoist it over the double height space in the kitchen over a rail.  When one of the supporting ladders fell, we all nearly died trying to hold onto the bookcase and get it over the railing.  It was stressful, and nearly tragic, but in the end it is a very memorable event / story!

I can’t seem to get enough of looking at nature and wondering both how things got the way they appear today, and also how things will be in the future.  The mossy rocks have a story to tell, and I always love imagining what that story would tell.

When I first brought the idea up to my wife to go hike the trail, she asked ‘How long would that take?’, to which I guessed ‘Maybe about 6 months’.  When she immediately gave the green light for me to ditch for that length of time, I jumped on the opportunity and have been looking forward to it for about two years.

Pearls of wisdom:

I met a local hiker named ‘Tom’ that likes to hike the same local trail I have been training on.  The trail is 4.7 miles and has about 950 feet of vertical rise and descent.  Tom hikes this trail most days and is 92!  Talk about an inspiration.  Tom’s advice is not to worry about the mileage covered for the first few weeks.  I love research and planning, and have used info from other Trek bloggers (especially last year’s Scott Morrison) for gauging what I think is possible / likely, but will definitely keep Tom’s advice in mind.

When discussing the idea with my dad a few years ago, his advice was to ‘Quit my job and just go do it’.  While I was hesitant to quit, eventually I took his advice and left my job about 6 months ago to prepare for this hike.

As my carpenter friend Shane says ‘The only way to do it, is to get it done’.  Seems simple and obvious, but I think too many people continue to delay action and miss the window of opportunity to achieve goals while they are physically able.

The goal:

I am going to attempt a thru hike (flip flop style) of the Appalachian Trail starting the first week of April near Roanoke, VA.  I am hopeful that my background of enjoying doing things outdoors, making the best of whatever the situation is, and having a fair amount of preparation will let me see the goal through!

Note: This being my first post, I did not really have any truly spectacular images to start with, but used an area of my practice hiking trail that I always enjoy seeing.  I love the green mossy rocks and sounds of the stream nearby.  Hopefully I will have loads of similar sights and sounds on my hike.

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Comments 1

  • Randy Boerstler : Apr 6th

    Bill…I think this is awesome and very inspiring. I love this kind of stuff. I look forward to every post.
    I was voted in as the president of my high school hiking club two-years running, but haven’t really backpacked anywhere since then. Just day hikes and tent camping with my family.

    I won’t be retiring for a few years (I’ll be 60 in July), but this is the kind of motivation I need to get moving again.

    If you need someone to drive your cars to keep them from getting out of shape, let me know!!!!

    I wish you the best of luck and adventure, brother. Very cool gig



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