Solo, SOBO, and Only 17!
Just a little intro to me and my hike. I am 17 years old and almost graduated from high school. I head up to Maine one week post-graduation and will begin my solo SOBO hike from there.
A Long Time in the Making
Hiking the AT has been my dream for nearly four years since I was about 13. That’s a long time; to be talked out of it, to come up with some other crazy and adventurous idea, to learn and plan. I have learned a lot. I have planned a lot. It has crossed my mind that this hike could be a setup for failure, that I might not be strong enough (both in the physical and mental sense) or mature enough. Nonetheless, I am so excited to get on the trail because I am strong enough, I am mature enough. and failure is so subjective!
42 Days Till the Hike, and 35 Till Graduation
My first day on the trail is planned for exactly one week after I graduate high school, which occurs to me more and more each day to be extremely nuts. To be honest, the main motivation for finishing out these last few weeks of school is the fact that soon I will be on the trail doing what I love most—adventuring. Not to say high school wasn’t an adventure; it definitely was. I’m not really one for cliches but like everyone, high school, and adolescence, in general, has helped me shape my beliefs and the truths I know of myself; for one I value my independence, hence my belief that I will be just fine on the trail by myself. Second, I wholeheartedly love nature and the outdoors, and this is the reason that I have chosen to hike. Trust me, there are plenty of other things to do before committing to four years of education. And third, I have come to appreciate and believe that who I am today does not have to be who I am tomorrow. I am sure I will learn and develop as a human on this almost six-month journey, and that is exciting and in many ways comforting.
I Am so Crazy Lucky
I have awesome friends and an awesome family who (at least to my face) support this hike. They are all pretty excited, although they might think it’s weird when I debate how many energy bars to order or when I ask them to come over and set up my tent in the backyard, but all in all I think they get that this is what makes me happy. Many of them have got more nerves than I do about the solo/SOBO/17 combo—but they know I will not stop at their word, so they have joined me—and darn it feels good. I have talked and talked about my gear and hiking plans, unintentionally beaming ear to ear. Some are amused by my excitement, some are genuinely thrilled, and many a combination of the two (of course there are haters but I don’t pay any mind to them). I am so excited to share my journey with all, the thrilled, the amused, and the nervous alike!
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