Taking a Right at Maine Junction

In July 2016 I thru-hiked the Long Trail in Vermont. This trail coincides with the AT for about 100 miles from the Vermont—Massachusetts border to a split called Maine Junction. After my first night on the LT I already had my eyes on the AT (overly ambitious, I know). After a week of walking through the Green Mountains, I came upon a fork in the trail. Maine Junction. Taking a left at this split will lead a hiker to the Canadian border on the LT. Taking a right will lead a hiker to Katahdin. I made a left that day knowing that one day I would walk up to that sign and make a right. I ended up reaching the Canadian border and found myself officially addicted to hiking. Now I am planning a 2019 NOBO hike on the AT and couldn’t be more excited about it.

Map of Maine Junction, where the AT and LT split in Vermont.

Preparing for the Trail

Physically, I have been preparing for the AT for a long time. Since my thru-hike on the LT I hiked all 46 of the 4,000 footers in the Adirondacks and a section of the Arizona Trail. Also, I started trail running this year. I am going to continue hiking and running through the winter to keep myself in shape. I know that injuries happen. I want to prepare my body for the beating that it is going to experience.

Me ~16 miles into my first trail marathon.

I revamped my gear list from my time on the LT. I know the importance of each ounce and I am going to spend the winter making sure that every bit of weight is accounted for before heading to Georgia. When my gear is all set, I will be sure to give a detailed gear list.

Mentally, the AT is going to test me. I am going to question why I am out there, I am going to doubt myself, and I am going to have bad days; that is all part of the hike. I visualize reaching Maine Junction having come all the way from Georgia. I will be able to reflect on where I started and I will finally be able to take a right and head to Maine. I know that I am capable of making this thru-hike a success, and I want to make sure that I give it my best shot.

What I Do that Is Not Hiking

Surprisingly, I do things other than hike. I am a mechanical engineering student at Northeastern University in Boston, MA, and will be graduating in December 2018. I studied abroad in Australia, Italy, and Vietnam. I go rock climbing a few times a week at a local rock gym and would love to develop the skills to big-wall climb. During my time at school, I have grown to enjoy running. I figured that if I like hiking I would probably enjoy trail running and, big surprise, I love it. In my typical, slightly over-ambitious fashion, I ran a trail marathon this fall. I trained during the spring and all summer for the race, which was on Oct. 13 in Stowe, VT. The race went really well and I can say that I will surely be doing more trail running. I am also attempting to make my own backpack to use for the AT. I have a sewing machine and plan to make a minimalist backpack that will (hopefully) accompany me from Springer to Katahdin. Still, hiking is my passion and I get out into the woods as much as I can.

Looking Forward

The AT/LT, near Killington, VT.

I may not start hiking the AT until March of next year, but for me, the trail has been a part of my life for years. There are few things in my life that have been so prominent in my mind over such a long period of time. The journey is the destination and I want to enjoy the moments leading up to the hike as much as I enjoy the hike itself. I know that it will have its ups and downs, and I welcome them. Life would be no fun if things went well every time.

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Comments 1

  • Mitchell Dech 'Skillet' : Nov 14th

    Sounds like you’re going to be more prepared physically than many, hope you have a great hike! One note of caution, some northerners and westerners underestimate the weather in the Southern Appalachians, yes there are springlike days in the middle of winter, but there are also winterlike days in late spring!

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