The AT Seed Was Planted

That’s all it took

During my 2019 deployment, my boss and I were talking about plans after retirement.  He had brought up wanting to thru-hike the AT or possibly traveling around the states with a tow-behind camper trailer.  This was also around the timeframe where I knew my idea of doing something similar in a sprinter van probably wasn’t going to happen as soon as I’d like.  So, I did what most have done… ordered the book “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson.  After reading that book, the seed was planted.

My crazy obsession over the trail really didn’t start until a few years later, although I hadn’t forgotten about the AT during the time between.  In 2022, I started following AT YouTubers “Jay Wanders Out” and “Kevin and Leah” as they trekked northbound towards Katahdin.  Watching these people who were currently on trail drove me further down the rabbit hole.  I wanted to know every little detail.  Had to know all there was about the gear, food, logistics, weather, pooping, washing clothes, and landmarks along the way.   I couldn’t get enough, I was hooked!

A few of the books I’ve read


I don’t even want to know how much time I’ve spent on the deep dive into the world of thru-hiking the AT. I’m sure it’s a ridiculous amount of hours, and my wife would agree.  It was a TON!  I’m sure most of the hikers out there can relate.  I’m pretty sure I’ve read all the books about the AT as well.  Here were some of my favorites:

  • Appalachian Trials:  A Psychological and Emotional Guide to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail; by Zach Davis
  • The Unlikely Thru-Hiker:  An Appalachian Trail Journey; by Derick Lugo
  • Lost on the Appalachian Trail; by Kyle Rohrig
  • Pushing North:  Tame the Mind, Savor the Journey; by Trey Free
  • Grandma Gatewood’s Walk:  The inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail; by Ben Montgomery
  • Continue:  Right Click on the Appalachian Trail; by Phillip Valentine
  • Hiking From Home: A Long-Distance Hiking Guide for Family and Friends; by Juliana Chauncey

Thank You!

Many thanks to all the YouTubers who documented their adventures of past and present.  In addition to the vloggers, I followed several bloggers here on the Trek.  I feel like this is a good time to shout out to those people I’ve learned so much from and again a HUGE THANKS!

  • Jay Wanders Out
  • Kevin and Leah
  • Barkleycharles
  • Wedge Hikes the AT
  • Taylor the Nahamsha Hiker
  • Jeff and Maila
  • Early_Riser_71
  • IB TAT
  • Brad Brannon
  • Jeffvonvai
  • PackAndSoul
  • Jon
  • Peg Leg
  • Sam McClintic
  • I Suck at Hiking
  • Heather + Chuck on the AT

This is me every morning, breakfast and YouTubers. I was watching Michael McInally on his channel called I Suck at Hiking

Also, last but definitely not least, I’ve not only gained so much knowledge but Zach Davis and Juliana Chauncey, have provided much needed entertainment during my training hikes.  One can only do the same couple of hiking loops or out and backs so many times without going crazy.  These two have a podcast called “Backpacker Radio” that has kept me sane and dying laughing (especially with the poop stories).

Next post will be Training and Gear…. and then I’ll be on trail shortly after!

Follow along on Instagram as well


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Comments 9

  • Emy : Mar 23rd

    Yup! I concur, lots of hours and many I haven’t even witnessed. Never hurts to be prepared!

    • Early Riser : Apr 21st

      Just came across this post and wishing you the best of luck. Hope the journey is going well. Just remember, the trail is just the trail. It offers us the opportunity to create whatever we wish while on it. Each day is a gift; each blaze is a gift; each step is a gift.


      • Keith Owens : Apr 22nd

        Thanks man, loving it! Will be in the smokies soon.

  • Brad Brannon : Mar 23rd

    You are embarking on a life-changing experience! I’m excited for you as you navigate that transitional space. Looking forward to reading about your adventure.

    • Doc : Mar 24th

      Fellow blogger here and Army vet, 2005 to 2013. Setting out for some shorter through hikes this year, great articles I can relate ! Browse mine and you’ll likely feel the same. Good luck , cheers !

      Doc on the trail

  • Dad : Mar 27th

    Start day almost here. Looking forward to it. See ya tomorrow

  • donald owens : Mar 27th

    the day is almost here

  • donald owens : Mar 27th

    hope you have fun

  • Dad : Mar 28th

    Tomorrow is start day. Looking forward to it


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