The Final Countdown
I have been planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail for just over a year, and the day that I take my first steps through the arch at Amicalola Falls State Park is getting closer and closer. There has been so much research and testing of gear since the summer of ’22 that I’m finally happy with how my pack is. This wasn’t easy, especially when juggling working away from home and family life while at home.
For those who wonder…
I have decided to hike the AT to challenge myself in a way that I haven’t been challenged in a long time. I am an Eagle Scout, a combat veteran, and a location manager/scout for film and television production. During my time in scouts, I completed 2 Philmont treks and a trip in Colorado that was both hiking the Sangre de Cristo range and whitewater rafting through the Royal Gorge. I was in the Louisiana Army National Guard for most of my 20s, 9 years total, including a deployment to Iraq from 2004-2005.
Fast forward a few years to 2014, and I was again looking forward to a new challenge. The film industry, especially for someone of my position, can be very rewarding, and soul sucking at the same time. If you’re tracking, you might be thinking “Robert, you’re a glutton for punishment.” Perhaps I am, but growth and experience definitely come from getting out of your comfort zone.
Adapting to the changes
As mentioned above, getting out of your comfort zone is all about adapting to changes. It is the one thing we do that is constant. My military and film careers were all about adapting and making snap decisions on the fly. My preparations for the Appalachian Trail has involved a lot of these same adaptations especially with a logistics plan that I’m certain will go right out the window the very moment I set foot on the trail.
The idea of being at this campsite or shelter by this day, a resupply in this town, a night at a hostel by this time; it will all go out the window. But the logistics plan is nothing more than a basic guide to help generalize all of the details that go into a thru-hike. So as part of my preparation, I am prepared to adapt to the changes and challenges the trail are for certain going to throw at me.
I have prepped and planned as much as I can until I start my hike on March 26th. My final week home will be spent relaxing and spending time with my pups, loved ones, and friends. I look forward to meeting new people, making new friends, and tackling the challenges ahead. Happy Trails!
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