The Where’s and Why’s

Well, this is it. Let’s get acquainted.

Not too long ago my friend Galen and I were taking a walk to Devil’s Kettle Falls in northern Minnesota, and catching up on life events. We have known each other since we were 18-year-old goobers taking the world by storm by doing AmeriCorps NCCC before starting college. After a bit of walking and talking we got on the subject of what I might be doing after I graduate from Marquette University.

I didn’t have much of a clue, but who ever does?

I had been playing with the idea of getting a job right out of school, but that never sounded too appealing to me. We started talking trails when he asked why I wasn’t going to use that post-graduation time to hike the Appalachian Trail. I had always wanted too, right? So, what was the deal?

There was no deal. I thought about it for approximately five minutes and committed to the plan. On the way back to Duluth, I called my Grandma Maxine, who section-hiked the trail from 1990 to 2000, to ask if she thought the plan was too impulsive or crazy. She said go for it.

So, that’s what I’m doing. Starting late May of 2018 and following my graduation I will be flip-flop hiking first northbound (NOBO) and then southbound (SOBO) from Harpers Ferry.

Start the seven-month countdown.

Because I am hiking the trail solo, I decided to include a loose outline of where I will be and when. I will never post exactly where I am while I am actually hiking the trail (because of murderers), but would love it if my friends and family joined me for various sections. I am a big fan of alone time and solo adventures but more than 2,000 miles of solitude might be pushing it.

Some of my hike might be very cold. Some of it might suck. Something could still go wrong and get in the way of the whole thing. Overall, though, I am excited. I’ll finish around Christmas time in Georgia.

Where I’ll be, when


(starting from Harpers Ferry in West Virginia)

May 30 to June 25, 2018: Pennsylvania, Maryland

June 25 to July 9: New Jersey, New York

July 9 to July 25: Connecticut, Massachussetts

July 25 to August 21: Vermont, New Hampshire

August 21 to September 13: Maine



(starting from Harpers Ferry in West Virginia)

September 20 to November 15: Virginia

November 15 to December 15: Tennessee, North Carolina

December 15 to December 25: Georgia


*Correction: My Grandma Maxine section-hiked the trail from 1990 to 2000, not 2003.

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Comments 6

  • Gma : Oct 8th

    Typo ?
    It was 1990 – 2000

    Looking forward to reading your posts

    • Clara Hatcher : Oct 8th

      I’m on it for corrections – thanks G’ma

  • Bonsai : Oct 8th

    Hey there! I was a trek blogger for the 2017 season and ironically am also both from Duluth and a NCCC alumn! Really stoked to read about your AT experience next season. Best of luck!

    • Clara Hatcher : Oct 11th

      Amazing! I would love to get connected and hear about your adventures and any AT tips you have. It sounds like we’ve got a lot in common.

  • Jay Landrum : Oct 9th

    Good luck ( you got this )

  • Lindsey T. : Oct 21st

    Clara, it has been incredible to see the adventures you’ve undertaken since graduating from high school in Duluth. You are a huge inspiration to me and so many others! Happy trails! 🙂


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