Today is the Day

Today is the day I leave for Maine to begin my SOBO hike.I have an anxious excitement but I’m ready. It’s been a year and a half of planning and it feels good to have your dreams come to fruition.

We (myself and my boyfriend Jared) arrive in Bangor late tonight. So, we will be getting a hotel and tomorrow get a ride to Baxter State Park. I had originally planned to start on July 10, but we probably won’t summit Katahdin until July 11 which isn’t a big deal. Jared (NOBO Class of 2014), will be tagging along and hiking with me through the 100 Mile Wilderness and leave me around Monson and I’m very grateful for that. I’ll need his guidance.

 

Why SOBO?

Many people have asked why I chose to start in Maine, and the short answer is I didn’t.

I had originally planned to go northbound but due to some financial reasons and obligations I had to some friends it would’ve been a hassle for me to start in March or April. I considered a flip flop hike but I didn’t want to deal with the extra planning. So, if I wanted to hike the AT this year (and putting it off another year was NOT an option) I was left with a SOBO.

When I first decided to hike the AT going southbound wasn’t even an option in my mind. I thought southbound hikes were for avid long distance backpackers looking for a challenge. They wear shorty shorts that show off their giant thigh muscles and hike 15-20 miles before noon.

I’m not one of those people.

I’ve actually never done any long distance hiking and I’ve never had a desire to do any until now. I quite like modern ammenities like air conditioning, Netflix & microwave french fries. All of my hiking prior to this had been day hikes. What has drawn me to the trail isn’t the extreme physical challenge or love of backpacking and roughing it. It’s the solitude, freedom & adventure I’ll experience while I’m on the trail.

Although I’ve been nervous about starting my journey with the two most difficult states on the entire trail, there have been a lot of positives that have made me excited about going southbound too.

Going south means I’ll be walking home

I live in East TN, 30 minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains. If I can walk home then I can finish the last few hundred miles.

I’ll be starting with the two most difficult states

If I can get through the two most difficult states physically then I’ll have no problem with the rest of the trail.

Less crowded

I don’t enjoy crowds or being surrounded by a lot of people. Going southbound I won’t have to deal with the bubbles you hear about with NOBOs. I’ll have more of the solitude I’ve been longing for.

I’ll get to experience new places

I’ve only ever hiked in the Smokies and I love them, but I’m excited to see new places, parks and mountains.

I’ll get to hike in the Fall

Fall is my favorite season and I love the colors. I’m looking forward to being in Virginia, North Carolina & Tennessee in the Fall.

 

The list could go on, but I’ll stop there. The point is I’m excited about my SOBO and my outlook is positive.

Next time you hear from me I’ll probably be through the 100 Mile Wilderness!

Happy Trails!

 

 

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Comments 6

  • Avatar
    Kelsey : Jul 9th

    I am so proud of you. Ian excited to see you accomplish your dreams and watch you experience new trials. You will do amazing, just stay safe. Love ya friend and happy trailing!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Pam : Jul 9th

    I admire your determination and dedication to hike the AT, I know you will acomplish your dream. I am looking forward to hearing about your many adventures and the pictures along the way. Stay safe and don’t forget to look up and be aware of the beetles! lol

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Roxanne : Jul 9th

    Excited for you! Can’t wait to hear all about it and see the finished scrapbook. Be safe! God be with you!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    George Brenckle : Jul 11th

    Best of luck to you. My son and I completed a SOBO last year. Maine and NH are tough but beautiful. The 100 mile wilderness is actually a good warm up for Sputhern Maine. And you’ll love Monson! Jared at Shaws and Rebekah at Lakeshore House are two of the best human beings I have ever met. Enjoy!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Deborah : Jul 11th

    happy trails 🙂 look forward to seeing your posts.. Hugggsss..

    Reply
  • Avatar
    TBR : Jul 11th

    SOBO … good plan, even though it was not the plan. Hiking in the fall is the best time. I’m jealous!

    The 100 Wilderness is great — you and Jared will enjoy it, for sure.

    Reply

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