Try Tom – Now With New Minty Flavor!
Ahhhh…it’s February 1st! Generally, I’m slightly grumpy and bitching about the cold and snow. But not this time. I’m too busy planning for the AT. I’m 100 days from my northbound thru hike. 100 days! But first, let’s go back to the beginning….
Hi everyone! *waves in an enthusiastic Forrest Gump to Lt. Dan manner*
I’m Tom and thanks for joining me on my AT thru hike journey. This has been quite a ride and I literally just splashed cold water on my face 3 minutes ago to make sure all of this is real. You see, I have been planning a thru hike for 18 years. 18 years of dreaming about touching the plaque on Springer. Or how I would pose at Katahdin (still haven’t figured that one out- the Captain Morgan stance has since played out). Or my first hitch, the ponies at Grayson Highlands, the 100 mile wilderness…*sigh*…you get the picture. I have read about it, dreamt about it, and talked about it incessantly. I’ve even hiked some of it.
Let’s go back to the beginning
I was 12 years old when I first hiked on the Appalachian Trail. That summer I would go on two separate multi-day trips and learn someone could actually walk from Georgia to Maine. I’ll be honest. At age 12, I had no freaking clue what that really meant. I just knew that it was a realllly long distance. I would do small hikes off and on through my school years.
It wasn’t until 1998 when the desire to hike reignited. I was 7 years into my military career when I told my roommate I was looking for a challenge. In a casual way, he simply said “You should hike the Appalachian Trail”. *Boom* You know when the proverbial lightbulb goes off? That was me. It was like the 4th of July, New Years Eve, and that bitchin frat party you learned your first keg stand at, all rolled into one amazing moment. The desire became so powerful I could only think about one thing…I had to thru hike the Appalachian Trail.
To spare you the really in-depth backstory of the last 18 years, lets just say the Appalachian Trail is what kept me going during my military service. On deployments, I would read the new autobiographies that came out that year. I bought Wingfoot’s trail guide and studied trail towns and information (Wingfoot revolutionized the guide book system we know today and was the precursor to AWOL’s guide). I would section hike various parts of the trail wherever I was stationed, and I remember my lungs about to explode hiking in the Whites but loving every minute of it.
What’s in store?
I intend to write weekly leading up to my hike. If you know me in flesh and blood, you know I am never short on words and I love to weave a good story. I will try my best to do the same in print. Here are some topics I will be writing about:
- Gear! I love gear. My kit is forever changing depending on my trip. I sometimes wake up in cold sweats worried I’m going to take the whats-a-hoosit instead of the whatcha-ma-callit. Each week I will highlight a piece of gear that is definitely going into my kit.
- How I plan (or, does winging it count?)
- My favorite AT books. Books that inspired me or made me feel like I was there with them.
- 5 people I would like to meet on my hike
- Other hikers I follow
- And much, much more!
Thanks for following along. I’m super excited to write for Appalachian Trials!
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It looks like we will be starting NOBO within a few days of each other! I will be starting on May 10th – see you on the trail!