Waiting for Family (a note to the class of 2016)

As many of you are en route to Springer to begin one of the most epic adventures of your lives, I sit patiently in Pennsylvania waiting for you to get here. Okay maybe not patiently. I am tearing my gear apart every night to see how I can get lighter, dehydrating food like I’m an apocalyptic prepper, and writing companies in an attempt to get some help with my hike. I could leave now and start hiking, but one of my most favorite things about the trail is all of you. In the 1200 miles I’ve hiked thus far, my most memorable experiences are from the smiles and laughs I shared with my fellow hikers. Don’t get me wrong… I love strolling through the woods and hearing nothing but birds, flowing streams, and treetops dancing in the wind but I also love having a family to experience it with. As you approach your start dates, please do me a favor.


I saw hundreds of people drop off the trail before the end of Georgia and many more before North Carolina. Please don’t be one of these people. I want to meet you. I want to share experiences with you. I want to smile with you. This will never happen if you start telling yourself your pack is too heavy, that you’re just not cut out for this, or that it’s boring. You will get stronger and your pack will get lighter. You’ll realize that it’s actually fun once you get the hang of it and the people you fall into a pace with will become your family. When you’re done with Georgia you’ll say to yourself, “Wow! I just did that.” When you finish North Carolina it will be, “I walked through 2 states!” Before you know it you’ll be in Virginia saying to yourself “It never ends.” It really doesn’t. Sometimes your hicker family will be the only thing that makes you want to keep going. You’ll push yourself past your breaking point just so you can see if it sucked as bad for everyone else when you finally reach camp. Then you’ll all complain and laugh about it. Don’t give up. I mean it’s just walking right? You’ve been doing it your whole life! You should be good at it by now.


So I’m waiting. Waiting for my new family, new experiences, and new friends. When you get further North, I’ll hop on and join you. Trust me, we’re gonna have a blast. In the meantime, stay strong, happy, and hydrated. Most importantly, Keep walking. I really want to meet you. I’ll see you there.



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Comments 2

  • David Wilson : Mar 12th

    Just what in the blue – white – blazes is going on with that montage at the opening ?

  • Kira Thornley : Mar 12th

    I love this! So encouraging!


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