Hi! My name is Kendra. That’s me in the photo up there. Well, me about 18 years ago. Not much has changed really, except I’ve outgrown those boots and chipmunks have lost their affinity for me.

I’ll be heading NOBO on March 4th, 2016 with my boyfriend and partner in crime Tyson. We both currently live in Maine, so this adventure will be homeward bound. And now, without further ado, here are my list of explanations and affirmations for my fast approaching thru-hike…

I am thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because:

  • I want to explore. Granted, I have traveled before. But to hike 2,200 miles and be among nature for five months is truly what I call an adventure.
  • I need a vacation. I’ve spent 18 years of my life in school, 8 years of which I have also maintained a steady job. That probably sounds completely melodramatic, but in all reality I’ve actually enjoyed my schooling and my career experiences. I just need a short hiatus to experience something different.
  • I want to further my career. I know that kind of contradicts my last point, but let me explain. Although I recently graduated with my BS in Marketing, I lack the field experience if you will. Essentially I’m really looking forward to becoming more WordPress savvy and adding Appalachian Trials Blogger to my resume.
  • I want to meet new people. I know that sounds cliche and all, but thru-hikers are among the coolest breed of human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
  • I like a good challenge. I’m a goal-setter, and thru-hiking topped the list after graduating college.
  • Five months of eating anything I want without regret. Self-explanatory.
  • And finally…I want to spend time with Tyson. He’s my best friend, and I’d like to add this to our decade long list of adventures.

When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, I will:

  • Embrace the sweet sweet summit sign on top of Katahdin
  • Sleep forever
  • Throw a party with all of my friends and family
  • Go rock climbing, my second favorite activity next to backpacking
  • Go back to school for my Masters degree
  • Start planning to complete the PCT and CDT for my Triple Crown
  • Stay in touch with new friends
  • Build a tiny house

If I give up on the Appalachian Trail, I will:

  • Disappoint myself
  • Disappoint Tyson
  • Disappoint my family and friends
  • Feel like I’m settling in life
  • Feel like I’ve wasted time and money
  • Doubt my ability to accomplish the goals I set

The hardest things to conquer on the trail will be:

  • Ailments. With a recent vertebrae fracture and continuous foot infirmity I’m slightly concerned that these may pose as obstacles to my journey. Stay tuned.
  • Monotony. I’ve heard of the Virginia Blues, and I’m just hoping I don’t catch them.
  • Minimalist-living. I love backpacking and minimalism on the weekend trips I’ve taken, but I’m curious to see how I adapt to it on a lengthened period of time.

The things I will miss most will be:

  • Family
  • My cat Han Solo
  • Regular showers
  • My bed

The support I am most thankful for:

  • Family and friends. I am surrounded by an abounding amount of love and strength given to me by the people closest in my life. Since the moment I told everyone of my plans to thru-hike, I have received nothing but encouraging comments and well wishes. I am truly blessed for every single one of them.
  • Hyperlite Mountain Gear. About a year ago Tyson started working for a brilliant ultralight outdoor manufacturer located in the mills of Biddeford, Maine. Not only have they been 100% on board with our trip from the start, they’ve be helping us every step of the way.
  • Sail Energy. My current employer. I was hired on after completing school this past May, and couldn’t be more fortunate. I fessed up in September about my plans to leave in March, and after some shock they agreed to let me leave and come back. I am so grateful for their understanding.

So that’s it really. I mean, there’s SO much more, but that’s it for now. Follow me on my adventure to Katahdin!

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Comments 2

  • Daniel 'Periwinkle' Smithson : Jan 15th

    Good luck. I thru-hiked the AT SOBO in 2011. Afterward my life disintegrated into divorce. Your family has transformed into Tyler and you. Your higher education was an amateur career. Your professional career you sacrificed. Now you’re supporting Tyler’s career when he returns to it. Your ailments could knock you off the Trail. In 2014 I flip-flop thru-hiked the PCT and flip-flop thru-hiked the CDT in 2015. Now, at 55 years old, I cannot stop being a bum in the National Parks. You too can Triple Crown if that’s what you really want. Hike on. Hike strong.

  • Sonya : Jan 30th

    You, Kendra, are an inspiration and your attitude and determination will surly send you to meeting your goals. You will learn more about each other than you ever imagined and it will be a time for you to connect… With nature, with each other, to yourself. I look forward to following your posts and I’ll send you stuff if you need it wherever! You’ve got this girl. I support you 100% you’ve got my number if you ever need a ride!! ‘Send it’ 🙂


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