Welcome to my AT blog!

“It’s a bold strategy Cotton, let’s see if it pays off”

-how most people react when I say I’m quitting my job to hike the Appalachian Trail


Hi everyone! I’m A.J. and welcome to my Appalachian Trail 2017 blog.  It’s 1 month and 8 days till I start my adventure at Springer Mountain. 22 days till I move out of my apartment.  4 days till I submit my two weeks notice. 4 hours and 13 minutes till I stuff my face at dinner.  But who’s counting?  I wanted to make my first post to introduce myself and to share 1)why I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail and 2)what intend for this blog.

  • Why I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail

For my family and friends who don’t get why I’m doing what I’m doing, I wrote a list of why I’m deciding to leave my job and apartment to go live in the woods for a half a year.  For those of you who frequent the trek, my reasons will sound all to familiar: I’m after the challenge, the simple life, the beauty, the adventure, and all the other clichéd reasons that any thru hiker or adventure seeker would give when asked why. So, without further ado, is my simple list for why I’m thru-hiking the AT in 2017:

  1. First and foremost, I love hiking and it fulfills me every time I go. I wouldn’t choose to hike the Appalachian trail if that weren’t the case.
  2. Second, I believe that waiting till retirement for adventure, happiness, or fulfillment is no way to spend a life. I don’t want to work hard till I retire, paying bills along the way and then and only then stopping to enjoy myself. You only have one life, it doesn’t need to be dominated by having things and acquiring things.
  3. I want to see the United States, parts that I haven’t been to before and others that I haven’t seen since childhood. America is beautiful and has a lot to offer! It’s crazy where your two feet can take you!
  4. I know the trail will be hard, at times I will question why I’m trudging through the rain or willingly subjecting myself to discomfort, but the chance for adventure, a challenge, the trip of a lifetime, the memories, living simply, and being self-sustaining thrills me
  5. I love the challenge that the trail would present and the sense of accomplishment that would come with that. I’m look forward to the chance to live simply, free of schedules, free of societal responsibility
  6. Your life is an Adventure! I need to stop and smell the roses. I need to be present in the moment. Every single day is an adventure, not always good, not always bad.

And that’s my list! And here’s two cheesy pictures of me from recent hikes:



  • What you can expect from this blog

First, I really want to capture my hike and the memories that will go along with it. Photos will do that, sure, but it won’t capture all the funny stories, rambling thoughts, life-changing moments, or intricacies of the hike. So blogging would be the best way for me to not only memorialize my hike, but also allow friends, family, and future hikers a chance to live vicariously and be inspired to follow their dreams. Additionally, I’d like to write my experiences to improve my storytelling skill set and work on my journalistic capabilities.

Secondly, I choose the trek as my forum since it’s got to be the hippest, most user-friendly, and best designed site for the thru-hiking community (sorry trailjornals.com and whiteblaze.net). Since I’ll be blogging one way or another, I think that the Trek would be the best forum to share my experiences in a way that entertains, inspires, and instructs others in the thru-hiking community.

Blogging from the trail will be a learning experience, but I plan to write at least from every town I stop in, if not more often.


Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment, question, subscribe, or follow me on Instagram!


A.J. (no trail name yet)

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