What the hell am I thinking?

So here goes, my first official post to Appalachiantrials.com. I guess it will be a bit of an introduction to me, and as the title says: what the hell I’m thinking. My name is Jamison, I’m about to turn 40 and I’m going to hike the Appalachian Trail next summer. I’m overweight,  have high blood pressure, a crummy diet, a lack of exercise, a TV and screen addiction, divorced – you know, all the good stuff that makes me a middle-aged white guy. I was born and raised in Maine, left for a while for college and then came back in my mid-twenties. It’s a beautiful state, and I do very little to take advantage of it. That wasn’t always the case, don’t get me wrong! I spent a summer as volunteer trail crew for the AMC, have hiked Mt. Washington, some of the Mahoosucs and have been to the top of Mt. Katahdin. Those days have long been over though. So what the hell am I thinking, taking on a 2,200 mile walk in the woods?

Well, let me tell you- 2014 was an incredibly bad year for me. I had some personal struggles, most notably the loss of my father to suicide last June. He had battled chronic depression and severe debilitating pain for a very long time, and wasn’t strong enough to carry on. It was a heartbreaking, soul-shattering loss for me. It changed my day to day life. I battled with my own depression, I had panic attacks, sleepless nights, the whole works. In fact, a lot of that is still in the background of my life now. I’ve overcome a lot, but there are still days where the struggle is constant. I’ve been looking for something to make some sense of my life. Charity has filled a big hole. I’ve hosted a 24 hour game marathon for the past two years in April that has raised money for my local children’s hospital, The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland through a charity called Extra Life. They have been a big success, and very rewarding for me personally.

So when my buddy Jeff asked me to do a half thru hike of the AT, I jumped in, hoping I could use it to raise some more money for Extra Life. While Jeff is going to be doing just the northern half of the trail, I decided to continue after we finished and to do the southern half. After all, it’s for a good cause. I feel as if I’ll come off the trail a better person than I started it. I’ve gotten a great response already, and this ball just started rolling.

I guess it boils down to that I’m thinking with my heart, and not my head, which screams at me that I’m nuts every time I close my eyes. That’s what the hell I’m thinking.

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Comments 2

  • Nichole : Jun 22nd

    Class of 2016, woot woot! Best of luck, buddy!!

    • Jamison McLean : Jun 25th

      Thanks Nichole! Are you going to be on the Trail next year too?


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