Why I’m Quitting the Appalachian Trail

By the time you see this, it will have been roughly three weeks since I decided that my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail has come to an end. I did not make this decision lightly nor was it due to a singular reason. I spent a good amount of time self-reflecting, talking with others, reading over my list of reasons regarding why I’m hiking, and just some good old crying. If you have kept up with my journey, you know that there have been days that the intrusive thoughts of quitting were quite prominent. And I held fast against those demanding whispers. Until I didn’t. Here’s how it happened.

“If a plant can grow, flower, and survive in a tough environment, I might be able to adjust and thrive despite the challenges of my own situation.” – Susan Morgan

The Seed

It was a typical day filled with nothing but hiking. Depending on how I feel, I may listen to music, follow along with a podcast, think through some things in my head, or just immerse myself in the sounds of nature. I woke up that morning feeling like it was a podcast day. I was hiking alone, but I knew that my tramily was nearby. I had recently downloaded an episode from Backpacker Radio that talked about the logistics of hiking the Colorado Trail. David Fanning was the one being interviewed. When he was asked why he hadn’t set his sights on any of the triple crowns, he remarked that he gets bored. The Colorado Trail’s length suits him well and that anything longer wouldn’t hold excitement. When I listened to that explanation, I paused mid-step and muttered a ‘huh’. I didn’t know at the time that that conversation was what convinced me to reassess my priorities. 

Germination

As the days passed and the miles added up, the more I became aware that I wasn’t fully enjoying myself. It wasn’t all misery, don’t get me wrong. There were times that I was laughing so hard, my cheeks hurt. Or I had moments of complete and utter peace. Or that I was allowed to let my barriers down and explore the person I tend to lock up and dismiss. It actually was the little things that built up over time that made me aware that I was ignoring what I was feeling. I didn’t always start the day not wanting to wake up and hike. Towards the end of my journey, the main reason I got up to hike was because I needed to keep going and that hiking the majority of the day in the heat sucks. I would grow angry with how the trail was designed and I would loath having to hike up another mountain.

At the five hundred mile marker, I played “I’m Gonna Be” by The Proclaimers. Fine Yound Buck and I stood there singing along. Kea took this candid shot of us celebrating and singing.

When Fine Young Buck had to get off trail due to medical reasons, I realized that his presence was what kept me going. We had some fantastic conversations that always lifted my spirits. It is so rare that one feels like they can truly be themselves and be accepted. I felt like I could let my inner child out and be safe. With him gone, I had nothing but myself to rely on.

Growth

I did hike on, though. Two hundred miles to be exact and I struggled with most of it. The thought of quitting became more and more persistent. Everyday, I pushed the thoughts away or drowned them out with music or podcasts. The more I did this, the more I grew unhappy with where I was at. One day, I had a moment where I stopped to evaluate why quitting was so appealing. If it was just because I was tired and wanted to rest and relax, then I knew that I would continue on. Sure, I would address the physical tiredness as best as one could while attempting a thru-hike, but being physically tired is not a good enough reason to end it.

Duck, Gourmet, Sweet Potato, and I sitting near a ledge basking in the view. Walmart was kind enough to capture this moment.

I recall a day where I really struggled to continue on. I ended up looking back at my sixteen reasons why and went through them one by one. And one by one, I felt nothing. No spur any sort of feeling to get back on my feet. I thought about it some more and realized that the ones that motivated me most at the beginning have been resolved or I felt like I have accomplished them. The main reason I was out hiking the Appalachian Trail was to gain confidence in myself. By mile five hundred, I felt that. I really felt that when I recalled a memory that helped explain why I never thought I could do something like this. And it continued to develop over the next two hundred miles.

Flowering

I was really struggling to continue, so I made smaller goals. They would vary between making it to the next town, make it to one thousand miles, visit my friend in New York, or make it up the next mountain. The most motivating one was to make it to Trail Days. So I did. I waited for two days in Daleville for the festival to begin. In all honesty, I went so I could possibly rekindle any motivation to continue. I knew I wouldn’t be seeing Mt. Katahdin, but I hoped to at least make it to Harpers Ferry. Trail Days did the opposite of what I wished. As I stood among the masses and listened to the stories of passionate hikers, I felt acceptance. Acceptance that it’s okay to stop. Specifically, I felt this most when hearing the adventures of section hikers.

There are a portion of thru-hikers that speak poorly about section hikers. I never understood why. Section hikers, in my opinion, are more determined to hike than any thru-hiker and it was their stories I listened to at Trail Days. They were the ones that helped me make peace with my decision. Granted, as Trail Days came to an end, I headed back north with absolutely no plan whatsoever besides getting back on trail. Fingies, who I tented next to and who gave Duck and I a ride back up trail, offered me a place to stay so I could figure out what it was I wanted to do. The twist was, they lived on the southern end of the Shenandoah’s – a hundred and thirty miles further north. I decided to go with them. I said goodbye to Duck and wished her well on the rest of her journey.

Ripening

Once I was at Fingies home, I spent the entire next day debating what it was I wanted to do. Aquablazing wasn’t an option by that point and I wasn’t too keen on starting the trail again when the weather was reaching the upper 80s. I did want to hike in the Shenandoah’s, though. After updating my resume, mass applying to jobs, and contacting my old supervisor at Glacier National Park to see if I could join the 2024 season, I committed to hiking to the northern end of the park. I bought six days worth of food, purchased a backcountry pass, and replaced my torn up Chaco’s. Early the next morning, I was back out on trail.

Me at the top of Little Calf Mountain in the Shenandoah’s. 

I made plenty of noise as I was worried about bears. My fear faded pretty quickly, though. After I was six miles in, I stopped to take in the view. The distant rolling mountains were covered in swaths of green and I was surrounded by flowering plants that added a pop of color. The sky was a vibrant blue with barely any clouds blocking the view. It was a gorgeous day. And it was there that I announced to the woods, “I’m done.”

This was the exact place I decided that my hike was finished.

I hiked down to the nearest road crossing and sat in some shade. I checked my phone and was thrilled that I had service. The first thing I did was purchase a train ticket to Washington DC. I then called for a ride to Charlottesville so I could board the train. I found a place to stay there and spent the next day exploring our nation’s capital. I then booked a train to New York City and visited my friend for two nights before finally flying to my parents house in Oklahoma. I was greeted with tornados the first day and was blessed with covid the day after that. I got the whole experience.

Me in front of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. I had to go due to a certain childhood movie. The amount of children screaming and running was overwhelming.

The amount of pictures I took of the Washington Monument is concerning. I wasn’t even that impressed.

So…Why Did I Quit?

Good question. Besides having my list of reasons not mean anything to me anymore, here are some other reasons that made me leave trail.

Testing and Feedback

I don’t tend to take personality tests, but they can be a method to help become more self aware or do some self reflection. Back in 2021, I took the Enneagram test. At the time, my highest score was for type six: The Loyalist. Not all of what describes a Loyalist fits me. Personality tests aren’t a ‘one size fits all’ situation. What hit the nail on the head, though, is when it stated that Sixes have a tendency to ‘test’ others by provoking them to see how they react. They do this to see if that person is loyal to them. If that person passes the ‘test’, then the Six will remain loyal to them in return. I seem to do that with everyone, but I do that mostly to myself. And I am relentless. I have a tendency to hold myself to such a high standard and force myself into situations to ‘test’ my ability to withstand whatever challenges I’m facing. I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. 

The Appalachian Trail was just another test. I prepared for months to hopefully measure up to whatever the trail could throw my way. I decided to find an audience that would be interested in what I was about to do to hold myself accountable. Accountable for what? It was just another way to ensure I did not fail. I didn’t have to do what I did. When I started the trail, I wanted the experience to be more than me seeing how much shit I could withstand before breaking. It was a struggle at first. It got better when I continued on from Franklin and became even better when I met the Backstop Boys (a.k.a. DunkAroo, Sweeper, and Fine Young Buck). For the longest time, I felt great. Great about myself and my body. As I was constantly told, I was a ‘badass’. My hiker legs came in and so did my appetite. But with all high points, there must be a low. The romance of being on trail disappeared. I didn’t realize I was romanticizing the trail since everyday was a challenge. 

Me sitting at Laurel Falls. Photographic credit: Fine Young Buck

The last few weeks on trail was where I constantly felt like I was not enjoying myself whatsoever. I struggled with the feeling of failure. That I was failing this test I set out before me. I tried to remind myself that I have hiked over five hundred miles. That that is an accomplishment on its own. I didn’t care though. I wanted to call myself a thru-hiker. I became obsessed with that title because it meant that I succeeded. That I was the badass that everyone said I was. Obviously, it didn’t matter in the end. I had a moment of realization that I was fed up with my own bullshit. Why do I keep pushing myself in such a toxic way? I’m like that kid that keeps poking the bear with a stick to see how long it takes till the bear retaliates. I don’t know my own boundaries. And if I do, I ignore them until they no longer exist. At the end, when I realized that the only reason I was out there was to see how much further I could go before I cracked, I called it. I was done.

Stability

The last week before leaving for Georgia, I had a mental breakdown. I cried to myself. I looked in the mirror with tears streaming down my face and my eyes red and blotchy, and asked, “Why do I keep putting my mental health last. Every. Single. Time?” I told myself that being on the Appalachian Trail will allow me to focus more on my mental health. It did. And it didn’t. Before starting the trail, I knew I was ready for a more permanent job that allowed me to stay in an area for more than six months. After I left trail, I realized how much I needed stability in life. There are two ways of going about life: surviving and living. I’ve been in survival mode for quite a while. My family has moved around several times and when I graduated college, moving around and having an impermanent place to live was the norm. I didn’t know anything else and the thought of staying in one place was horrendous. 

The constant moving from campsite to campsite didn’t bother me at all. I thought I would grow tired of the need to do the same camp chores over and over again, but it never did. Instead, it was the feeling like I was putting my life on hold so I could do this hike that I have dreamed of doing since I was ten years old. I wanted to do this hike while I was still young and could enjoy how my body could support me better. I ignored how I felt and chalked it up to worries of having no stream of income. Sure, draining my savings made me anxious, but I started to realize that I was just ready to move onto the next chapter. When I realized that, I made peace with the idea of leaving the trail.

Boredom

I always considered Appalachia my second home, but that only stayed true until I went west to do seasonal work. The mountains out west have a more rugged beauty that seem to exclaim, “I can kill you quick or slow and I won’t tell you which.” The Rocky Mountain range is a role model that you fear and respect in equal parts. The Appalachian’s, on the other hand, also demand respect, but in an elderly sort of way. The AT shows you how much history those mountains have experienced and will continue to weather. Both can beat your ass up if you don’t take precautions, but I no longer felt a kinship with the Appalachian Mountains.

Frankly, I was just bored. With a few minor deviances, the views were becoming lackluster. I knew going into it that the Appalachian Trail doesn’t have as many ‘thrilling’ views as other long distance trails – especially when the green tunnel starts to come in. I was excited for what views there were, but it started to feel like I was seeing the same thing over and over again. The last week and a half I was out on trail, the view consisted of a mountain range in the distance with large telephone lines cutting through the green. I quickly grew tired of it.

In general, I hike in the expectation that I will get a reward. That reward either being in awesome views, how I feel about myself and my ability, or with the deep reflections that can happen. The last place I recall being really excited for, besides the occasional waterfall, was the Grayson Highlands. That was a fantastic day filled with amazing views and encountering ponies everywhere. As time went on, I wasn’t feeling like I was being rewarded. I know, just writing that makes me sound really fussy and privileged. Regardless, the AT was feeling like a pointless task that I set out for myself. I was tired of it.

Lack of Escape

Living in the woods wasn’t escape enough? At first, it was. I always wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail because of a childhood fascination. I later learned of other long distance trails, but, in my mind, I assumed that the Appalachian Trail was the obvious trail to start with. It’s close to towns and has several points where one can get off. That was what I needed. At the beginning. The further along I hiked, the more confident I became in my ability to survive as a thru-hiker. I started to not want easy access to get off trail because then I was more tempted to disregard my injuries and desire good food and a shower. If it’s there, then you take advantage of it.

I did not have the self control to be completely removed. For the most part, sometime during the day, I would have cell service. I would check up on the outside world because I had no self restraint. Yes, I know that’s a me problem. It is something I need to work on. I have known what it’s like having absolutely no cell service in an extremely remote location and it was the best thing ever. I was forced to focus on other things and I ended up being more productive because I couldn’t rely on my phone to keep me entertained. I had hoped the Appalachian Trail would provide that environment for me, but it rarely did. I felt suffocated by being near civilization constantly, but I took advantage of it as well. It all contributed to a mental struggle.

Injury

If you have followed along, then you are well aware I had issues with a high ankle sprain. I include this section as a courtesy because if I wasn’t struggling with boredom or lack of motivation, my injury would not have pulled me off. I’m too hard headed for that. I did what I could to help fix the problem, but it was just never enough. I knew if I really wanted to heal, I needed to get off and rest. My injury was the straw that broke the camel’s back, though, when I was in the Shenandoah’s. When I declared to the woods that I was done, my left foot was entirely numb. Normally, it was a toe or two. This time, it was the entire foot. I laughed at the situation and knew I was done. 

Do I Regret my Decision?

I have had three weeks to sit with my choice and reflect on my decisions. Do I regret it? No. I was ready to be done and move on with my life. I really struggled with it in the moment because I feared that I would have regrets. I knew I made the right choice when I booked a train to Washington DC and I felt relief. Everyday since then has reaffirmed my decision.

So… What Now?

In the very near future, I will be starting work, once again, at Glacier. I was very lucky that they had an opening and that the new hiring manager figured I knew what I was doing. While there, I will hope to find a more permanent job with the National Park Service or with a similar federal or state agency.

Me at Upper Grinnell Lake in July 2023. The usual extremely blue water was mixed with glacial runoff – giving it that milky look. Photographic credit: Mary

This won’t be my last attempt of a thru-hike. I enjoy being in the woods too much for it not to happen. This also won’t be my last post. I have plans to talk about the lessons I have learned out on trail, the things I miss, and the gear changes I made and why. So.. stay tuned!

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Comments 64

  • richard held : Jun 15th

    You are an inspiration for me. Good for you ! You have a wonderful life and keep on hiking. Richard

    Reply
    • Dana Shields : Jun 19th

      You won’t be bored at Glacier with grizzlies sniffing your next meal. You will be very excited.

      Reply
  • None Given : Jun 15th

    The great thing about Glacier is there are hundreds of hiking trails. I think The Trek.co is more about sharing hiking trails and the hiker’s experience; I encourage you to write about the trails you hike in Glacier. As you know, hundreds of people live vicariously through you on this page. Let us explore with you.

    Reply
  • Chris : Jun 15th

    You arent a failure or a quitter for bringing your hike to an end and don’t ever let anyone feel like you are. You succeeded and survived 800 miles of the most grueling unforgiven hiking terrain on planet earth. There are people that successfully hiked every trail on this continent that failed on the AT. Sure the CDT and PCT have their own challenges but they are nothing physically or mentally for that matter compared to the Appalachian trail. I’m beginning my trek in August because of the heat. Sure it will still be hot but by the time I venture into unforgiving terrain it will have cooled. Going for a double flip flop. Best of luck in all your future endeavors. You proved what kind of character you have and have accomplished your reasons for hiking the AT

    Reply
    • June : Jun 17th

      “You arent a failure or a quitter for bringing your hike to an end”

      “You aren’t eating by imbibing that candy bar.” Of course they are, the question is whether or not that is OK. It is definitely OK to fail, and often fine to quit, but it does change how people view themselves which can take on other forms in their life.

      People should definitely know their limits, work up to physical challenges and understand what they are wanting to get out of an endeavor. But denying reality out of politeness doesn’t do anyone any favors, including those evaluating their limits when it comes to the trail.

      Reply
      • Ray : Jun 17th

        People are allowed to change course and it doesn’t always mean failure. How is hiking 800 miles failure? If anything she exceeded expectations. She made the choice to stop and it was a well informed choice.

        Reply
    • Poet In Rain : Jul 1st

      It took real courage to make that decision. This was a compelling read…I really admire your honesty. It helped better frame my expectations of winning & losing on the AT. T.u Inspired effort. I will be looking for you out there. Poet.

      Reply
  • Lynn Benedict : Jun 15th

    Morgan,
    I have so enjoyed reading your thoughts and experiences. You are a bad ass! Looking forward to more please from Glacier.

    Lynn in the mtns of SE West Virginia

    Reply
  • thetentman : Jun 15th

    cya

    Thx

    Reply
  • thetentman : Jun 15th

    cya

    Thx
    Good luck in the future

    Reply
  • Rick "Quiet Man" : Jun 15th

    A very thoughtful, insightful, intentional explanation of your success! There is more to a journey than a random physical end point, even one as majestic or mystical as Katahdin. Seems to me you found more than many even hope for when they start a long-distance hike. Well done.

    PS: Thanks for section hiker shout out!

    Reply
  • Albert Craven : Jun 15th

    I have enjoyed your posts immensely, and the stopping-your-thru-hike post, was well written. You laid it all out and you made great sense!! I was living vicariously through your and others adventures! When you feel it, try another trail, but don’t rush it. Build up your funds and live your life! Thanks for your pics and posts!!

    Reply
  • Joseph Hann : Jun 15th

    You did a good job out there,and should be proud of yourself .it’s tough sledding out there I myself had a failed attempt in 1985. I went 1000 miles . Not a day has gone by since that experience doesn’t cross my mind. I really enjoyed your post and the best in your travels

    Reply
  • Sandy Chin : Jun 15th

    I will never be a thru hiker, but through your posts I have been able to transport myself to the AT. Continue to hike your hike and thank you so much for your wonderful posts.

    Reply
  • Scratchy thru hiked 1991 : Jun 15th

    I hiked the year of the perfect storm. Got caught in two hurricanes , got hit by lightning once. I would have regretted giving up the trail. Go back some day and finish it

    Reply
  • Linda in NY : Jun 15th

    You’ve been one of my favorite Trek bloggers this year. I can’t hike anymore but grew up near the AT and love it. You’re an excellent writer and an amazing hiker.

    Best luck for the rest of the season and beyond. Thanks for the enjoyment of following your journey. I have so much respect for you!

    Reply
  • Brent Sabjet : Jun 15th

    If you read the comments first, let me save you 10 min. “It got hard so I quit.” No shame, but finishing would have felt a lot better. 80% of people never find out.

    Reply
  • Leah Love : Jun 15th

    Congratulations on your journey! ✨
    Excited to follow your future adventures!!

    As a current Rocky Mountain girl that grew up in VA, I understand the call to these big, new mountains while feeling a tie to those old, wise beauties back East. Holla if you make it down to CO in the future!

    Reply
  • MATT ARMSTRONG : Jun 15th

    This is a wonderful article for various reasons. It reveals inner feelings. Reveals the impact of an injury. Reveals that probably 90% of hiking is a grueling ordeal with only 10% pleasure. Also reveals the folly of pushing a “thru hike”. Thru hikers are serial section hikers anyway. My view is hikers the AT any ole time you want and any way you want. Take years if you want. While you’re doing it you can say, “I’m hiking the AT!” When you’re done you’ll be able to say. “I hiked the AT!”

    Reply
  • Lynn : Jun 15th

    Morgan, you inspired me! You will succeed in all that you choose to do. Thanks for taking us all along on your stroll through the Appalachians. You are a fantastic writer. I hope you continue writing blogs, articles, and whatever you like. Enjoy your summer at glacier, all the best, Lynn

    Reply
  • David O. : Jun 15th

    I’d say you found your way. May you continue to do so! ❤️

    Reply
  • sage : Jun 15th

    “It is so rare that one feels like they can truly be themselves and be accepted. I felt like I could let my inner child out and be safe.”
    -same, as a GNC folx I also never felt safe and it was so tiring having my guard up 24/7.

    “I thought about it some more and realized that the ones that motivated me most at the beginning have been resolved or I felt like I have accomplished them.”
    -also same. we crushed exactly what we came to do.

    Reply
    • TripleM : Jun 15th

      “as a GNC folx”

      As a what?

      Reply
      • Brianna : Jun 16th

        Gender Non-Conforming peeps, sparkle unicorns that rock 😊

        Reply
        • Deborah A : Jun 17th

          I hiked all over the Western China Himalayas while teaching English. Some very remote, high altitude places. Incredibly beautiful, a lifelong dream. I will never regret my time there and entering into new cultures. Amazing students and over 140 minority groups. Shangrila found!
          Writing a book now.
          The Llama Momma/ Anna H.

          Reply
  • Anna : Jun 15th

    Morgan, thank you for taking me on your walk through the woods. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. You hiked the Appalachian Trail! I’m not sure why some people get hung up on making it the whole length. It’s not about the destination–it’s about the journey and you hiked your own hike with courage, humor, perseverance and an open heart & mind.
    When Grandma Gatewood was asked why she hiked the AT, she simply said “Because I wanted to.” You decided to get off the trail “Because you wanted to.” You don’t owe anyone a justification (except for yourself).
    Happy Trails, wherever they may be.

    Reply
  • TripleM : Jun 15th

    “as a GNC folx”

    As a what?

    Reply
  • Rolf Asphaug : Jun 16th

    This was a really good, thoughtful article that I think will help others wondering if they’ve gotten all they want out of this or another trail experience, or whether section rather than thru hiking is a better approach for them.

    I listened to David Fanning’s interview as well. The Colorado Trail is visually stunning in places and its foundation claims it’s “mile for mile the most beautiful trail in America,” but it too has its lackluster sections. I was glad to hike it – a shorter hike than you completed! – and at 66 I’m fairly certain it’ll be my longest hike from this point onward.

    If you get a hankering to hike the CT look me up! I’d love to help. I’m a Trek blogger myself and a former guest on the podcast. Have a wonderful time in Glacier – would love to visit that someday.

    Reply
  • Stoic : Jun 16th

    Be proud of what you did because most people will never manage to backpack for 20 miles on a trip let alone well over 500. You did what you needed to do out there, not everyone needs to finish the trail to accomplish what they need mentally. You will always find a few that look down on you for not finishing the whole trail but you can be confident knowing that there is something in their heads that they still haven’t managed to get right, some level of childish immaturity that you have learned to let go of at this point.

    Reply
  • Lucus Keppel : Jun 16th

    As you know, I’ve been praying for you since before the beginning of your hike. Being able to have the discernment you needed to end the hike is just as important as that which started you hiking. And you ended your journey with a time of Sabbath, spending it with friends and doing the restful activities that you most wanted. That’s wonderful!

    I’m glad to have been able to follow your journey, and have enjoyed reading your story, both the good things and the awful. You have a clear voice, and your humor is evident through it all. I look forward to continuing to read your work as it’s released!

    Reply
  • Holly : Jun 16th

    I’m glad you followed your heart, instincts, and yes even logic. I wish I had known you were going to be in DC I would have driven you around and showed you some things most tourists don’t see or can’t see. It’s a bummer you came to DC at the worst time, the peak of tour season ugh, loud, crowded.
    So glad you got a job in a spectacular place! I hope we hear from you again. Happy Trails.

    Reply
  • Karalee Manning : Jun 16th

    Thank you for writing about your experience. I like getting everyone’s point of view. I’m glad you found what you wanted. You sound like you know what you want. Really loved your pics!! Your confidence in yourself is a breath of fresh air!!

    Reply
  • Ellen R : Jun 16th

    Thank you Morgan for taking us along on your hike. It is hard enough to hike without having to blog on daily basis. You had 2 jobs for the entire time you were on the trail, hiking and entertaining us. Best of luck to you at Glacier NP. It is on my bucket list so perhaps I’ll be lucky enough to meet you one day and thank you for sharing in person.

    Reply
  • parker : Jun 16th

    you’re amazing. thank you for sharing your journey with us- massive support & love to all you do next!

    Reply
    • Jingle bells : Jun 17th

      Bravo. Thanks for sharing. Awesome closure. Best of luck in the future.

      Reply
  • Mackenzie "The JuiceMan" : Jun 16th

    Hello, and good afternoon (Or morning or evening or anytime that you get a chance to read this) Morgan. I hope that today has treated you well and that you are doing well. First off, I really really really would love to thank you for chronicling your journey and taking us on the trail with you. Letting us feel and experience all of the highs and lows, all of the setbacks and comebacks, all of the twists and turns and laughs and cries with you. It’s something that I know I’m going to cherish as I am doing the same with my girlfriend on the trail too as well right now (You probably know her, she’s even popped up in some of the pictures that you’re taking. You probably know her as Garment and that’s how I found out about this blog. She has so many amazing things to say and I’ve been keeping up with her and you ever since she told me). I also want to tell you something that I have told her and speaking with her. What you did was absolutely amazing and it’s something that I only wish I could do! Where do you finish a couple of miles, halfway, or the entire thing regardless of that you did something miraculous. Don’t let anyone including yourself take that away from you. It doesn’t matter what the outcome was really, what mattered was the experience and what you took away from this journey. It has been wonderful getting to be a part of your expedition and I hope to hear from you in the future. I like to think of this as the first step to something bigger and grander and more exciting. Anyways have a wonderful day Morgan.
    (Garment says hello too)
    ((Hi Thea, I miss you! Take care of yourself)

    Reply
  • Josh : Jun 16th

    I’m an AT thruhiker. I’m also a CT thruhike quitter and a PCT thruhike quitter. One of the best lessons I’ve learned was that it’s okay to walk away and change course. Too many folks finish this trail and was like “it was miserable!” That’s just no way to live life, to suffer.

    I loved the AT, but PCT wasn’t for me — I missed the mountains, the community, and the peaceful simplicity of the long green tunnel — and it’s not for everyone, just like the long slogs on the PCT weren’t for me. You’ll find your Trail. Congrats on what you’ve finished!

    Reply
  • Maureen : Jun 16th

    Very pleased with your update! You have done a remarkable thing. 500 miles of tough hiking plus all the time-consuming unpacking and repackaging day in and day out. Hunger, rain, cold, dirt. So many challenges. As I sit here on my porch in my rocking chair (I’m in my 70’s) I can’t even imagine the trials you have faced and overcome. I have enjoyed your blogs and wish for you joy in your further adventures as you move through your next life phases. We all have just today to experience our lives. Carry on, Morgan. You’ve done something most people could not! Peace….

    Reply
  • miss heather : Jun 16th

    bein’ in nature isn’t ’bout what you see, it’s ’bout what you perceive.
    you are not receptive to their messages ’cause you have walled yourself off.
    you know what you have to do.
    face the reasons why you don’t.

    Reply
  • Cindy Fortney : Jun 16th

    Morgan,
    I’ve known your Dad and his family since we were little kids from Lake of the Ozarks. I’ve enjoyed your journey and journals. You should be very proud of yourself right now. You are very courageous! I know several in the National Parks and Xanterra. If you haven’t checked out Death Valley, you’d enjoy its beauty and differences, too! Furnace Creek is a Go To place for me when out there. Good luck on your new endeavors!

    Reply
  • Julia : Jun 16th

    You’ve been such an inspiration to me through my own difficult time (major back surgery & a new knee) this spring. I’ve delighted in your journal and insights. Your humor has been uplifting and contagious. I’m all healed now, or mostly, and your posts were in a large part helpful to my positive attitude. Living vicariously through you and your tramily’s hike, I even think I may try some section hiking – at 72.
    No need to overdo a good thing is what I’d say. You’ll have a great time in Glacier this summer and I wish you the very best and many more hikes in your future. I loved your writing and so many of your insights, useful and honest. Thanks for the pleasure it has been to share your hike.

    Reply
  • .com : Jun 16th

    Morgan, what a grand hike you have had!Wish I’d hiked with you.. .I sectioned the AT & finished in 2016. Everyone’s hike truly is different, as is your hike. Have you read all these wonderful comments? How much you mean to others? How you have inspired so many other people? I encourage you to PRINT OFF these comments, make them into a book. . .”Sweet Inspirations” could be a book title, whenever you need this stuff in your head or in your soul. We all really believe in you, really love you, Morgan!
    Stay well, hike (or not), keep living for yourself.
    .com

    Reply
    • James William Soares Jones : Jun 21st

      Hello, Morgan, you have a pleasant Cymric name! A long time ago I read another long distance interweb journal. I knew that others would enjoy it, and encouraged the author to self publish it. What’s that, she asked…voila, 350 copies later at least, she found out. Her previous hiking had been 5 or so days in the Ozarks as an initiation. Next year she did 2,000 Appalachian Trail miles. She skipped certain miles, so she fretted. A faceplant into a tree after a New York stumble and twenty minutes of unconsciousness, fierce acrophobia over a certain Maine mountain, an hour paralyzed in I CAN’T GO ON BECAUSE OF THE HEIGHT EXPOSURE thoughts coming one mile before the sign atop Baxter Peak… No….. she did not skip as far as I am concerned. She grew even more powerful as a walker and person. She walked her own walk.

      Keep moving, thinking and sharing. Ya done good so far.

      Reply
    • BobP : Jun 21st

      You put yourself out there Morgan. Few do. And endured many challenges. That alone is a great accomplishment. Congrats.

      Reply
  • Jenny : Jun 16th

    I appreciate that you let us in on your thoughts and actions as you made your decision to end your hike. You aren’t a quitter! You are turning the page and starting another amazing adventure. That’s life, peeking around the corner through all the hubbub and confusion and suddenly you’ve made a choice. Good for you! I’m going to miss your blog- I was always excited to see that beautiful smile knowing good writing and great pictures would follow. Take care of you, enjoy Glacier NP, and let us know how things are going, I will miss you.

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  • Brianna : Jun 16th

    Dear Morgan, I’ve so enjoyed your humor throughout your narrative journey storytelling. Reading the good, bad and otherwise, reminds us what it is to be human! I hope you have a blast in your new adventure in a new (old) environment and I love that you are taking a big step forward, huge props that you recognized where you were at (mentally/emotionally) and that continuing wasn’t serving you. All the best and hoping you keep us updated on western/Rocky adventures!

    Reply
  • Patsy Diunizio : Jun 17th

    Morgan, my nephew has hiked the AT. through several times. He lost 40 lbs the first time and he was not overweight to start. Said it was a physical & mental challenge all the way & best thing he ever did. My question for you…did you lose weight? You surely did not look physically fit, so I am glad you made it as far as you did….sorry you struggled so to make the decision to stop. Get in better physical & mental shape & Try again someday.

    Reply
    • Elyse : Jun 17th

      Patsy, are you okay? It seems to me like you are projecting your own weight problems. Instead of talking like “Mother knows best,” try and think why you believe losing weight is everything in life. In case you never realized, everyone is not the same. Do you feel confidence in saying such things because we can’t put a face to your name? We all know you wouldn’t say it to Morgan’s face. Instead of flaunting your nephew’s achievements as your own, maybe try making your own achievements through yourself. Take a hike on the AT with only the mindset of losing weight and see how far that will get you.

      Reply
    • Tammy : Jun 23rd

      Patsy,
      I can’t speak from experience but I imagine that most people who hike the AT learn to not care what other people think about their journey.

      Reply
  • Zach : Jun 17th

    Life’s too short to spend your recreational time on something that doesn’t bring you joy. It takes courage to recognize when something isn’t right for you and to make the tough choice to change course. Thanks for taking us along on your journey.

    Reply
    • Chuck Brawner : Jun 17th

      Thank you for taking time and effort throughout trip to post pictures and updates on your blog.

      I enjoyed following you and others on their trail pursuits.

      Far more miles than I could have hiked and packed.

      Best wishes on future outdoor adventures!

      Reply
  • David Recchia The Crock : Jun 18th

    I’m more of a 500 miles and done hiker .by the next season rolls around I can’t wait to get back out on the trail

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    • Mo : Jun 18th

      Same here. 500 miles us still a long backpacking trip!

      Reply
  • Adrian : Jun 18th

    Magnificent effort, well done.

    I am a believer of when it’s right, it’s right and if you were done with the trail then that is what was best.

    I look forward to your future updates.

    Reply
  • Megan : Jun 18th

    I’m glad you were able to be honest with yourself and not just power through for the sake of being able to say “I finished.”. It is a tough decision to make. Completing what you did was not an easy task and I really enjoyed reading your posts, I’m only bummed that there won’t be more! You should consider writing a blog about your experiences in Glacier or future outdoor adventures!

    Reply
  • Tammy : Jun 23rd

    Tuck your ugly back in. Nobody wants to see that.

    Reply
  • Jenny Phillips : Jun 26th

    I have followed you since the beginning. I’ve loved every min of your blog and I loved reading this post as well. You are a great writer and I hope to read more of your writing and more about your life again one day. Thanks for being amazing.

    Reply
  • John Tercius Rutkowski : Jun 26th

    Well written and thoughtful. You need to walk your own walk. You got what you needed

    Carry on.

    Buen Camino’

    Reply

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