Will the real Margaret please stand up….
Let’s Get started!
Early March, 2023 I will begin my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. You are all so very welcome to follow me on my journey. A great big shout out to my family and friends from The Netherlands to Maine and anyone in-between. You are the reason I am currently sitting in front of a computer screen and will be doing so occasionally along my 2,198.4 mile journey. For those of you that know me well, you can understand why this might be as much of a challenge, if not more than the physical hike from Georgia to Maine.
I have found the advancement in technology and in particular the rise and influence in social media over the past couple of decades ‘frighteningly overwhelming’ to phrase it mildly. I deeply believe I was born in the wrong era. I am not affiliated with any social media accounts and spend very little time on the small computers we carry around in our pockets, once upon a time know as phones. I could continue to discuss how much I dislike this part of the modern world, but that is not what this blog is about (not entirely anyways).
So here I am, behind a computer, and surprisingly, happy to be! I am excited to share with all those that wish to read about my upcoming adventure. In doing so, I hope to keep my family and friends informed about my well-being and share the moments and experience of the trail with all. I intend to use my smart phone as little as possible on the trail and intend to update my posts on town/resupply days so please have patience.
With my blogging intentions known, perhaps I should share WHAT I am doing and for some more importantly WHY!
As previously mentioned I will be thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail beginning in early March, 2023! For those unaware, the Appalachian Trail is a continuous footpath from Georgia to Maine (or Maine to Georgia depending on your travel direction) covering various types of terrain and elevation for 1,198.4 miles (3537.9 km). I will be a NOBO hiker ( A hiker traveling north from Georgia to Maine). Everything I hope to need for survival (shelter, water/food, clothing) and some small comforts will be carried on my back! I will be happy to share more details on the contents of my pack in future posts! Just a heads up, No gun, and no mace for this hippie. I come in peace.
Starting in early March and traveling northbound are two (over)thought-through decisions. With my start date around the corner I am at peace with my choices of date and direction. I do not handle cold weather well, so a start date in late April or early may is perhaps better suited for me, however I wanted my start date to have significance. My father’s and brother’s birthday falls on the same day in March. I sadly cannot personally share this journey with my father, as he passed away in 2018. I do however hope he is aware of what I am about to do and can smile, or laugh a little, on the thought of the little girl he built a barbie doll house for about to take on the Appalachian Trail. My oldest brothers Doug was born on my dad’s birthday, and although we have not always been close(mostly due to a large age gap of 18 years), we have over the last few years found a common interest. Hiking! And the Appalachian Trail in particulier. My last few visits to the US in 2018 and more recently in 2022 he took me on a couple day hikes. In 2018 we hiked Puzzle mountain in Maine which connects with the AT. This was for me the moment that I knew the idea of hiking the Appalachian Trail needed to be more than just an idea to ponder. Doug has hike all of the AT in Maine twice over and many more trails. He has inspired me more then he knows!
With my start date chosen, the northbound direction should have been a given. I grew up in Maine…walk home right?? Not so simple, like a lot of people in the world since 2020 avoiding crowds has become very important. For me fear of crowded areas started a few years before the infamous corona virus entered our lives, I live in a overpopulated area in Holland, where going to the grocery store stresses me to the max. So I spend a lot time considering hiking SOBO(southbound) as this is the less popular direction. I even considered up until a few months ago, picking a less popular trail, even take on two smaller less known trails back to back. But what I decided was to do what has been calling my name since I was a teenager, and that is, hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine! So by George that’s what I am going to do, crowds be dammed!
I mentioned already why I will be starting in the begining of March( despite the cold) and why I’ll be hiking northbound (despite the mass amounts of people), but why walk 2,198.4 miles in the first place?? Good question right?
Why? An infamous and loaded question that hikers either love to talk about or dread. I am somewhere in-between, I have been told by many past thru-hikers the importance of understanding why you wanted to hike and the importance to write it down and remind yourself of this reason for the miserably hot or cold or bug infested or painful days on the trail when you need motivation to make it through to the next day. So I did this. What I found was a long list of all the things I felt are wrong with me, things I struggle with and things I felt need to change, somethings I found myself writing down were things wrong with the world. Hold on now, do I really expect walking the AT to fix these? Damn girl, talk about digging a dark hole to never come out of! Okay save this list, but think more basic.
Why am I Margaret, choosing to spend the upcoming 5-6 months walking the Appalachian Trail. Simple! I love to run! I love to walk! I am amazed everyday where my legs can take me and how far I am able to push them! Walking is my favorite mode of transportation, If time allows, I will always walk to my destination. For me walking allows time for reflection and for thoughts to be captured or released. I do not have any unreal expectations that the trail can solve any mental health issues or lead me to a new and beautiful career. I am however aware that being in nature for a period of time allows people to reset and sometimes reconnect with themselves. This is what I hope. I want to come out a stronger person, perhaps better (if only in my eyes). Not to not find the Margaret that I once was, but to help me find the strength to be the person I know I can be. This is not going to be provided by the trail. I do not expect to show up with my overpriced ultralight gear and see the light. I am willing to work hard and play harder! I welcome the physical and mental challenges that lie ahead. BRING IT ON!
To end my first pre-hike post I’ll leave you with words from an eloquently spoken rapper know as Eminem…:)
May I have your attention, please?
Will the real Margaret please stand up?
I repeat, will the real Margaret please stand up?
We’re gonna have a problem here?
No problem here slim shady…going to take a long walk and I’ll stand up again!! 🙂
Good vibes to all,
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