No Time to Thru-Hike? Go Anyway.

After much procrastination, the planning has begun! The last few weeks have been frigid here in Ohio, perfect for puttering around indoors and really digging in to making this thru-hiking thing happen. I’ll go into detail on my gear list and planning methods later, but first let’s talk about the reason for committing to what is, for all purposes, the craziest thing I’ve ever tried to do, in a lifetime of crazy things I’ve tried to do.

It’s never the “right time” to commit to a six-month-long adventure in the woods. Quitting a job, putting a personal life on hold… finding someone to take care of my dog!  After abandoning plans to hike in 2007 (finished my internship, whooo!) and 2012 (grad school is over, see ya later suckers!), I have enough excuses not to hike this year to fill a trail journal.

I had no intention of hiking in 2018 either. Each year brought its own reason for pushing the dream into the future.   Whether due to financial reasons or personal ones, it just wasn’t the time. And realistically, things aren’t perfect for a thru-hike now either. After an unexpected job loss early last summer, I’ve barely been in my new position long enough to know who gets my resignation letter. Waiting another year would certainly improve finances. But for me, that would just be another excuse.

There is no such thing as the “right time” for anything. That there will be more time at all is uncertain. One of the reasons I love backpacking is because it is such a perfect metaphor for life. You pick up what you’ve chosen to carry and move forward, never quite knowing what the next mountain might bring.   This year, my trail goes from Georgia to Maine. It’s not going to be easy, but it is going to be an adventure. See you out there.

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Comments 2

  • Tim Terry : Jan 10th


    Great article! I’m finding myself in that same damn situation; when can I find a way to get out on the AT.

    Doing a thru-hike would be a very important ‘trail therapy’ endeavor for me, as I would bring along the ashes of my late son, who was a very active hiker with me all of his life.

    But you’re right, there’s jobs, and mortgages and bills and all of that getting in my way.

    And at nearly 60, these knees and other important things aren’t getting any younger.

    Thanks for the article and inspiration.


    • Jaime : Jan 17th

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for the feedback! I hope you make it out on the trail, it sounds like you have some powerful motivation to do it.

      Good luck and best wishes,



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