Yes, I’ve read Wild. Three weeks and counting…

Here we go, three weeks out from beginning my thru-hike. I’ve had all my doctor appointments, I’ve set up all my bills to auto-pay, and I’ve said my goodbyes to some of my friends. This is getting real! I can’t believe that in three short weeks I will step foot on the trail, claiming it as my home for the next few months.

Whenever I tell someone what I am about to do, they always ask four questions:

wild1) Have you read Wild?!
2) You’re not going by yourself, are you?
3) Do ya got your boots? – often accompanied with a smirk


4) Aren’t you scared?

I find it interesting that those are the immediate responses I hear, not:

1) Woah—how are you feeling about this?
2) That’s an undertaking, so what has been the most challenging so far in planning?
3) What are you the most excited for?


4) I proud of you for taking this on!

The first responses are often out of concern for my safety, sure ok, I get this, but would it be the same if I were a guy? Would people be so worried that I go at this adventure alone if I were six feet tall and played football in high school? Probably not.

I can’t tell you how many times the book Wild has come up in me telling people that I am setting out for this hike, people that I didn’t even know would read that book. But somehow a woman setting out for a hike (on the Appalachian Trail not the Pacific Crest Trail) must mean the same thing as Reese Witherspoon and Cheryl Strayed. Since I have heard this question more times that my brain could ever handle I often have a smartass response—“Uh well that isn’t the trail I am hiking, and I am not going through a mid-life crises.” I would be less annoyed if people compared my future hike with A Walk in the Woods—at least they would get the trail right, and add humor.

No, I am not going to throw my shoes down a mountain.

Also, love me some Gilmore Girls, but (Spoiler alert, for you GG Fans, if you even read this blog) when Lorelei tries to do the whole “Wild” thing, even to the point of buying the same pack and boots , that didn’t help my case. Now I have gotten “Oh so you’re going to do what Lorelei did, looks like fun!!!”

Sorry, I had to get that out of my system, and fellow AT2017 hikers in their planning (especially women) probably have had the same issues that I have experienced. Because, like, we are all the same, right?

All seriousness, planning this hike, everything leading up to it has been challenging and fun, but not in the like planning for a week in Europe fun. It is fun in the deepest sense of the word. Fun like: you know this is actually going to change your life and who you are, and you are actively planning this. Fun like: becoming familiar on paper with the miles that your feet will cross over, probably cursing, and your eyes will see what truly makes this one mile special. Fun like: planning the most physically and mentally demanding thing you have ever done; like “yah we can push ourselves that day…” having no idea what your life will be that day.

Planning this hike has been a challenge in and of itself. I get lost for hours looking at blogs on blogs on blogs at gear, pack weight, food options, possible resupply locations, and everything in between. I utilize every shitty day outside in New England to walk around in my hiking shoes to see if I can bare the snow.

not pictured: more peanut butter, fuel tabs, pasta sides, and more!

I’ve made rules leading up to the hike for my life here, such as:

1) not complaining about the weather, ever. I am actively choosing to go live in the woods;

2) no buying clothes unless they are hiking clothes. I really won’t need this cute work shirt while I’m scrambling through Pennsylvania.

I have weighed and re-weighed, and packed and re-packed my bag; I’ve had my friends bring their Costco card when they visit me to buy some of my resupply food, and I have asked said friends to meticulously lay out said food in an organized manner to take a picture of it. I have called friends up when it pouring down rain asking if they want to go hiking. Ultimately, I have done what I can leading up to this hike.


But in the end, I have no idea what to expect: from the trail, from my body, and from God.

  • Yes, I have read Wild. It’s a different trail, and I am a different woman.
  • No, I am not going by myself. Apart from my two hiking partners, I have 2,000+ people I am hiking with.
  • No, I don’t have my boots—I’m not hiking in boots, but I do have my trail running shoes.
  • Yes, I am scared: but not because I fear the trail, but because I am excited for the trail.


Dear Springer Mountain, I will see you in 21 days. I will touch my hand on that beautiful plaque of yours and I will look ahead at the first white blaze knowing that you will change my life forever. I can’t wait to meet you.

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Comments 9

  • Janet Dunlap : Feb 16th

    Alli, Enjoy the journey. Hope to see you all on the trail. Gypsy J

    • Walker Bob : Feb 20th

      Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures.

  • Ruby Throat : Feb 18th

    Go, Alli! I hope to see you out there! Your food pic makes me so nervous, as in…I’m SO not ready for this because I don’t have 48 Snickers bars lined up and ready to go. Then I remember that Snickers are pretty much up for grabs anywhere, so I can settle down and not dwell on my laissez faire attitude about (not) planning my Snickers and M&M resupplies.

    I think I’ll adopt your rule of not complaining about the weather…because that may be the best rule EVER.

    Yes, I’ve read Wild. Yes, I’ve read A Walk in the Woods. No, I don’t have a gun. P.S. I can’t wait to see snakes.

    • Alli Huggins : Feb 19th

      Hey Ruby! Don’t fret about the snickers.. I am overfilling my boxes because I have two other hiking partners (so some are for them) and I plan on leaving behind food in hiker boxes for others. 😀 so that is to say, I will not (maybe I will) eat 48 snickers bars.

      And no I do not have a gun.

  • Eddie Robbins : Feb 19th

    Good luck!! I live 20 miles from Springer and enjoy seeing thru-hikers with so much hope and excitement in the beginning.

  • KT Saunders : Feb 19th

    I feel the same way about people constantly telling me to take a gun and “be safe.” So from one female hiker to another, instead I say…have fun and kick ass!

    • Alli : Feb 19th

      Us gals gotta stick together!

  • Ashley George : Feb 19th

    my husband and I leave march 7th, maybe we’ll see you out there!
    also, as a lady, I’ve gotten all those questions too and a lot of them change when people learn I’m hiking with my husband. It’s unfair, but in the spirit of your post – ya gotta respond with just living your best life out there. good luck, hopefully we’ll see you!

    • Alli : Feb 19th

      Oh I am sure we will see each other!!! We will be one day behind ya! Follow us on Instagram and reach out: @theatsaunterers and @ahuggable


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