You’re Doing What? Why?

I am sure anyone who has pitched the idea of a thru-hike to friends and family is familiar with this question: You’re doing WHAT? Whyyy?

Yes, I am choosing to walk 2,192 miles over the mountains and through the woods. Yes, I ditched my apartment and am voluntarily unemployed. At 24.  With student loans piled a mile high. No, really. This seems like a great idea.

My Story

Last fall my life took a 180 turn from where I thought it was headed. I then decided to pursue a dream and plan to SOBO thru-hike the AT. At first, I asked myself, “You’re doing WHAT? Whyy?” in a very inquisitive, judgmental, skeptical manner. But it was too late. My adventure mind was made up, and my logic mind just had to get on board.

I had never done a thru-hike, or any overnight hiking/camping trip in the backcountry, when I decided to plan my AT hike. So I had my work cut out for me. You’ll hear many different things about how people planned, or didn’t plan, their thru-hike. I planned A LOT due to my lack of experience and financial situation, and after countless hours of research, budgeting, trips to REI, and nights laying awake dreaming of the woods, I’m hitting the trail.

Why Am I hiking?

I am hiking to intentionally take a step back from life and to experience it at its most raw and fundamental level. Over the past few years I have experienced a significant amount of trauma and heartache. In part, I am hiking to process through those experiences. However, that is not the whole story. I am hiking to grow, to remind myself that there is more to life than what meets the eye, and to live life to its fullest.

I know this quote is used often, but I believe Henry David Thoreau put it best when he stated, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” Thank you, Henry, for singlehandedly giving us the perfect explanation for why thru-hikes are a great idea!

Why Am I Blogging?

I am blogging to share my story with as many people as possible. I am writing for myself to process the past, to memorialize the present, and to hope for the future. But I am also writing for you. I hope my story and experiences can help you overcome the struggles you face. And yes, I also hope to inspire you to run away to the woods. I won’t deny it.

Why Should You Follow Along?

  1. Because I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of my newbie mistakes (i.e., not bringing a map on my shakedown hike. Stay tuned for the next blog post.).
  2. I want to give you a raw taste of my experience on the trail, including the good, the bad, and the muddy.
  3. Since I am a personal trainer and lover of all things fitness, I will be sharing content on nutrition, recovery, and injury prevention on the trail.
  4. You just might find yourself wanting to get off the couch and into the woods as well.


Photo courtesy of Leah Rachel. | Insta @leahrachelphoto

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Comments 11

  • Joy : Jun 26th

    Love this! So inspiring 🙂

    • Kim Del Bene : Jun 27th

      You got this!A quote I teach Lacey is and tell myself well things get tough is“ I am woman, hear me roar!”. Go get it!

  • Bryan : Jun 26th

    Best of luck, sweetheart. And thank you for allowing me and June to share some of our thoughts and experiences with you while you were in the planning stages. We’ll be living vicariously through you until we finally set out on our next adventure in the fall. I hope you find the fulfillment you so desire. I couldn’t imagine living without backcountry adventures to put life back into perspective. Enjoy yourself and be safe. Now go kick some butt, girl.

  • Brett Mitchell : Jun 26th

    So excited for this! I’ve done section hiking by Harpers Ferry, but dream of doing larger sections when the kiddos get older.

  • Judy Fisher : Jun 27th

    Keep me posted…
    Good Luck.
    God Bless

  • Andrew Grzanka : Jun 27th

    Good luck! Though you will have ups and downs, remember that you’re there to experience a different kind of life, and enjoy yourself! The worst day on the AT is better than the best day in the office, and any day you wake up is a great day (even if it’s raining)! Enjoy it, it will change the way you view life for the better.
    -Baby Bear AT SOBO ’16

  • Sharon : Jun 27th

    You go girl, I’m rooting for you! It’s just one foot in front of the other, with a lot of common sense and appreciation of every experience you encounter along the way. I’m looking forward to more.

  • Just Bob : Jun 28th

    Great lead in story. I look forward to following this life tale.

    Thank you and the best of luck !

  • Cliff w : Jul 3rd

    Have a great trek — SOBO a good
    Idea – my personal fav way !! I
    Can tell you — you WILL be a
    Diff – more reserved person for
    Your trek – it puts many aspects
    Of life into perspective !! Be
    Safe !! ENJOY !!
    C.W. 1977 NOBO
    2003 FLIP FLOP

  • Bryan : Jul 17th

    Call of the Wild

    If you can spare me but just a moment
    I’d like to share a tale I heard today
    As to whether it’s fact or fiction
    I’m not at liberty to say

    It’s about a girl the natives call Anne
    Who went to spend months out in the wild
    Searching for something eternal
    Transforming her inner child

    With pack and tent and dreams in her head
    Her journey began to unfold
    She headed for the Appalachian Trail
    At least that’s what I’m told

    Enjoying all the backcountry offered
    And relaxing when she could
    Wholeheartedly embracing Mother Nature
    Like any true outdoorswoman would

    What prompted her to wander?
    No one may ever know
    I hear there’s been speculation
    She just knew it was time to go

    There were scattered reports of her sighting
    As the legend continued to spread
    But was it Anne they were really seeing?
    Or merely an illusion instead?

    If you should happen upon this nomad
    While roaming here and there
    Remind her there’s friends back home
    Who genuinely care


  • Bryan : Jan 23rd

    I know Anne had a real tough go of things this year and gave it her best. Still. Quite an accomplishment for a newbie who never backpacked before. Congratulations. Even though she was unable to finish, I’m hoping now she’s had time to catch her breath and recuperate she’ll put together a recap of her adventures and share it with the rest of us. Good luck next year, Chestershire. June and I are pulling for you.


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