ZACHSQUATCH IN DA’ HOUSE!!!!!!
My name is Zach Barger, I’m from Louisville, Ky and I’m twenty-three years old. In May of 2013 I graduated from the University of Louisville with a Bachelors Degree in Middle/Secondary Education. The reason why you are reading this blog post is because about 6 years ago one my best friend and I were doing what we did best; dicking around in Randy Penner’s Woodshop Class. (Those were good times)
On one particular day, Adam and I were being about as productive as a slug when he told me about his uncle who hiked something called “The Appalachian Trail.” Upon listening to Adam tell me about his uncle’s journey through the woods, an idea popped into our heads… “HEY, LETS HIKE THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL TOO!!!!!! IT’LL BE SO FUN!!!!!!”
In high school, Adam and I were always the type of people that lived by the motto you only live once. (For the record, the term ‘YOLO’ had not been coined yet) So on that very day in Wood-Shop class Adam and I made a pact that we too would become champions of the Appalachian Trail.
After reading “Appalachian Trials: A Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail” I began to think a little bit more seriously about why I wanted to thru-hike the AT. So without further ado, here are seven reasons why I would like to hike the Appalachian Trail:
1) It’s my party, I can hike if I want to
One of the main reasons I want to thru hike the AT is simply because I can. I’m one of those people who realize that I’m in control of my life and I can pretty much live however I choose. As long as I don’t get begin to trust what politicians say or get thrown in jail I figure I’m doing okay in life. (I dont think I would make it very long in prison or politics…so I’ll stick to thru hiking)
2) I like backpacks
I’ve been working at an outdoor retail shop called Quest Outdoors since May of this year and I freakin’ love my job. I’m lucky enough to work in a place that allows me to learn more about backpacking and it has helped me realize how much I enjoy the outdoor industry. If I don’t end up going into teaching after my thru hike I can safely say that my career will be somewhere in the outdoor industry.
3) I want a really, really…..really long beard
I’ve had a beard for about three years and I’ve always kept it fairly clean… but I’ve been growing (no, farming) this beard on my face for about 8 months and it’s as rowdy as is it red. I’m telling you, ladies and gentlemen, this beard keeps me going! It’s like a motivational speaker that follows me everywhere I go!! I look into the mirror sometimes and my beard just seems to say, “You got this, Zach. Go out there and show the world what you’re made of!” And I just look back into the mirror and say, “Alright, beard. Challenge accepted.”
But anyway…I’m not shaving until I reach Katahdin. (Sorry Chelsea)
4) I put my future career on the back burner to thru hike the AT
When Adam and I had the “Ok, we’re really doing this?” conversation, I made the decision not to apply to be a Jefferson County Public Schools teacher. It was really hard for me not to go straight into a teaching job because it would have been the smartest move (from a professional/economical standpoint) on my part, but then I wouldn’t have been able to try and thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. As of right now, I think putting off the teaching job for an opportunity to take part in an adventure of this magnitude is going to be completely worth it.
5) I want to learn more about myself
I’ve always been the type of person who loves a good challenge. When I went to college it was tough at times, but it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’m much more happy with who I am today versus who I was when I started college. I think the people I met and the challenges I faced in school helped mold me into the person I am today. I can only hope the people I meet and the challenges I face on the Appalachian Trail will be as significant to my life as college was.
6) I’ve told everyone I know that I’m thru hiking
If you’ve talked to me for more than five minutes in the past few months, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ve told you what I have planned. I mean, I’ve literally told everyone. You think I’m joking, don’t you? Hows this; I was on the phone with my bank trying to sort out some stolen credit card issues (screw you drugstore.com) and I wound up having a 15 minute conversation with the dude who was settling my dispute about my thru hike.
The point is, if I come home with my tail between my legs I’m gonna have to explain myself to people. I’m not doing that; thru hiking isn’t supposed to be easy. When the times get tough, I’ll try my best to take Zach’s advice and consider my woeful times character growth.
7) If Sasquatch is out there, I want to find him
Self explanatory. Folks, If he’s out there, Zachsquatch is gonna find him. I don’t have high hopes, but I do have a camera. If I see him, I’ll try to snap a picture for you all.
Thats all for this time, folks! Big thanks to Zach for letting me be one of his 2014 thru hike bloggers and hopefully I’ll get better at the whole blogging thing throughout my adventure.
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