I'm Forrest and I'll be traveling SOBO on the AT in 2017. I'm currently an AP Environmental Science, AP Biology, and Biology high school teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. My wife and I are into long distance cycling and trail running. I've done a self-supported bike tour from Canada to Mexico, I've thru-hiked the John Muir Trail, the Loowit Trail around Mt. St. Helen's, and Buckskin Gulch/Paria Canyon in Northern AZ/Southern UT. Wilderness conservation and environmental justice are my passion. Building an environmental ethos in my students, as well as getting them out into the wild, gives me meaning. Hiking the AT has literally been a goal of mine since I was in elementary school. This thru-hike will be an opportunity to share the wild with my students back in AZ, push myself physically, do an adventure with my wife, and be in the wilderness in the way it always transforms me.
I am taking a momentary step-away from my classroom for several weeks this fall as I do a southbound traverse of the Appalachian Trail. Although this journey is one for me, I do not want it to be my own. As an educator of urban youth, I need them, you, and all to inherit the wilds with a will to defend them and the action to enjoy them.
Training for a thru-hike means embracing the outdoors, discomfort, and mental fortitude. This is my advice for how to train for the AT when your trip is years ahead.
I will be thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail southbound beginning in June 2017. This will necessitate leaving the education world (but I will return) and a life in Phoenix (but I will return to AZ). This is an explanation for context. I've come to realize the following: Don't isolate yourselves from humanity, but set yourself on a path within it. Hiking is humanity on a scale of what humanity has always done for ages.
In an age of vehicles and photo-sharing, the experience of wilderness has been dulled and framed. Thru-adventuring is a chance to engage the senses again.