Hi, I’m Joey, trail name “Moon Pie.” I grew up in Florida with sand and sea in my soul, sailing, camping, and exploring this beautiful world. After raising a family in Georgia, my spirit of adventure demanded to be set free. I knocked out 1800 miles of an Appalachian Trail thru-hike in 2018. Now I’m busy filling in my gaps and working on a new end-to-end adventure: The Long Trail in Vermont. Here on The Trek I blog about hiking, gear, and my favorite trails. You can also find me on You Tube @JoyfulRambler.
It’s easy to think that getting the right gear is the key to a successful thru-hike. Building the ideal kit for your hiking style certainly does make
Thru-hiking is expensive. Sure, you can go to Wal-Mart or Amazon and get nearly everything you need, but most of it will weigh a ton and be poor quality, or both. To get the really good stuff - or at least the stuff everyone says is really good – rumor has it you’ll need to shell out big bucks. Do you really need to spend that much?
This is THE YEAR I’m awake before dawn on this first day of the new year, filled with anticipation and a slight sense of panic. This is the year I
As an aspiring thru-hiker, my lack of a trail name sometimes felt like a brilliantly lit billboard proclaiming, “She’s a wannabe!” Being a nameless newbie backpacker made me feel incomplete at best and at the worst, like an all-out imposter. I know a name is just a name, but having one gives me strength and a sense of belonging I didn’t have before.
For all the years I fantasized about one day hiking the trail, there was only one way. In my mind, thru hiking has always been starting at Springer Mountain and heading north, one foot in front of the other, all the way to Maine. Things have gotten a bit more complicated as I explore the many thru hiking options. Now I wonder, where should I start?
We were ready to head out on the trek from Unicoi to Deep Gap in North Carolina. That first big up, the one I’d be dreading for a month, wasn’t as bad as I expected. We were fresh and well rested at 8:30 in the morning. It was cold out, about 34°, but once I got moving the brisk air was refreshing. I didn't know then this Thanksgiving hike wouldn't turn out quite as planned.
I’ve grown a lot as an aspiring thru-hiker in the past six months and I have a long way to go (2190 miles and counting) before I reach my goal. This is one adventure that wouldn’t be possible for me without help, support and encouragement from others – many of whom I’ll never meet. Knowing that I can’t do it all by myself, I made a list of all the things I’m thankful for as I prepare for my trip. This is my Thru-Hiker Gratitude List.
When I started planning my Appalachian Trail thru hike, I didn't expect to spend hours upon hours researching stoves, sleeping pads, tents and other equipment, meticulously comparing features, prices and warranties. Can’t you just go to Amazon (or REI) and order everything you need? Nope! Finding the right gear is a lot more complicated than that.
Why do I want thru-hike the Appalachian Trail? Surprisingly it's not the first question people ask me. But I want to know (need to know) my "Why?" Some days it's a hard question to answer, even for myself.
I was in full-blown confidence meltdown mode. My husband and daughter smiled sympathetically as they said goodbye, telling me how proud they were that I was even trying this backpacking thing. I carefully thrust my pack into the trunk, warning them that I might chicken out and return home again before lunch. Then I jumped in my car and headed toward Amicalola Falls.