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I thru-hiked the AT in 2013, answering to the name of First Gear. Rarely the first up or down a mountain, it suited me well. As a school-based speech language pathologist, there are no more half year forays in my near future. Still, my work affords ample vacation time compared to your typical 9-5er. I capitalize on summer vacations, spending large chunks of time ticking off the shorter long distance trails while I scheme about one day attempting the PCT.