Faces of the Appalachian Trail, 2014: Michael Adams

Trail Name: Ginga Ninja
Home State: Massachusetts
Occupation: EMT
Hike Timeline: April 19 – October 13, 2014

Why did you decide to hike?

I decided in the summer of 2013 that a more natural life was needed, rather than a morning commute, a day of work with miserable people (many EMTs are unhappy people), and an evening of take-out food with Netflix on and text messaging. A good effort was put to watch informative documentaries as well as exciting adventure shows, but I was going to bed unsatisfied with my day and waking up dreading the next. I was stuck in the big city hustle and bustle surrounded by all sorts of people who were distant, glued to their cell phones, walking by one another without looking or saying hello to each other. This reality made zero sense to me! I no longer believed in it and I no longer wanted to be held 50-60 hours a week by it. So, I began searching for new inspiration that could spark an interest to learn something new, take me to new places and see new faces who would hopefully be searching for a breath of fresh air as well.

What was the most challenging part of the journey?

You may assume that the physical aspect of the 2,000+ mile hike would be the challenge, but maintaining your resolve to give 100 percent every day for six months through rain or shine, flat or rocky , in great company or alone is going to be a testing challenge – one that you will not know exactly how to handle and not know if you can until you just throw yourself right smack dab in the middle of it. You need to maintain your mental fortitude in order to drive your body up and through Maine.

What was the most memorable part of the journey?

The most memorable part of my hike was the Roan Highlands of Virginia. This was the place and time that I began to break away, finally, from the stresses and anxieties back home with work and apartment and truck and debt and money. It was six to eight weeks into my hike and about 500 to 600 miles in. Landscapes, sunsets, summer and wildlife were replacing all the unnecessary distractions back home.

How did you feel after the hike was over?

Now that the Giant Trek/Journey of Epic Proportions has come to an end, all sorts of emotions are firing. Well, for one, I was content with putting off hiking for a bit – my feet and knees and shoulders are all thanking me for the much-needed rest. But, honestly I feel blessed and privileged to have been able to see that through. There is a new life about me now and it is such a gift to carry.

What did you gain from the experience?

The people from all around the country and world who I now know is a treasure to walk away with. Also, after finishing the hike in Maine and returning to Boston for a week and staying with my old roommate, I was able to host six different hikers over seven days and tour them around the city for a day or two or three before they went home. It was the perfect transition from trail to town.

What are your goals for the future?

Now with this experience, I plan to spend the next few years working seasonally and traveling abroad with work visas to South America and Europe to submerge myself into other cultures, languages, music, food and trade and bring back home the connections made and skills learned and gain for myself an education worth living for. When I’m abroad I intend to long-distance hike to see the countrysides and live outdoors all over the world the same way the wise ancients did.

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