Hello, my name is……what?
Introductions, introductions…what are introductions?
My name is Cori Wright, but you all can just call me Raven. I’m a 25 yr old 2014 AT Thru-hiker from Western CT. I consider myself very lucky because I was born to very outdoorsy parents. Over 90% of my vacations growing up involved a tent, and I probably spent more time outside hiking than most kids. I let my love for hiking take a backseat in high school, but it’s been back in the front seat for the last 5 years or so. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy being lazy, watching movies, reading a good book, or cuddling with my parent’s dog/my cat whenever I can.
Long ago, my parents answered a call from the American Hiking Society to join a 1980 Transcontinental Hike to promote awareness and funding for the USA’s long distance trails and parks, known as Hikanation. My dad was 27, living in Illinois, and my mom was 26, living in Connecticut, when they both went to join the group in California and hiked with them all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Throughout my life I have heard countless stories (some multiple times) about their hike and how they met. My dad has a near photographic memory, and enjoys hearing himself talk, so his version’s pretty long, but the abbreviated version is that they met on the fifth night of the hike while sitting around the campfire, and got engaged halfway through the hike – I know, that’s some pretty romantic writing right there. I recently saw a video put together by another hiker on youtube, my parent’s have their moment around minute 5, where she describes them as the “hike’s romance”.
The route they took in 1980-1981 is very similar to the path the American Discovery Trail (ADT) follows today. Heck, the ADT even uses photo’s from Hikanation on their website! My mom was so excited when she was browsing and noticed that that really was her and my dad standing in front of the Knobstone Trail sign in IN.
The last time I went backpacking before I decided I was going to hike the AT in 2014, was during a Hikanation reunion the week of my 11th birthday. Funny fact, this was also the last time I ate McDonald’s until I came across a bag of at least day old cheeseburgers on the MassPike overpass. Yes I do have photo evidence (see below), no I have not gone back to eating McDonalds, well except for one time, but it was the only food available and I had a chicken wrap. And fries.
Now back to me, me and me.
I worked for the local L.L.Bean store (yay gear!) for 2 years leading up to my hike, and after being fortunate enough to take a Leave of Absence with them, came back for 6 months after I finished. Currently I’m working part time at Barnes and Noble (yay books!) while working on changing my job field and broadening my horizons. I’m really interested in jobs that truly get me outside and helping people, and not just selling outdoor gear. But this takes time and I’m easily distracted, so of course I have some hikes planned for later this spring and this summer.
In May, after I get home from Trail Days, I’ll be starting my thru-hike of the Long Trail with an extended approach on the AT starting in Kent, CT. My thought process here being – 1. less stress on my mom trying to figure out how she’s driving me up to VT, 2. gives me a little time to get my legs back under me before I really have to climb mountains, and 3. a friend promised me ice cream when I came through CT last year and failed to deliver, so now I’ll be able to get my ice cream and hike it off. Vermont was by far my favorite Trail State, so I’m excited to visit it again. I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that it’ll only be about 400 miles in total and that I’ll be done in less than a month. 🙁
Surprisingly, the LT is not the trip I’m most excited about this summer.
About a month ago I came across a Facebook post from Backpacker about a Big City Mountaineers’ Summit for Someone climb of Grand Teton in July. Having no real plans this summer, and having never traveled west of IL, I jumped at the chance. So I sent in an application and waited, pretty sure that I wasn’t going to be approved for the climb, because while I know how to backpack, I have very little knowledge of technical climbing. A couple of days later I got an email telling me I was allowed to come and I immediately started planning a road trip.
The mission of Big City Mountaineers is to instill critical life skills in under-served urban youth through transformative wilderness mentoring expeditions. They have combined mentoring programs with an outdoor wilderness expedition designed specifically for under-resourced urban youth. The core BCM program is a weeklong expedition at the center of which is a five-day wilderness backpacking or canoe expedition in which adults and teens work together. So as a Summit for Someone climber, I am raising money to help a bunch of teens spend a week in the mountains this summer, and maybe alter the course of their lives. I’ve pledged to raise $4,000 and have a long way to go before July, so if any of you can find some change in your cars/bags/on the floor to donate, you can follow the link to my fundraising page. 😉
I plan on sharing with you some lessons I’ve learned, some lessons I have yet to learn, some gear/food advice, and of course the adventures I’ll be seeking. I hope you enjoy reading about it all!
Thank you for listening and for looking for change,
Raven’s signing off for the evening.
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