My 2020 AT flip flop thru hike
I awoke to a call from my grandmother telling me my mom had passed away. She had died by suicide and it both threw me through a loop and solidified my determination to go hiking, COVID or not. I’d attempted the trail NOBO in 2015 with a friend, Traveler, and ended up coming off somewhere before Glasgow Virginia with a bout of severe sciatica. That’s what I got for running down blood mountain. You see, I am a dumb Infantry Veteran with a disc almost completely missing, another semi herniated, nerve damage and degenerating IT bands. Running and jarring my body don’t mix well.
Fast forward 5 years and a 2016 Pinhoti trail thru hike, and I found myself back at it again, in the middle of COVID. I decided to pick up NOBO where I’d left off in 2015, right before Glasgow Va. It was June 26th and a hot, muggy day. I bid farewell to my brother in law and started on an epic journey spanning 2,193 miles. I hiked alone 90% of the time and loved it. Watching the fall happen in the Northeast was a pleasure. I summited Mt. Katahdin on September 27th, 2020 at 837 a.m. A day was spent at the local hostel before I headed home.
I spent a week and a couple days with my family for some R&R before my wife took me back to Virginia to start SOBO towards Georgia. Again I was able to watch the fall as I hiked onwards towards my goal. I summited Springer mountain and completed my thru hike of the Appalachian trail on November 21st, 2020, also my daughter’s birthday. I already had plans brewing in my head for a follow on hike, the PCT. I thru hiked that trail in 2021, but that’s another story entirely….
Every town I went to took me in with open arms. People appreciated my business and I did my part to social distance and keep myself and others safe. The ATC decided not to recognize either my or my class’s achievement that year, however we were taken in with open arms by the ALDHA and presented certificates. I have intentions to redo the AT again after I complete the CDT this year. That way I can be an “official” Triple Crowner. I guess it matters to me in the end because the achievement is there to achieve, and what else better to do with one’s life than what one wants if afforded the opportunity?
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