Thanks, Trail Days
Greetings, internet world.
This past weekend a festival was held in Damascus, VA, to celebrate the Appalachian Trail. Past hikers, current thru hikers, and many outdoor brands were gathered for 3 days. The festival is called Trail Days and this was my first year attending. It was incredible to reconnect with friends from last year, and it was also amazing to meet new friends! Many stories and laughs were shared over the course of the weekend. One of my favorite things that was shared was inspiration.
The hiking community has inspired me in many ways over the past few years, but this weekend was on a whole new level. Since returning home from the AT, I have had my days of struggle, my days of dreaming of the trail, and my days of wondering what I truly want my next adventure to be. The plan leading up to this weekend was to hike the Colorado Trail this summer. Now I’ll be honest about something.. the CT wasn’t my first choice all along, but I let my own thoughts stop me from pursuing other adventures for numerous reasons. A few of those reasons included lack of money, fear, and worries about time. Being around like-minded adventurers this past weekend has inspired me to dismiss my negative thoughts and pursue a dream that I have wanted to start planning since returning home from the AT. All thanks to the wonderful community of new and old friends pushing me to pursue my dreams, I have decided to begin a long trek this summer.
Here goes nothin’
I will be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail Southbound this summer. The PCT is a 2,650 mile trail from Canada to Mexico, passing through Washington, Oregon, and California. I have never been so scared in my life, as I’ve never hiked on the west coast, but I have also never been so excited for an incredible adventure. If long distance hiking has taught me anything, it is to be brave, never expectant, and patient. I have all of these emotions and more running through my brain as I spend the next month and a half preparing for my hike on the PCT. There are many factors that go into this hike that I’ve never faced before, but I feel that I am in the right mental state. I have a one-way flight to Seattle on July 10 but no official start date because I have my eyes on the snow melt.
Thank you to everyone who has encouraged, inspired, and pushed me.. especially my partner Miles, my family, and my trail family. I hope you will follow along for this journey. It’s going to be another whirlwind of emotion for 5~ish months. And I look forward to every single step. PCT SOBO 2017.
Facebook- Ashley Schellhase
Here are some more photos from this weekend. We adventured through Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. It was nice to be walking on the footpath that changed my life. I’ll be bringing my camera on the PCT.. prepare yourselves for photo overload!
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