Who I am and Why I am Attempting to Hike the Appalachian Trail
Who I Am:
- I am based out of Utah.
- I am a Father to an amazing daughter and a Husband to an amazing wife!
- I am a Master’s student at Utah Valley University trying to obtain my Masters in Public Administration.
- I have already obtained my:
- Bachelors in Political Science and Constitutional Studies.
- Associates in Humanities and Social Sciences
- I have already obtained my:
- I am a U.S. Navy Veteran. I served between 2012-2018 alongside my Marine Corps counterparts as a U.S. Navy Corpsman during Operation Inherent Resolve.
- I have a wonderful Jack-Chi named Napoleon.
- I grew up in the Southern California Mojave Desert and near the wonderful Southern Sierra Nevada Mountain range. I also have ties to East Tennessee and Western Wisconsin.
- Growing up I had a huge love for the outdoors. I grew up fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking all over the Sierra Nevada, and why I have a continual love of it to this day.
- This isn’t my first attempt at a long-distance trail. While I haven’t completed something as long as the AT.
Why I am Attempting to Thru-Hike the AT:
I think first before we get to the cliche answers of why someone wants to hike the Appalachian Trail. Let us rewind my life back to the beginning of December 2022. I used to work for both Senators of the Great State of Utah. I finally broke into my career of choice. However, after 5 months on the job I was dying (inside). Then with a strike of luck (at the time it wasn’t, but looking back it was) and a little blindsided by the Senate, they started downsizing their State Teams and I was laid off.
I was very distraught and had no clue what I was going to do with my life, where I was going to go, and how I was going to get by. Well, my old position at the Utah Department of Corrections hired me back (Which I’m thankful for and very indebted to them).
My wife knew I was unhappy (because I took a step back from the career I wanted) and knows I have a love for the outdoors. We were laying in bed one night and she told me: “I know your unhappy why not take a break from college and work and take some time for yourself and go for one of those long-distance hikes you keep talking about.”
Well her little encouragement got me thinking. All I knew is I wanted to do something in unfamiliar territory. I grew up in the Mojave Desert in a town called Ridgecrest. It is a frequent stop for PCT hikers jumping off the trail to resupply between Walkers Pass and Kennedy Meadows before heading into the High Sierra. I grew up hunting, fishing, and hiking there as well. I have been all over where the PCT runs in California and knew I would love it having that little nostalgic taste of home, but It wouldn’t have that same sense of accomplishment because I could jump trail because I also have family all up and down the trail from California to Canada. Sure it would make it easier, but I’m stubborn.
The CDT came to mind and I was like yes, I can do that instead. Well, financially after just being laid off taking a 6-month pause would not be smart financially for myself and my family and I needed to be back by the end of August due to my Fall Semester staring back at UVU.
I knew about the AT, but I didn’t want to be close to family yet again, because I knew I would use it to jump on and off trail very easily. So I packed up all the dreams again in the back of my mind and thought “Nah this isn’t going to happen after all.” So I went on about my business and forgot about it.
I went out to Georgia for a buddy’s wedding in mid-December and went for a hike near Amicalola Falls and was surprised at just how beautiful Northern Georgia was. I put the first 10 or so miles in my back pocket at the start of the AT and then hiked some more in Southern Georgia in F.D. Roosevelt State Park on the Pine Trail.
I got on a plane back to Utah and celebrated Christmas in California with my parents. Then I got this crazy idea because I fell in love with the East and the beautiful mountains and forests. Just because of this visit to Georgia for a week. I decided right then and there that I was going to hike the Appalachian Trail.
This is the true reason I settled on attempting this 2200-ish thousand-mile trek from Georgia to Maine.
Now for the “cliche” reasons.
- I haven’t really pushed myself physically and mentally since I left the Navy in 2018.
- I want to accomplish something I can be proud of.
- I want to know true freedom again. No responsibilities (other than walking, feeding myself, cleaning myself, etc.), No school, no tedious desk work, and just taking a pause on reality.
- I want to find myself again.
- I use hiking as a healing process from my military service and the things I experienced. I’m looking to heal those wounds that just seem to keep coming undone. This is my form of healing, counseling, and treatment.
- I also want to do something and accomplish something not many people complete.
- I made a promise to myself that when I left Military Service I would attempt one of the Big Three.
- *Obviously, that failed, because here we are 5 years later.
Now with that being said. I hope you found this biography interesting and not boring and tedious. I hope you’ll join me on this journey. Not only through my thoughts that I’ll be posting here on The Trek, but over on my Youtube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/@ScottAHatfieldJr), which will contain my vlogs and some b roll from the trail. I hope to get my thoughts, struggles, and my accomplishments published here.
Later on, I will be letting all of you know when I’ll be posting here, my gear, and what my plan is!
If you see me on the trail, Say Hi!, let’s chat, let’s grab some food, or put some sweet miles under the tread of our shoes together!
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Subscribed! Looking forward to following your journey!
David! Glad to have you around! I can’t wait to hit the trail and put out stuff for you to read and follow along!
I want to do the AT next year. I have hiked most of the Virginia section. If you need anything in Virginia, just write. I served in the Navy and my husband was a Marine corpsman, too.
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