A few days ago, I began thru hiking the Appalachian Trail. This means I intend to walk 2,192 miles from Springer Mountain GA to Mt Katahdin in Maine.
How did I get here? Here are the three main inspirations:
- My dad always took my family hiking and backpacking, mostly in the Smokies, and even so far as the Wind Rivers in Wyoming. I’ve hiked more than I’ve backpacked, but I learned to love, appreciate, and respect the outdoors at a very young age.
- On one of our trips in the Smokies, when I was about ten, we slept in a shelter on the AT and came across two girls who were “Thru Hiking.” This is when I learned what Thru Hiking was and when I decided I’d like to do it one day. In my eyes those girls were the coolest, and although I don’t know their names or faces, they set me on a path.
- Over the past decade, since college at UT, hiking in the Smoky Mountains has been my medicine. I work and hustle in Knoxville, then go to the mountains for respite. And every time I hike, I’d think about my future Thru Hike.
It’s a little funny that my dad has played such a large role in this trip, as he and my family are pretty terrified for me. But if they knew what it was really like out here so far, they wouldn’t be. It’s easy to fear the unknown, which is what I spent a lot of time doing leading up to this trip. Once I set my mind on this goal, the fear or every aspect came down on me. More on that next...