Day 1: mile 729.8 to 739, 9.2 miles

Today was a good first day I would say. According to mile markers I only went 9.2 but that doesn’t include the 1.5 I hiked to the outfitter in Daleville or the 1 mile hike to get to the trail from hotel. It was certainly over 10 miles today. Early in the day a hiker passed me name Wall-E. Little did he know how obsessed I am. I ran into him again at Fullhardt Knob shelter. We both had lunch and talked about where we are from. He also warned me that nora virus has been striking people who have been sleeping in the shelters. Good thing I have a tent! He moves on and I move on shortly after. Didn’t end up running into him again. Ran into another hiker passing me name Warton. We walked about a mile together and had a nice conversation about what we do, where we’re from, and how his wife felt about him doing a thru hike. I continue on for a while. Today was very hot and humid with very little clouds. I’m surprised I didn’t get a massive headache but I took some aleve at the hotel this morning. Towards the end of my hike today I stopped at a stream and put my feet in. Damn, did it feel so good. A little less than a mile after that is wilson creek shelter where i am staying for the night. Along with me is Po Boy from new orleans,  50 + who is an older gentleman and another older gentleman I didn’t get the name of. Overall it was very good first day. I had a couple of moments where I asked myself what was I thinking, but my spirit you still high. I do miss Drew a little bit already, but only because I wish he could see what I’m seeing. It’s only 8 pm but I believe I am powering down for the evening.

image

Hopping on the trail

image

Cow pasture

image

image

Excuse me cow

image

image

Advertisements

I’ve arrived!!!

The day has finally come! Currently, I’m writing this on my flight to Roanoke, but tonight I will be staying at a hotel in Troutville, Virginia so that in the morning I can start my hike refreshed and well rested with a good complimentary breakfast in my tummy. Thank you Drew! I’m starting to get the butterflies in my stomach and my excitement level is now increasing.

image

Flying allegiant air

image

image

Landed in virginia. Can't wait to get to those mountains!

 I can’t believe I am here right now. It felt like it was going to take forever, but I finally finished school, I have a master’s degree, and now I get to go on this hike I’ve been longing for. I will only be gone for a month, but I hope I get a lot out of this next month. I’m hoping to experience something truly on my own. Along the way, I may find myself asking for rides into town, or chatting it up with the through hikers in the shelters, but I’m very excited to wake up every morning and do what I want to do, without having to listen to anyone else’s suggestions or concerns. I just need a moment of solitude.

Anyway, I thought I would share in this post some of the things I will be starting out with, including my food. We’ll see if I end up getting rid of anything!

image

My food for 5 to 6 days

To start out, I will be taking 5-6 days of food. Many through hikers will only carry 2-3 days worth of food, but my intention in this trip is to go into town as little as possible.

For breakfast I will have an instant oatmeal and poptarts. In the early stage of this hike (before that hiker hunger kicks in) I might just go with 1 of these.

Lunch consists of some variety: cliff bars, tuna salad on tortillas with some cheese, beef jerky, trail mix and peanut butter. Again, most likely won’t be eating all of these things every day to start out, but we will see when the hiker hunger kicks in.

Dinner mostly consists of pasta and rice sides mixed in with some instant mashed potatoes and some powerade drink mix. I might pick up one of those dehydrated hiker meals at the outfitter I have to go to in Troutville, where I also have to pick up lighters and alcohol for my stove.

And for dessert, peanut butter and sleep.

Hopefully I won’t starve! 😛

Oh, and happy mother’s day mom! Sorry I couldn’t spend it with you but I’m sure you’ll enjoy the peace and quiet. I love you and everyone else who has encouraged me to go through with this adventure! I can’t wait to share my stories with you!

Cloudland Canyon, April 2 – April 6, My AT Prep Hike

Well, the time is almost here! I am less than a week away from heading out for a month-long hike on the Appalachian Trail! About a month ago, I had a little break between presenting my final project at school and going back to work, so my boyfriend Drew and I decided to drive up to very north Georgia and do some back country hiking and camping. It was a beautiful trip. The weather was absolutely perfect, aside from a slightly scary thunderstorm one night. It was also really exciting for me to test out all of my equipment to make sure I had everything I needed, and to also try some new things I hadn’t done before that I had watched videos about on youtube, like hanging a bear bag. I learned a couple of things as well, like a beer can alcohol stove works great for one person, but if you are trying to cook for 2 people, forget it. You are just going to waste a lot of fuel trying to boil way too much water for dinner.

Drew and I had a wonderful time. It was great for me to see that he was into it. Before I came along, he hadn’t had much experience hiking or camping, so I’m happy to announce that he loves it (or at least that’s what he tells me). We have actually been talking about doing a thru-hike of the AT in a couple of years! I can’t wait.

Anywhoo…I have tons of pictures of our adventure in Georgia, and they speak more than words do….

 

15 Things I Learned in Just 3 Short Days on the Trail…

Last week I got the fortunate opportunity to drive up to Virginia from Florida to pick up my dad who has been in Norfolk for the last 3 months for business. What a great excuse to finally experience a piece of the trail I will be tackling next year! So I picked up my dad, and we drove 4 hours west and parked our car at Middle Creek Campground (which is a beautiful place to take a break, resupply, go swimming in a cold pool, get a giant cheeseburger, and take a nice shower), and got a ride from the campground to Petites Gap, where we would hike 2 and a half days back south to our car. We took our time hiking (7 miles a day) because we are both new to hiking, and it made the experience completely enjoyable and invigorating. In just 3 short days in the woods, I did manage to learn a lot of things about myself, my equipment, and my goals, and I am gladly sharing those with you, along with a short video I put together of our hike from Petites Gap to Middle Creek.

#1: I do, in fact, want to thru-hike this thing

I can see how people get addicted to this trail. When we were hiking I couldn’t wait to see what was at the top of the hill, or what was after the clearing, or who was going to be at the next shelter. I just wanted to keep going. Once we were back at the campground where we left the car, I was a bit sad. When I got home, I immediately wanted to go back, and now it’s something I can’t stop thinking about. Hopefully I can find some time before next spring to go back and feed my addiction. But solidifying in my mind that I do, in fact, want to complete this hike, was something that I was looking for, and I’m extremely thankful I found that reassurance.

Our first overlook (and my new Osprey pack that I'm obsessed with)

Our first overlook (and my new Osprey pack that I’m obsessed with)

#2: I need to do this by myself

As much as I loved spending time with my dad and having him there and being able to share my first hiking experience with him, it just further emphasized that I need to conquer this journey alone, at least most of it. There were times when I just wanted to put my headphones in, sing out loud, and hike. Unfortunately, the one time I managed to put headphones in, my dad wanted to tell me something every 5 minutes or so. After only a couple of days, he was getting on my nerves. I think most people would agree that hiking with a parent would probably brew up some pretty intense rivalries after not-so-long. I think I’ve solidified, through this short hike, that I need to do this for me, and I need to do this by myself.

#3: I’m willing to work my ass off to make this happen

In order to quit my job and spend 5 to 6 months in the woods, I apparently need money. I’m currently a full-time grad student in architecture and also working a part-time job at IKEA. I’ve decided that during my last year of school, I’m going to increase my hours at work up to 30 hours/week. Which might kill me. But I think I can handle it. I just have to keep the goal in mind: Not let money (or lack-of) send me home when I’m out there. 

#4: I don’t know what day it is, or the name of the overlook I’m standing on, or the name of the next shelter, or where I am. So stop asking me. 

I’ve always been completely horrible with names. I can’t remember movie titles, actors, people I met 5 minutes ago, famous architects, etc. Well, apparently this applies on the trail as well. When my dad was recording video, he kept asking me, “So, where are we Bon?” and “What’s the name of this overlook again?” The answer is: I don’t fucking know, I’m just here enjoying it. I don’t know what shelter is after the one I’m sleeping next to. I don’t know if I’m on a “Creek”, or a “Ridge”, or a “Gap”, or a “Landing”, or a “Falls”, or a “Hill”, or a “Mountain”. All I know is, I’m following the White Blazes and I’m on the Appalachian Trail, and I think I’m in Virginia. My dad is trying to come up with my trail name from this. If anyone wants to help him out, feel free! I need a trail name!

Enjoying a beautiful view at Thunder-something overlook!

Enjoying a beautiful view at Thunder-something overlook!

#5: I don’ t need underwear

I was debating this for a couple of days, but I figured since I was wearing my bike shorts hiking, and I don’t wear underwear when I’m wearing those cycling, I might as well forego them. I’m kinda glad I did. At the end of the day, my tush wasn’t surrounded by a soaking wet piece of unnecessary clothing that would probably have increased my “funk” level to new heights. Plus it’s less weight I’m carrying around. I did bring a small travel size of wet wipes that, I think, came in handy keeping my tush clean and my shorts clean as well. Weighing in at something like 4 oz, it was worth it to me.

#6: Things will get wet, even it doesn’t rain

The weather could not have been more perfect in Virginia last week. It was supposed be in the 90’s with good chances of rain and ridiculous humidity. But at the last minute, a hurricane in the Atlantic sucked up all the moisture in the air and our hike was 3 days of 80 degree weather during the day, 65 degrees at night, sunny with some clouds, and no rain. And stuff still got wet. The dew point was high at night and our tent (cheap $40 tent at Walmart, this may have had something to do with it) had dew all over it in the morning, some of it getting inside where my bag was touching the wall. So my sleeping bag got a little damp, which caused some funk it my pack. Lesson learned. Buy a good quality tent, don’t touch the sides of it, and air out your sleeping bag.

Our cheapo walmart tent at our campsite at Middle Creek.

Our cheapo walmart tent at our campsite at Middle Creek.

#7 I love my hiking shoes

Everyone’s feet are different, and everyone has different preferences when it comes to what shoes to wear. I weighed the pros and cons and decided to get myself a pair of Keen Voyageurs which is a breathable hiking shoe that has substantial toe protection and does not have a water proof lining. I decided that it was worth it to me to have the protection of a hiking shoe rather than a trail runner, but I also wanted to shed the “water-proof” Gortex lining because I’ve read nothing but bad news about that stuff. And I have to say, my shoes kept my feet very happy for the most part. Aside from a minor blister on my pinkie toe (which I think is attributed to my sock liners and socks being a size too big), my feet were comfortable, dry, and protected. There were many instances where I scraped the side of a rock, tripped over a rock, or just didn’t look where I put my foot, and I was glad I had the protection. I will definitely be starting my thru-hike in these.

My amazingly comfortable Keen Voyageur hiking shoes

My amazingly comfortable Keen Voyageur hiking shoes

#8: I still don’t know if I want to invest in a hammock or a tent

Right now, this is the next big piece of equipment I’m looking into. For a while, I was set on a Hammock. People rave about how much better they sleep in a Hammock than in a tent, how much easier it is to set up, etc. For this trip, we used a cheap tent my dad bought at Walmart a couple years ago, and for the first time, I didn’t sleep on an air mattress when we were camping. And the result? My back felt better than it has in a long time. I should preface this by saying that I am a stomach sleeper…a hardcore stomach sleeper. That’s how my mom decided to lay me down to sleep when I was a baby, and it’s stuck every since. So, in order for me to switch to a hammock I would have to change the way I’ve been sleeping for 24 years. I’ve tried for the last 2 months, and it’s just straight-up not going to happen. This fact alone should persuade me to invest in a tent, but I’m still debating for some reason. I also like the fact that I can sit up in a tent, cook in a tent, lay my stuff out in a tent, and play solitaire in a tent. I think my mind is made up, but it’s not 100% there. I’m looking into getting an MSR Hubba Hubba NX. If anyone has advice on this, please comment!

#9: I need a pillow

At the very last second I decided to grab a small pillow off of my couch to take with me. It’s original intention was for a head pillow in the car during my 12-hour drive north to Virginia, but I decided to take it with me on the hike. I’m glad I did. The first night I tried to do without it and use my clothes bag. That was not comfortable. I’ve learned during this trip that I’m a picky sleeper. I have to be on my stomach in order to fall asleep (god forbid I ever get pregnant, I won’t sleep for 9 months), and I have to have my left arm under a pillow. 10 minutes after uncomfortably fighting my clothes sack, I whipped out my small pillow and immediately dozed off. On the way back to Florida I stopped in an REI store in South Carolina and picked up a 3 oz inflatable pillow that I’m hoping will be enough for my needs.

#10: Mountains go up and down

You think this would be obvious. But up until this hike, I was comparing miles on the trail to how many miles I walk to go the gym near my house. Florida miles, are not at all the same as AT miles, even if you’re slack-packing. It felt like we were walking forever. There were countless times when I was wondering, “Are we friggin’ there yet?” only to look at my gps and realize the answer was, “no.” By the end of the hike, it felt like someone had poured concrete into my calves…

Hurried my ass up walking underneath that thing. I'm not mentally prepared to cut my own arm off.

Hurried my ass up walking underneath that thing. I’m not mentally prepared to cut my own arm off.

#11: My body can retain copious amounts of fluid

When I finally got a chance to look down at my feet and calves, I did in-fact look like someone poured concrete in them. The first full day of hiking, I drank nearly 4 Liters of water, and only peed twice. Apparently, the rest of it went into my legs and my face. I woke up the next morning with puffy eyelids as well. Once I got back home after our trip, I peed probably 12 times in 15 hours. Hopefully once I get into hiking every day for long periods of time, my body will realize it doesn’t need to do that and give me a break. Did this happen to anyone else?

#12: Bad breath is a component of “Hiker Funk” that you can control

It’s understandable that after living in the woods for months, you are going to smell like you just went swimming in a compost field, but I don’t think that’s an excuse not to brush your teeth. I noticed that some thru-hikers smelled even worse when they started talking. Fortunately, dental hygiene is something you can still control while on the trail. Invest in a toothbrush from the dollar store, cut it in half so it weighs next to nothing, and buy a tiny travel bottle of toothpaste. Hell, squeeze half of it out if you don’t want the 1 oz of weight. I’m sorry thru-hikers, I understand your body odor, but there’s no excuse for your mouth to smell worse than your pits.

#13: I’m willing to risk infertility and neurological damage if it means I won’t get Lyme Disease

 I bought a bottle of Jungle Juice before I left, which is an oil that contains 98% DEET. There is a lot of conflicting data about DEET and the harmful effects it may or may not pose to adults. It worked pretty damn well. While I had flies kind of hanging around me, I got away without getting bit, and for the most part, they stayed away from me. This oil is comfortable too. Once you apply it and it dries, it doesn’t feel like I have anything on, and it doesn’t have that choking mist-cloud that comes out of those spray cans of OFF either. Invest in it, it’s worth it.

#14: My Samsung Galaxy S5 can last 4 days without a charge, even while taking pictures, videos, and instagram-ing. 

This is going to sound like an advertisement, and I’m not trying to make it sound that way, but I thought long and hard about the advantages I would have with this phone for hiking before I bought it. 2 months ago, I was a die-hard iPhone user. I wanted to switch carriers, but I wanted to take my phone with me. Unfortunately, my phone was a Sprint phone, and it doesn’t use a SIM card, so I would have to buy a new iPhone with a different carrier. I decided to look into the Galaxy S5 and realized that there are a lot of really attractive features that would be beneficial if I were to be living in the woods.  This phone lasted 4 days without a single charge. I did turn it off at night when I went to bed, and I turned it on airplane mode when I wasn’t using service. But I had it out nearly every 10 minutes taking pictures and recording video, and then once we got to camp, I would put a couple of pictures on instagram. I didn’t even need to use the “emergency power saving” mode that the phone offers as well. On a full charge, my phone will last nearly 13 days in this mode. Another perk that was extremely attractive to me as a future thru-hiker was the fact that this phone is water “resistant.” Now, I put the word resistant in quotes because I have watched videos on youtube of people dunking this phone in a swimming pool, leaving it there for an hour and then putting it in the washing machine for a full circle, and the phone still works perfectly. I think the phone is water proof, but Samsung doesn’t want that liability, so they deemed it “resistant” instead. It also takes outstanding photos and video (16 mp and up to 4k video). If you are thru-hiking next year and are getting a new phone sometime this year, consider Samsung. Everyone was right when they told me I wouldn’t go back to iPhone once I went to Samsung. Just do it. You’ll be happier.

Beautiful pic taken from my phone.

Beautiful pic taken from my phone.

And last but not least, and maybe most importantly…

#15 I shouldn’t beat myself up if I don’t accomplish my thru-hike next year

I met 2 hikers on the trail that changed my outlook a little bit. “Hopscotch” and “MeToo” are 2 school teachers (hopscotch is retired now) from Maine who have been hiking the trail together for 18 years. They decided that hiking the entire trail at once was not for them, and they’ve been conquering the trail section by section. They will be finished next year. Wow, what an accomplishment. After hearing about their lives and their story, I felt nothing but pure excitement for them. I felt like their goal of section hiking the entire AT was an accomplishment just as powerful as someone talking about finishing a thru-hike. They don’t know this, but something about their story reassured me that even if, for some reason, I have to quit or give-up on my thru-hike, that life goes on, and it doesn’t mean that the trail beat you. It just means that you have to come back and finish what you started. As long as you finish, it’s going to be a great accomplishment regardless if it takes 5 months or 25 years. How many people are you going to meet in life that can say they’ve hiked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail? Not many. Most people can’t hike from their house to the grocery store. So getting off the trail because of illness, injury, or lack of funds isn’t something that is going to keep me down. It’s just an excuse for me to come back.

And without further adieu, here is short video I made of my first AT experience that I got to enjoy with my dad.

4 Things About Being a Floridian that will Better Prepare You for Your Appalachian Thru-Hike

Sometimes, I let myself get discouraged when everyone I see on whiteblaze.net and other various AT websites seem to be mostly living in the states the Appalachian Trail threads through. I feel a little bit left out sometimes because I live way down here in Florida! Luckily, I’ve come up with a list of 4 things I deal with on an almost daily basis living in Florida, that may make my transition on the AT a little bit easier. Here you go:

 

Thing #1: bugs

Image

On a pretty much daily basis, I find these assholes in my home. They range in size anywhere from a fingernail, to a full-size SUV. I’ve been woken up by them crawling on me in bed before (Every Floridian has experienced this, not matter your level of interior cleanliness and housekeeping skills). I also deal with constant mosquitoes, flies, and spiders (I just killed one in my home the other day that was the size of my hand. I’m not kidding) and sometimes scorpions. I practically live in a swamp, and therefore, I live in bugs. I’ve learned to live with them and get over my fear of them. I think if I could get used to finding bugs in my home, I can get used to finding them in my tent (at least I can shake my tent out!)

 

Thing #2: Heat and Humidity

Image

I see TONS of hiker blogs talking about how hot the weather is getting. I can only imagine these people are walking anywhere from 10 to 20 miles a day, and the constant uphill/downhill can definitely turn up the heat. I’m only glad I live in a climate where I’m already acclimated to my pores releasing a waterfall’s worth of sweat as soon as I walk out my door. People in our state die every year from just from being exposed to the heat and humidity. At least when I encounter this kind of heat on the trail, it’s something I’m ready for. On the other hand, I’ve still never seen snow, so if I run into it, I might die (I’m flip-flop hiking starting in May, so I may be lucky enough not to).

 

Thing #3: Gators

Image

Bears aren’t scary. Animals related to prehistoric dinosaurs…are scary. I pass one of these every other time I hit the trails around here with my bike, and I’m always happy that I’m… on my bike. We’ve actually had to call animal services to retrieve one out of my pool a couple of years ago (I might as well be running a zoo, I know). I think he was in there waiting for me.

 

Thing #4: Lightning

Image

I’ve never understood why they call Florida the “Sunshine State.” They should call it the “Sunshine half the time, Lightning the other half” state. During the summer (when most tourists visit), you’ll be lucky to hit the beach and not get stuck in a storm. I’m not saying I wouldn’t feel somewhat afraid on top of a mountain with lightning crashing all around me, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to walk to class or walk into work, or been stuck on the beach and lightning has struck so close to me there was no time between the lightning and the thunder. Plus, I’m a lady, and men get struck by lightning 6x more often than women do, so I’m not worried about it!

I hope this makes other Floridians feel a little bit better about attempting to thru-hike the AT! Don’t get too cocky though, you still have to deal with hiking uphill and downhill, learn how to deal with ticks, and experience what the word “cold” truly means. Have fun!

My Biggest Roadblocks from Thru-Hiking the AT: Healthcare and Old Parents

Image

 

Let me explain, because these 2 roadblocks go hand-in-hand. I am a 23-year-old grad student who is still under my mom’s insurance plan that she receives through her job. Our family’s insurance is amazing. I could get my leg bitten off by a bear and need a prosthetic leg, contract lyme disease, collapse from severe dehydration, and be airlifted to a specialty hospital and end up paying very little out-of-pocket. My insurance could possibly come in VERY handy on the AT, and I believe everyone attempting to thru-hike the AT (or only spend even a couple of days hiking anywhere) should have health insurance. Injuries are almost guaranteed.

Here is my dilemma: my mom plans on retiring the same month I plan on heading out to the AT. Which means no more employer insurance for my mom, which in-turn means more expensive family insurance for my mom, which basically means I need to pay for my own health insurance. My mom had envisioned me graduating college, finding a job fairly quickly, and paying for my own insurance anyway. So, since I’m spending 6 months in the woods without compensation and paychecks, how in the world do I do this. Yes, I understand it can be expensive to hike the AT with food, hotels, new gear, etc….but I factored this into the “I have to save up $3,000 to $4,000 to live off of for 6 months” budget. I, however, didn’t factor in additional nearly $200 a month for individual health insurance through ObamaCare.

The other dilemma I’m facing is a lot of guilt. Now my mom is talking about staying at her job (that she utterly fucking hates) for 6 months longer, in which case (for some reason, I don’t really understand this big, grown-up money thing) she would have to fork out an extra $55 a month for family healthcare coverage. I don’t want to hold my mom and dad back from retirement, but on the same accord, I don’t want them to hold me back either.

My guilt lies in a question my mom asked me this morning: “Why do you have to hike the entire Appalachian Trail?” and I honestly couldn’t think of a better answer than “Because I just have to.” I figured this blog might be a space where I can flush out all of the things I talk about in my head and compile them into a paragraph that would actually make sense to someone other than myself. So in my best attempt to make sense, why I have to hike the entire Appalachian Trail:

I have spent the last 6 years in college. By the time I graduate, I will have spent 7 years for a Graduate Degree in Architecture. While I had a goal of obtaining a degree, pursuing it, and finally (within a year) achieving that goal, I honestly got my degree only putting half of my ass into my work. A lot of college students (not all!) take out copious amounts of debt in order to live on their own (even though their parents have a room for them very close by), pay for tuition, and in their spare time, party. I however, did not take this approach. Instead, I luckily have 2 very amazing parents who have helped me get through college debt free, but only if I got a job to pay for my own expenses and remained living at home (which btw, will cut your student loans in half if you can manage to suck it up and live with your parents as long as possible). So, since starting college I have worked at both Target and IKEA, and I still work at IKEA, a job that I am truly thankful for. If you are looking for a great college job with awesome benefits, IKEA. But, in having retail jobs through college, I have lost weekends plus a lot of hours during the week. If anyone has a friend or family member in an architecture program, you know that these programs are just as intense, if not more, than obtaining medical degrees or law degrees. For several semesters through-out school, I have practically lived at the school studio. Literally. Cots, mini-fridges, all-nighters three times a week. I have lost crucial time needed in order to put my full 100% effort into my work. I have given up on getting anything done between Friday and Monday. The point is, while obtaining this degree has been a challenge and will be a relief once I’m done, I haven’t dedicated my soul, my being, and everything I have into it. And more than anything, I want to put 100% of my soul into something in my life.

That something is the Appalachian Trail. Why the entire Appalachian Trail? Because I’m done only dipping half of my ass into the water. For the first time in my life I won’t have a schedule, I won’t have a job, I won’t have an agenda, and I would like to not have anyone to answer to except myself (The latter is growing seemingly more difficult now that this whole “mom retiring, losing my health insurance” thing has come up.) But why only do half of the Appalachian Trail, when I have the time and opportunity to do the entire thing? Won’t my sense of accomplishment be double what it would be if I did a half hike? Wouldn’t my self-confidence be 2x stronger than it would be if I only hiked for 3 months. Wouldn’t I learn twice as much about myself if I thru-hiked instead of half-hiked? I’m nearly positive I would be 2x more accomplished and grounded if I thru-hiked instead of only hiking half of the trail. Last year, I spent 2 months in Italy on a study abroad trip, and I can say with 100% certainty, if I spent 4 months in Italy I would have picked up way more of the language, understood the culture in deeper sense, spent more time exploring, and ultimately (and obviously) gotten 2 months more of life-changing experiences out of it. It’s that simple. If someone offered you 1 million dollars or 2 million dollars, and you knew you only needed 1 million….you would still take the 2 million.

Again, if my mom saw this, she would most likely come up with some sort of rebuttal of again, “So…why do have to hike the entire thing?” But that, at the moment, is the best response I can come up with.

If anyone has any any advice for me, is the same age as me in the same situation, or just wants to tell me to fuck off because you think I’m spoiled and have everything handed to me (you are rude,and a little bit correct, but I’ve never asked for anything my parents have offered to me and I’m extremely grateful towards them. I will be building them their dream home as soon as possible), please leave me comments!

First post, woot woot!

I received my first AT book today in the mail and started reading it a couple of minutes ago. However, Zach (the author) insists I do this right now. So I am being honest, and doing it before I read any further. 

Image

 

I am thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail because…

  • I want do crazy things while I’m young, not wait until I retire when I may not physically be able to
  • I crave the reassurance, satisfaction, and self-esteem of completing something I set my mind to. 
  • I need my faith in humanity restored. Working in retail for the past 4 years has basically brainwashed me into thinking that everyone is stupid, cold-hearted, mindless, and mentally disabled. I know this is not true, and I don’t like feeling like this. 
  • I need the time alone, to think about lots of things. I’m not sure where my life is going right now. I’ll have just graduated when I start this hike, and it’s up to me to find the job I want, and not get stuck in a job I hate. But I’m not sure what I want and what I hate.
  • I want to connect with my spiritual side. I don’t believe in God, and I don’t think I ever will. However, I do think mother-nature herself has something to say to me. And perhaps what she has to say will influence my life choices. 
  • I want to have something completely ridiculous and amazing (but also probably says a lot about my determination and mind-set) to put on my resume
  • I want to prove to myself that I can do anything. If I can hike the entire AT, I can do whatever the hell I put my mind to in life. 
  • You only live once, so why not?!

When I successfully thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, I will…

  • probably scream really loud
  • Have more self-confidence than probably 99.9% of the women around me
  • Know that I can do anything, and I’m unstoppable
  • Not regret anything.
  • Have connected with true inner self, and be completely happy with whoever she is
  • Have my faith in humanity restored thanks to all of the people who will hopefully help me out along the way!
  • Write a book about my experiences as a female solo thru-hiker (because nearly none of these exist).
  • Have proven to myself that even though many were doubtful that I, alone, as a women, wouldn’t be able to finish….that I did, and those people can suck it. 

If I give up on the Appalachian Trail, I will…

  • have spent an entire year of physical and mental preparation for nothing
  • have bought a lot of equipment for nothing. 
  • have to find a big-girl job even sooner
  • feel really discouraged about any other struggles that come my way in life
  • think that maybe all of those debbie-downers were right about how horrible it is to hike the AT alone if you’re a girl
  • kind of hate myself for a while
  • always think about what I did wrong, what I could have done differently, why I gave up, and this will eat at me for a very long time
  • never think of myself as the ultimate girl scout I thought I was. 
  • have let down all of my friends and family that were rooting for me. 

 

I will be doing what he suggests and printing this out, laminating it, and reading it in times where I feel like quitting. I’m determined to do this, and I want to do this. So let’s fucking do it.