Now that I have the blog site somewhat setup, I can devote some time to a proper introduction.
I have been dreaming of the Appalachian Trail since I first learned of it as a 12-year old Boy Scout. The trail was talked about with such mystique and awe that it seemed like a fairytale. A few years later, it was discussed while we hiked through the mountains of northern New Mexico at the Philmont Scout Ranch, as something that could be done as an extension of our trek. The thought of an AT thru hike has been simmering just under the surface since then.
At first, it was just something to talk about, a far off goal, seemingly unattainable. Over the years, the more I thought about it and the more I read about it, the more the dream started to manifest into something much bigger. The mystery that the trail had surrounding it slowly gave way to awe – the existence of something as large as the Appalachian Trail, bisecting its way through fourteen states across over 2,180 miles, seemingly unknown to many who live just steps from it, while creating its own tight knit community and support network, made it much more than a simple trail to be walked. A thru hike began to represent the unknown possibility of the future. Accomplishing it, while still a far off dream, would represent more than just the miles and time. It would represent the strength and fortitude that seemed to be lacking in my life.
The thought of a Thru Hike came and went over the years, usually coinciding with major changes in my life. But for some reason, I always became distracted before I could follow through with it. When I moved to Maryland in 2003, I thought being close to the AT would entice me to use it more than I have, even if for only quick day hikes. Like many, though, I allowed the reality of the “real world” to push the dream lower and lower down the ladder of priorities.
I had hoped to head south along the Appalachian Trail during the summer of 2014. I wanted to tackle the trail before “the next chapter of life”, whatever that may be, takes over. But more than anything, I hoped that the trail would help me rediscover the inner me that had been lost through years of schooling, marriage, divorce, and bending over to societal expectations.
Unfortunately, life got in the way again. Simply put, I did not commit fully to preparing for it and therefore, lost the motivation to follow through. Then at the end of last summer, a small motorcycle accident, which resulted in some pretty decent knee surgery, sidelined any thoughts of hiking.
That was then.
Now, having spent the majority of my rehab time reading about the Appalachian Trail, I am committing fully to it. While I am still “setting up” things… you know, like telling my parents and my boss… I am initiating the conversations and events that need to occur in order to prep for a 2015 Thru Hike. I have started to evaluate my current gear setup and research what gear I would like to upgrade. I have already been out for a few day trips into the mountains around Harper’s Ferry, trying to rehab my knee back into shape. I’ll have more posts to come on all of that…
One of the hardest things I am coming to grips with is the forthcoming questions – mostly, the “why?” question. I think I want to hike the AT more to prove that I can do it, to prove to myself that I have the mental and physical strength and determination to follow through with something as large as this. I am still searching for who I am as a person, and I realize that the trail may not help me meet that person, but it may help me clear the demons from my head and reintroduce me to the outdoor world I fell in love with as a kid.
As for what to expect from me… I plan to post about once a week. Maybe more, if I have a lot to say, but maybe less, if my crazy schedule does not permit a writing session. I hope to not be too sporadic. My posts will be a mixed cornucopia of thought processes, gear testing, recipe formulations, and trip notes, all interlaced with photos and graphics to break up the monotony of my ramblings. And I will try to not be so long winded as I have been in this post. I am sure there will be some off-topic posts, as well, as I have many different “lives”, each very separate from the other. I also hope to find my “writer’s style”, as I have been given the honor of writing for the Appalachian Trials blog when my Thru Hike begins. (Thanks, Zach!)
I would love to hear from you, so if you have any comments or topic suggestions, feel free to use the comment box below, or the Contact Me page up top.
Until next time, remember to “Spin the Compass.”