So let it be known, this shall be a year I will not soon forget. I will soon be setting forth on a long and challenging adventure. This will surely be one of the most challenging, yet also most rewarding, things I will have ever done.
In just a few short weeks, I will be making an attempt at thruhiking the Appalachian Trail. I will be starting on Springer Mountain in Georgia, and heading northbound, following the white-blazed Appalachian Trail all the way to Mount Katahdin in Maine.
This journey will have me walking over 2,184 miles of trail, not including the approach to the start, descent from the end, nor the miles of side trails I may decide to embark.
By the end of the trip, I will have taken over 5 million steps. This journey may take me 4 to 7 months to complete. I have a deadline, so I will be attempting to complete the trail in under 6 months.
In the course of this trip, I will hike through the following states:
GEORGIA 75 miles
NORTH CAROLINA 88 miles
TENNESSEE 71 miles
VIRGINIA 550 miles
WEST VIRGINIA 4 miles
MARYLAND 41 miles
PENNSYLVANIA 229 miles
NEW JERSEY 72 miles
NEW YORK 88 miles
CONNECTICUT 52 miles
MASSACHUSETTS 90 miles
VERMONT 150 miles
NEW HAMPSHIRE 161 miles
MAINE 281 miles
The trail itself is a strenuous one in most places. Following the Appalachian Mountain Range, the trail ascends and descends many major peaks over very steep and rocky terrain.
The demands of the trail will include the physical, mental, and emotional challenges. Physically, the trail may prove to be very brutal at times. I expect many difficulties, since it will require great stamina and will. There is also the risk of injury. I expect my feet to take a beating, but I will do my best to take extra preventive care. There is also risk of stress to ankles, knees, back, and other areas. I am taking a very light load to help prevent this.
Mentally, I feel I am prepared. This has been a dream of mine for some time, and I am well aware of the rigors involved. However, it will certainly be a huge undertaking, and should I succeed in maintaining that focus on my goals, I will prove my abilities to myself in the face of adversities.
The trail will also present emotional challenges. There is no denying that my enthusiasm may suffer to a degree when I am faced with being cold, dealing with days and days of bad weather, being sore, and so on. There will be bad days. I must accept this, but hopefully I can remain positive, and never lose faith in my own abilities.
I will also face homesickness, I am sure. I love my friends and family. There are many things I am going to miss out on while on the trail. Granted, I will not be alone in a sense. For one, it is a popular trail. I will see many other hikers, and probably meet some really great characters out there. I also have good friends who hope to join me on the trail here and there. But, there will be long stretches of hiking where I will be alone, and while that sounds inviting to an extent, I will miss those I care about and that will pose yet another challenge I must overcome.
I do intend on updating this site from time to time, so feel free to follow along. I feel this will be an adventure like no other I have experienced, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts and experiences here!
This will be my longest, hardest challenge to date. It is a dream come true. At the end of next week, I will leave my home in Maine. A few days later, and I will be checking out Atlanta. Soon after that, I will begin walking, one foot in front of the other, all the way to Maine.