Since I was a teenager I have wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail. As I got older and the chances to do so became more remote, the desire grew stronger. Now that my age begins with a “5” I have the added incentive of wanting to get away from it all. As a general rule, I like “it all” but the thought of pretty much dropping out of society for six months and making slow steady progress from Georgia to Maine is something I find epic and challenging and appealing on a primal level.
Alas, I cannot see the day when I will have the time, money, and alignment of the planets to become a “through-hiker”. I can, however, do it section by section and that journey begins in 3 weeks!
At Thanksgiving I heard that someone I knew was planning to hike a large portion of the AT and offered my company for a portion in Virginia. (more on my hiking partner later.)
For a while now we have been emailing and planning and on May 31 we begin in the middle of Shenandoah National Park, on our way to Harper’s Ferry, WV. My partner will continue on for 3 more weeks but Harper’s Ferry is the end of the trip for me. It will be approximately 100 miles and take about 5 days.
This primitive wilderness journey comes a year after I blogged for two decadent weeks from Hawaii dining poolside on sashimi tuna so fresh it made me weep. Now, a year later I will be living on ramen noodles and trail mix and washing with baby wipes. I’m nothing if not versatile!
In the coming weeks I will be blogging about the preparation, planning, practice hikes and general psyching up required to leave a world of ergonomic office chairs for a week of mountainous hiking with all my possessions on my back, alone with my thoughts, and electronically disconnected (yes, I do see the irony that in the picture above I am listening to my iPhone).
I will cover the gear, food selection, the route, the camping portion, and my trail name (on the AT you go by a trail name and I have been stressing over this!) Upon my return I will share the results.
I may hate it, or I may return committed to do the other 2,000 miles! I have, however, already learned a few things. I learned that the bucket list does not come to you. I was fortunate to find someone who wanted to do this with me and it comes at a good time but I’m beginning to realize if you want to do something, you simply have to go do it.
Ten years ago I left the corporate world and started my own catering company. Though it was not a financial success, it succeeded in many other ways. Last year I got on a train in Washington, DC and rode it all the way to San Francisco. It’s not for everyone but I loved it!
This trip could be a total disaster but at least I’ll be able to look back and say I went for it. I choose to see as a good omen the fact that my initials are AT!