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State: New York
Begins: Apr 8, 2013
Date: Sat, Mar 9th, 2013
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Every year about 2000 hikers set out to hike the Appalachian Trail from one end to the other. Only 20-30% are successful. Some hikers get hurt, some get sick (lyme disease), some get bored, some find the trail to be more physically exhausting than they expected, some run out of money and others are forced off trail by something that happens at home. In my preparation to be among the 20-30% that make it all the way to Katahdin I have read everything I can get my hands on about successful thru-hiking. I have read the journals of other thru-hikers. Some of my favorites have been Garlic and Pickle, Portrait, Gangsta & Wags, Uncle Tom, Daddy O, Jan Liteshoes, Ice Ax, and the all-time funniest, Gator Gump. I have learned a lot from these hikers who have gone before me and shared their journey.
One of the books I read, Appalachians Trials- A Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail by Zach Davis, recommends to make a list of reasons why you are hiking the trail. You need to keep your list near you and need to refer to it often.
So here goes my list:
1. I want to challenge myself both mentally and physically. I was 20 years old when I first thought hiking the AT would be a pretty cool thing to do. It is now 36 years later and now is the perfect time.
2. I want to lose weight and get healthy. Then I want to stay that way for the rest of my days.
3. I want to spend 6 months in the woods and mountain air. I want to wake up with the sun, walk all day, hang my hammock after sunset and go to sleep!
4. I want to attack my fears. I have been petrified of snakes my whole life. I know I will encounter both rattle snakes and copperheads --all thru-hikers do. Will I be ready?
5. I want to meet new people, especially people crazy enough to attempt a thru-hike. Who knows-maybe I will make some life long friends?
6. I want to spend the Spring in the Southern Appalachians. The Southern Appalachians will be a brand new experience for me and I am really looking forward to them.
7. I want to spend the Fall in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. There is something special about the crisp autumn air and the bright colors in the mountains of the great North East!
So there you have it . When I'm having a tough day or week I will be getting out my list and hopefully it will keep me focused on the task at hand, to hike the AT from Springer Mountain GA to Katahdin ME.
One Step At A Time
The Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is more than 2,175-mile long footpath stretching through 14 eastern states from Maine to Georgia. Conceived in 1921 and first completed in 1937, it traverses the wild, scenic, wooded, pastoral, and culturally significant lands of the Appalachian Mountains. Learn more: www.appalachiantrail.org
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