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Button - Appalachian Trail Journal - 2012

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City: Winchester
State: Hampshire
Country: UK
Begins: Mar 20, 2012
Direction: Northbound

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Date: Mon, Feb 15th, 2010

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It's me!

The start of an adventure!

Welcome to my 2012 AT journal!

For those of you who know me and are reading this - let's face facts, you never thought it would get this far, right? You were sure I would have been sidetracked with yet another crazy plan by now, admit it. Truth be told, me too. :-)

Still, here it is, July 2011 and things are still afoot for a March 2012 leaving date - muchos excitement!

For those of you who don't know me, well here's a couple facts to get you up to speed.... I'm Kerry, trail name: Button.

American, kind of living abroad (Well honestly, I call England home)

Lecturer in a college in teaching people how to look after animals. Previous zookeeper extraordinaire.

I'm ‘down with the kids’ by being both a Scout and Duke of Edinburgh leader, the fact I’m a Twilight/Gossip Girl fan and can admit to being 'Team Jacob' and think Chuck Bass is delicious.

Recently turned 31. Panicking that I have nothing to show for life upon hitting 31. Kind of having early mid life crisis.

Suffer from major sugar cravings at times, the majority of time actually.

Completely in love with Josh Lyman and am worried how I might cope in the wilderness without access to 7 seasons of The West Wing.

I happen to have the best family and friends in the world, even those who make fun of me for having such outlandish ideas such as walking 2,000 miles in the middle of nowhere.

I love my car and my bed, both of which I will miss.

I believe that science, cats, compasses, Level 1, 2 and 3 students and of course the M25 are works of the devil.

Oh, and when I first came up with this idea for a walk, my total hiking experience was zero. The most I had done was to spend two consecutive nights in a tent and a couple of day walks. Still, we all start somewhere, right?

Well, that kind of sums me up.

Now for the adventure bit.... I hereby announce to the world that I am an aspiring AT thru-hiker.

There, I can't take it back now.

For those of you who might have been ignoring me and my ramblings for, oh say, the past year or so, let me fill you in.

The AT stands for the Appalachian Trail, approximately 2,178 miles of hiking trail meandering up the east coast of the USA, through 14 states, starting at Springer Mountain in Georgia and finishing at Mount Katahdin in Maine. The trail wanders mostly through wilderness, it hits some towns, contains mountains (the highest is 6,625 feet) and is home to bears and snakes. It takes roughly 6 months to hike straight through and although many people start the trail each year, something like only 10% actually make it to the end.

I like the idea that the trail was born from, basically as a place where people could come to take time out and work in the wilderness for a while to appreciate nature, life and other people more. It's a pretty interesting story and if I was a graduate in English, I might try and do it justice, but I'm not, so try Google for the history lesson.

As the farewell to my first post, I'm going to try and answer the age old question that goes with one of these journals - why would you want to hike the AT?

Well, everyone has a different answer and reason and now I'm going to try and explain mine....

I could say it was because I read a book. And that's true, I did. Like many others I picked up 'A Walk in the Woods' by Bill Bryson and got hooked. And that's why I suppose he's a billion dollar writer and I'm not. He sucked me in. Made me want to strap on some hiking boots, shove a massive overweight pack on my back and go see what the woods have to offer.

But that's not the whole reason.

I could also say it's because I stood on the trail two years ago on Skyline Drive in Virginia and saw my first real white blaze beckoning me into the woodland, I stepped on the trail and wanted just to go for a walk and see how far I'd get. On that same trip as I traveled up the coast I traversed the AT a number of times, and each time I wanted to get out and walk, just to see where it went and what I'd see.

But again, there's more. Maybe it was the loss of two friends just over a year ago, two people who still had so much to give, to enjoy, to see and to explore, and now they can't. And I worry that might happen to me. Maybe it's that I’ve just passed 30 and still feel I need a big adventure. Something I can look back on and say 'I did that'. Maybe it's because one day, when I'm gone, I want people to remember all the times I went out there and grabbed my chance to do something. Took life firmly in my hands and wrangled it to the ground and into my control. To do what I want.

Life really is too short.

It's too short for late night lesson prep, bitching sessions about work, waking up too tired in the morning to enjoy the sunrise and falling asleep to early to enjoy the sunsets. It's too short to worry about money, and saving for the day I'm 70 and too old to enjoy it, about whether I'll ever be married off, or if I've bought the perfect house. It's too short for not taking time out for your family, your friends, yourself and for all of those people you've yet to meet but never had the chance to. I don't want to live my life wishing I'd done different. Because I might never get the chance. Maybe it's because I just want to live for a while, a simple life, to remember what life really is about. To appreciate all that I have and all that I might still achieve. Or it could be all of the above.

All I know is that in March 2012, I plan to start walking.

Who knows if I'll reach the end? Does it matter? To me, no, it doesn't matter. What matters the most? That I try.

So come with me and see how far I get.

Button x

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Button's Grand Adventure

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
- David Henry Thoreau


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