All planning complete,
all logistics done, I am
now growing nervous.
I benefit from
of backcountry trips,
But I am also
acutely aware that
this is different.
I cast myself on
the waters of the world, and
Hope they bear me up.
My Appalachian Trail adventure begins this week at Springer Mountain, Georgia. It will end when it ends. I don’t know when that will be, but I hope I know where it will be: Mount Katahdin, Maine.
Three days ago, on March 26, I announced that I would dedicate my 2014 Appalachian Trail thru-hike to HIKE for Mental Health, a nonprofit that directs donations to mental health research and preservation of wilderness trails. While building my fundraising page, I hesitated over what dollar amount to set as a goal. I settled on $500, which seemed a modest but attainable figure.
I vastly underestimated the generosity and caring of my friends, family, and readers. Together, we surpassed that $500 goal in just two days. I decided to step it up and go for a new reach goal of $2,185, or one dollar for each mile of the AT.
That new goal seems unattainable to me, but perhaps that is fitting: for many people, the very notion of walking all the way from Georgia to Maine must seem like an unrealistic fantasy. Lots of things are like that, though, unimaginable right up until you try.
Why am I taking time off work to go for a months-long walk in the woods? To address that question, and others that I'm hearing a lot, I present this FAQ regarding my 2014 Appalachian Trail thru-hike.
"Thru-hiking the AT"? What does that mean?
"The AT" is hiker shorthand for the Appalachian Trail, a long-distance footpath stretching through fourteen states along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains. The trail runs from Springer Mountain, Georgia, to Mount Katahdin in Maine's Baxter State Park. "Thru-hiking" refers to hiking the full length of the trail in a single, continuous journey.