My mind has been racing with plans about the Appalachian Trail for the past month. I do not know when I set my mind on a thru-hike, but I remember a friend telling us a story a few years back about his dad hiking the trail in sections, one month a year for six years. I had always wanted to visit Appalachia as a child, and hearing that one could hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, or vice-versa, sounded like the perfect way to see a part of the country I have never been to.
Fast-forward to a few months into our Coddiwomple, when I began realizing that the timing was as good as it would ever be for a thru-hike attempt. Ian and I have talked about my goal, and he is eager to support my attempt. In my mind, I saw a thru-hike as a northbound (NOBO), trek, and started to “plan” accordingly; I would want to start early spring, perhaps as early as the last week of February and I would need 5 to 6 months to complete the hike, which would take me August of 2018, over a year away. That did NOT fit in with our Coddiwomple, nor my best friend’s expected wedding date.
Second thoughts were racing through my mind. I don’t have to do this, it’s just something I want to do, am I being selfish, what does a thru-hike mean for the Coddiwomple? If I can’t do a NOBO beginning February 2018, will I ever get around to it? What does it mean if I don’t hike the Appalachian Trail? I felt disappointed that my dream to thru-hike seemed to be falling through, but I am still enjoying this trip that Ian and I are on, so it’s not heartbreaking. I continued to go for long walks/hikes with my pack, but I wasn’t sure I would ever make it the approximate 2200 miles of the AT.
Perhaps in hopes that announcing my dream to the world would push me to accomplish my goal, I hastily posted on Facebook:
“Now is as good of time as any to let everyone know that I have set my heart upon doing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. I’m not yet sure when I will be able to begin, but I have already begun, by training. Today I hiked the Port Gamble Trails for five hours, now my feet hurt. Tomorrow I go to REI to look for new trail shoes and other gear. I’m looking forward to learning more about myself during this journey.”
Looking at my situation, now, not 2018, is the perfect time to attempt a thru-hike. I had plans for a NOBO hike, but I don’t even know where I chose northbound or southbound, other than it seems like the norm; I could start a SOBO hike in August, maybe even earlier. I have the freedom, some finances, a husband with no desire to hike the full length of the AT, but excited about being my Trail Angel. I can do this, with the greatest support. If I pass this up for the hike I have previously been dreaming of, I could end up never actually going through with this. What is my excuse?! I guess there isn’t one, which is why I registered to Start My A.T. Thru-Hike At Katahdin in Baxter State Park. There is still plenty of time for this plan to change, perhaps to a flip-flop hike, but for now I am moving forward with plans to start in Maine.