Lets go back to the beginning and talk about how this adventure got started. The idea of thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail (AT) was given to me a little over a year ago, in Dec. of 2013, as I watched a promotional video put out by Patagonia called Worn Wear: A Film About the Stories We Wear (link below).
I have watched this short film probably close to 40-50 times. Something about it speaks to me. One of the stories featured in the Worn Wear film is about a girl named Kristin Gates. Kristin has hiked approximately 12,000 miles on long distance trails. She is one of the youngest women to have hiked the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail (The Triple Crown). She has also navigated herself across 1,000 miles of unmarked territory in the Brooks Range, Alaska. Most of these amazing feats she has accomplished by hiking solo. Check out her blog and Facebook page here:
After being inspired – I began planning. Through further research I learned that hiking the Appalachian Trail is probably the best long trail in the US to learn the secrets of long distance hiking, because the trail is well marked, resupplying food/gear is fairly manageable, and there is a large AT support system. Not to mention that Kristin’s first thru hike was the AT and so I felt it was a good place to start.
I began planning last spring with the intention of thru-hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, all 2,180 miles, from Georgia to Maine. I was planning to complete this adventure solo. The thought nearly scared my parents to death. Plans have changed a little since last spring, as much as my heart desires the thru-hike experience I know God has a greater plan for me. I feel a lot like this picture.
And so, I have compromised to appease the conflict within.
Those of you who have read Messil’s previous posts to this blog know that he has gone through some really difficult experiences in the past 6 months. I am in no way happy he has had to experience these trials, but I am grateful that he will be joining me on this adventure. We will be starting our Appalachian Trail section hike May 6th, in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We will be hiking north for about 2 months. We hope to cover about 500 miles. We will ‘Walk to Victory’ together! What is Victory? Well that’s another blog post…Stay tuned!