I have hiked five miles or so of the most famous footpath in the world. The Appalachian Trail runs approximately 2200 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, and I’ve hiked only a few miles of it in Pennsylvania. What I’ve seen of it and read of it makes me want to hike the whole thing. And, if possible, in one shot. In other words, as a through hike.
However, I have several concerns that give me pause.
One is my physical condition. Yes, overweight people have hiked the AT. And people with knee replacements have hiked it. And I assume people with bad backs have hiked it as well. However, all three?
There’s also my balance problems to contend with. Although my vertigo might be able to be addressed through balance training and exercise, and an increase in confidence.
Then there is the time involved. At the present top distance I have for hiking in a day, which is six miles, it would take an entire year to through hike the trail. If I were to get to ten miles a day, I still would need 220 days to complete the hike. That’s a large amount of time to literally be doing nothing but hiking.
And by doing nothing, I mean NOT engaging in earning a living. Committing to a through hike means giving up an income. And giving up everything supported by that income. Its easier to do when you are young and just starting out, or retired and comfortable. My leaving for a through hike means not only banking thousands of dollars to finance my life on the trail, but also either setting aside more money to maintain my ‘real’ life during this time or giving up everything. As a person who once lost everything, I’m not sure I’m comfortable going back to that. And I realize many people set up campaigns on Kickstarter or GoFundMe, but begging people to fund a vacation isn’t something I’d like to do. Although if the kid who raised a fortunate with potato salad on Kickstarter wanted to throw money my way I wouldn’t object.
And finally, there’s this website. Yes, I could probably keep the lights on while on the trail. I could probably update from the woods, and I’d certainly have a ton of stories to share. But the goal of the website isn’t just my diary, although that’s an aspect. Its also about showing that the outdoors is for everyone. And there is a hands-on business aspect to A Taste For The Woods that I am working on. Going on the trail for nine months means delaying that.
If this sounds like I am talking myself out of a through hike, perhaps I am. But the fact I’ve gone public with this shows how strongly I WANT to do it.
Your thoughts, dear reader, are welcome. Should I follow this dream, and if so how should I handle it?