It all started right after I graduated a 4-year university. I’ve still had passion burning from my love of adventure. Therefore, I ventured into the unknown somewhere in North Carolina.
I had no career, just a thirst for the outdoors. Fortunately, I was extremely grateful to have worked at a resort very close to the Appalachian Trail, which at first I had no idea what the heck it was. It wasn’t until a few coworkers told me about the trail that I soon became intrigued.
My curiosity got the better so one day I decided to hike a small section of it myself and, of course, with my fellow coworkers. From hiking atop my first bald to watching the sunset at an abandoned firetower, I immediately fell in love with the beauty of the trail that I decided this was going to be on my bucket list.
So following my huge announcement (if you haven’t checked it out, I suggest you should read this first), I decided to share my top five damn good reasons on why I want to thru hike the AT this year.
1. It’s the Ultimate Bucket List!
As soon as I hit the first section of the AT, I immediately fell in love with the trail that this year I decided put in on my ultimate bucket list. Plus, I have a hiking partner who has wanted to hike the entire trail ever since she was a teenager. I think we can both make our dreams a reality. Don’t you think?
2. I Want to Challenge Myself
Coming from a place where I was taught to live comfortably, I decided why not get out of that zone and live life. I mean, come on.
YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE…right?
I mean I’ve been living out of my comfort zone after I graduated college. But nothing is going to prepare me like hitting the trail in the next few weeks. From what others told me, the trail is not only physically challenging, but mental as well. That means I have to wake up everyday, eat breakfast, walk 8-15 miles a day carrying a 20-25lb pack, set up camp, eat, sleep, rinse and repeat. Not only that, but I have to deal with rain, mud, lightning storms, blisters, chafes, and pests for most of my journey.
However along my journey, I hope to embrace those challenges and become a better version of myself even towards the bitter end.
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”
3. I Want to Enjoy Freedom in Ways Others Cannot
Backpacking in the woods is not only liberating, but it is merely an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. Last year, I wasn’t able to enjoy too much freedom after working full-time at a resort over 40 hours a week. Plus this winter season, I wasn’t able to enjoy my freedom since I’ve been working overtime at two different jobs, mainly trying to save up for the trail.
Hiking the AT means taking my time along the journey. It means I can stop whenever I want and smell the roses. It means I can take zeros whenever I feel frustrated. It means I don’t have to feel like I’m ever competing with other hikers. It means I can do whatever I want, whenever I want.
HIKE YOUR OWN HIKE!
4. I Want To Experience Trail Magic
This is a no-brainer. I’ve heard all the talks about trail magics/trail angels and how they spread kindness throughout the trail community. I heard they serve food to thru-hikers, drive you to town, give you a room to sleep, and cheer you on throughout your thru-hiking journey. That feels like an amazing experience I want to be a part of.
And from what I understand, trail angels really are the glue to this whole AT experience. Without them, most thru-hikers wouldn’t be able to complete their hike nor would they share their wonderful experiences that would’ve made me restore my faith in humanity.
5. I Want to Hike For My Overall Health
For this final reason, I just wanna put it out there. I haven’t always live the healthiest lifestyle especially during these past few months. Working 50+ hours a week has left me feeling extremely stressed to the point of depression and anxiety.
Plus, I’m not getting any younger especially when it comes to physical health. From working my other job, I have had terrible back pains for the past few weeks. Recently, I quit that job so I can quickly recover before I hit the trail.
Now I’m not saying that just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you can’t hike the Appalachian Trail. To be honest, I believe anyone can thru-hike if they put their mind to it. And of course I’m not saying that hiking is going to cure mental health. But I do believe hiking will reduce stress, improve well-being, and make you feel more connected with other people.
Well, that’s it. I hope everyone enjoyed reading the top reasons why I’m thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. If you want to follow along my journey, you can follow me on Youtube, Instagram, or Facebook.
Happy Trails ✌️