In the beginning, I knew little of the art of hiking long distances. I say art, because that’s what it is. It’s a skill that some of us are born with, while others spend countless miles learning the basics, building upon a foundation so that one day it can be deemed a masterpiece. I wasn’t born with the skill, but after hard work and dedication, I’ve gotten good at what I do. The Appalachian Trail was just that: hard work and dedication. In 2006, and at twenty-two, I left the AT’s southern terminus on May 25th. Hiking through fourteen states, I followed the white blazes north from Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia, to Baxter State Park, Maine. I reached the northern terminus a wee bit over four months later.
It was the miles of New England, and the mountains to the north, where I fell in love with backpacking. The expansive scenery that rolled over summits inspired my imagination. It captivated my attention, pulling my eyes across vast vistas littered with lakes, green forests and rocky mountain peaks.