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.
NEW YORK TO NEW HAMPSHIRE
I was raised in Warwick, New York, a trail-town five miles from the Appalachian Trail. It’s a special place, not just because I was born there, but because it boasts one of the best ice cream stands you’ll ever come across. I took a few days off, visiting family and friends, in addition to updating the poor choice of gear I’d been carrying for the last few months. I purchased a new backpack—one designed for backpacking and not day-hiking—, and switched out my bulky boots for lightweight trail runners. I swam in the pool, drank copious amounts of alcohol and had a grand old time. Oh, and before I forget, I picked up a digital camera.