The weather this morning inspired me to stop everything and blog. It’s been a few days since my last entry too. Today is officially May 2nd, but by the weather here in central Texas you would think you were teleported into the future and it is actually November 2nd. It’s a little gloomy and breezy and the temperature at 8:45am is sitting at 59 degrees. A small thundershower is passing over our condo as I type and with the windows open I am enjoying the sounds and smells of the rain. I actually went upstairs to grab my hoodie and I have a nice hot cup of tea to enjoy with my breakfast.
I’ve been on my laptop catching up on the video blog of Hike and Tell. It is about a young coupe that are thru hiking the Appalachian Trail or the AT. The weather outside my window this morning made me feel like I was right there with them. Snail and Sandals (their trail names) have been on the trail a little over a month now and have just finished the section through the Great Smoky Mountains. At times it is just the two of them and at other times they have been joined by friends that they have met along the trail. They make it look so easy and so wonderful, but thru hiking the AT is no walk in the park!
The AT is a 2190 mile hike that starts in Georgia and ends in Maine (north bound hike; which from what I can tell is the more popular route). A thru hiker will pass through 14 states over a 5-6 month period of time. Thousands of people set out each spring to conquer this trek but a very small percentage finish (less then 30%). It is truly awe inspiring and something that in the last couple years, has been added to my bucket list. So many people claim they find themselves out on the trial. Then learn more about themselves there then at any other time in their lives. You meet great people, who can become life long friends and some that just simply come and go along the way. Even people who are not religious say that they found a sense of spirituality along the trail. Everyone is hiking their own hike and writing their own story along the way.
I have read so many great books and blogs about thru hiking. Whether on the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail or even the El camino de Santiago in Spain. The idea of my very own pilgrimage has been calling to me for over 3 years now and in the past year has been more like a scream! Surprisingly enough, my husband is very supportive of the idea. This coming from a man, that was too afraid to let me drive, in a car, 1000 miles to see my parents…. go figure.
I’m truly not afraid of the hike itself. Most people get their hiking legs and fall into the swing of things in no time. And you really never have to worry about being alone. Between the other hikers you meet, the trail Angels, and the AT conversation volunteers, some people actually look forward to spending a day alone in their own thoughts. And I do believe I am physically fit enough for the endeavor. Although being vegan does worry me some…. But I guess the biggest fear is just committing myself to something so big. Something so life changing. Having to leave my husband and two cats for 5-6 months. Having to leave life as I know it for that same amount of time. Having a new way of life unfold in front of me. Learning about myself in away that I never have before. Relying solely on myself. And then discovering who I am (and always was) at the end. That is my biggest challenge.
Listed below are some great links to informational pages about the AT and some other great blogs I follow and that have inspired me. Happy trails!
- The Appalachian Trail Conservancy
- The Appalachian Trails
- Blog: Hike and Tell
- REI 21 Trail Facts
- Blog: A Walk through the Mountains
- The book: A Walk in the Woods
- The book (about the PCT): Wild
- The movie (about the El camino de Santiago ): The Way