I have always assumed I'd thru the AT when I retired from teaching at age 58 (not far away now). I had let myself get so out of shape in the last ten years (weight ballooned to almost 300 pounds), and I saw this dream slipping away (along with my health). For inspiration I started reading AT books, and one on the PCT and even the Arctic Trail in Greenland.
I've now dropped my weight to 246 and took my kids up Old Rag and I am proud to announce that I made it without too much pain. I intend to be weighing 170 or so before I'm done.
Here's the thing. I have sectioned most of the AT in Virginia and all of it in Georgia, WV, and MD. I've also hike small parts in NC and PA. I simply find that my desire to thru the AT has fallen and I'd rather do the PCT right now. Somehow the shelter crowds, the towns, the young partiers and what seems to be more and more rules out there doesn't seem to be "escaping" what I want to escape. The thought of hiking the PCT with my son and not seeing other people for days or towns for weeks appeals to me more than the AT right now.
I love the AT. I have volunteered on it and I am a member of ATC and PATC.
Somebody convince me that I can still have a nature experience on the AT or else just validate my decision to do the PATC instead. It sounds stupid, but I feel like I'm cheating on my trail.