View Full Version : When did you decide to thru-hike the AT

03-30-2006, 20:15
The first time I heard about the Appalachian Trail was from the February 1987 edition of the National Geographic " Tunnel Through Time ". After I finished reading the article I knew some day
I would thru-hike the trail. 20 years later my dream comes true in 2007. I'm curios to know when you knew that you would thru-hike the AT.

max patch
03-30-2006, 20:46
In 1975 I had to go to Philly on business. On Sat I did the typical touristy things. On Sunday I rented a car and drove to Port Clinton. I knew from my readings that the AT when thru town and I figured I could find the white blazes. I hiked about an hour before I had to turn around and go back. It seemed impossible that if I turned left the trail went to GA and if I turned right it went to ME. I saw 2 guys tenting off the trail a bit. I knew then that somehow, someday I would hike all of it. It took 13 years but in 1988 I finally had the opportunity to thru. Thanks for reminding me.

Lone Wolf
03-30-2006, 20:49
July of 85 I was riding on the back of a garbage truck and for whatever reason doing the AT popped into my head. That day I started a seperate savings account. March 22, 1986 I started at Amicalola. The rest is history. I AM hiker trash.:D

03-30-2006, 21:04
I think she first showed her appeal to me in '79. I was a junior in high school and one of my buddies started talking about it. I was consumed w/the idea for a couple of years and then it drifted away. Now it is BACK - with a vengeance

Pennsylvania Rose
03-30-2006, 21:20
I read a reprint of the National Geographic article in Reader's Digest in 1989. I found the original article and was hooked. I didn't know anything about backpacking but headed out from Springer anyway. I promised my mom I'd be back by June to earn book $ for college. By Neels Gap I KNEW I had to thruhike. However, by Erwin I was tired and my mom's lack of support (she wouldn't send me $ from my bank account - pre ATM days) killed my morale. I've regretted every minute since that I got off. I married a guy and we were planning to go back in 1991 to thruhike, but became parents instead. (How long do you think that marriage lasted? :))

I haven't given up, though, and am going to thru when my youngest gets a little older.

I've learned two good lessons, though. Don't give up on your goals even if the going gets tough, support your kids in thier goals even if you don't understand them, don't run away from your problems, talk to people when something is important to you, and listen when something is important to them. (That's two and two and one, isn't it? I must be a gully dwarf.)

03-30-2006, 21:43
Ooops, just noticed this was the 2007 forum.

03-30-2006, 22:48
Yep, I caught the bug in the seventies too. We used to travel to SNP a lot when I was little (one of our favorite parks) and all I could think about was this trail that meandered through the park with these wite blazes, and it stretching from Georgia to Maine. I contacted the ATC, bought a data book when I was 14 with my babysitting money (even though I wasn't hiking it, I just wanted something official!), got Ed Garvey's original Appalachian Trail Hiker from the SNP Big Meadows vistor center that became like my second Bible in a way, and have been thinking about the trail ever since!

Spirit Walker
03-30-2006, 23:36
I read that same article and was on the trail a few months later - in March of 1988. For a long time I thought that was the first I had ever heard of the AT, but a couple of years ago I found a sheet of paper I wrote when I was about 14 in which I listed my life goals/dreams. Among them was "Hike the Appalachian Trail". I don't know how I had heard of it, living in Arizona, but somehow I was intrigued enough to write it down, though I totally forgot about it for the next 17 years.

03-31-2006, 00:13
In 1972, when I was 11, my family moved from Michigan to Charlottesville so my father could work on his PhD. A family with three kids and no income except a grad fellowship looks for cheap entertainment, so we'd drive up to the BRP and go for short dayhikes on weekends. 'Gee', I thought to myself when my dad explained how the AT went all the way from Georgia to Maine, 'Wouldn't it be great to hike the whole thing? I wonder if anybody's ever done it. I could be the first!' Big dreams from a sixth grader! It took almost three decades before I did the first half. Just hope it doesn't take another three decades to finish it! But I didn't give up on the dream from 1972 through 2001, and I'm not going to give up on it now.

04-01-2006, 19:44
Back when I was in college(mid-late 90's) I became interested in backpacking in general. I was reading an article online about winter camping. The thought that people hiked and camped in winter had never occured to me. I soon found several other websites about winter camping to learn more. One of these sites was called HAE Adventure. It was filled with stories of winter hiking and camping, but at the bottom of the list was an account of a thruhike two of the members of HAE(Half-Assed Expeditions) did in 1987. After reading the journal of their thruhike I said to myself "That sounds like a blast. I should do that!" Only now, some 9 years later am I in a position where my goal is within reach. Harper's Ferry to Katahdin in 2007. Springer to Harper's Ferry in 2008.

Mountain Mike
04-01-2006, 22:21
I first started thing about it soon after becoming a boy scout. Then Nat. Geo article came out in 87. It took me about 24 hrs to decide to hike it the next season. My boss at the time almost choked on his salad as I told him I wanted six month off the next year. His next question was if I expected to have a job when I got back. I didn't care. I had a few standing offers. But my mind was set! When I told him my plans he supported me fully.

04-05-2006, 23:04
My dad hiked the AT when I was little, and I used to love hearing him talk about it, but it never really crossed my mind when I got older.
He passed away three years ago, and several months ago I saw him in very vivid dream, and he said "you have to hike the Appalachian Trail". I started planning the next day.
:) Mindi

04-06-2006, 00:17
and that was in 1979, woke up on the trail, had camped near a shelter with several thru-hikers inside...overheard one of them say 'time to go to work', promised myself that i would hike as long as the body allowed but never let become a job or an end point.....

04-06-2006, 00:23
When I was 13, I was going to a school for disadvantaged kids. We took a 4 day hiking trip to hike a section of the AT in NH. There were two guys with beards, they were nobo thru-hikers. It amazed me that someone hiked that far. Ever since I have wanted to do a thru-hike. now 15 years later I am still waiting. I will hike the AT if I have to sell everything I have. And one day I hope to do a triple crown along with a secret hike that I don't want anyone to know about until I am almost ready to do it.

04-06-2006, 00:32
When I graduated Highschool I decided to move to Costa Rica for a year as an exchange student. While there I got to meet a lot of interesting people from the states and a couple of them were talking about the AT. I had never heard of it and became instintly fascinated by it. It took me less than 24 hrs to decide I wanted to do it. I had never backpacked or ever done overnite hiking of anykind. Just the car camping thing. All I knew is that I had a heart for adventure and I felt connected with nature. It is breathtaking and inspiring to me and it makes me feel like anything is possible and life is good. So when I got back to the states I had a plan to do it, except.... I got married.... Then moved.... then bought a house... then aquired debt..... Ahh the American dream.

My passion for the trail never faded... it just became more difficult to reach and the added challenge of getting my husband excited was thrown in the mix. But, it is slowly happening. I am now 23, and have been happily married for 3 years. We sold our house last fall and moved to Charlotte NC to be closer to the trail. We have begun getting our gear and my husband is starting to get excited. He is having trouble comprehending hiking for six months. I think he thought for 3 years that it was just a dream of mine and that it would never come to be. He hasnt fully come to know me very well yet!! He seems to think he wont physically make it. I wish he had the same " you can do what ever the hell you want to if you put your mind to it" saying. I guess I just want it so bad that nothing really scares me.

Anyway, we are halfway there with the gear, halfway there on the debt being paid off, and im getting another job to save up for it. Im getting rid of everything. Im kind of excited about completely starting of new financially and job wise when we get back. My husband not so much... but he loves me! We are doing our first overnite trip next weekend with our packs, new tent, new bags, new pads and new shoes.... Im so freakin stoked!!

04-06-2006, 05:58
The first time I heard about the Appalachian Trail was from the February 1987 edition of the National Geographic " Tunnel Through Time "...........etc,etc,etc,.......... I'm curios to know when you knew that you would thru-hike the AT.

Yo Lacbe:

i've always loved walkin' in the woods...but, my decision to Hike the A.T. was in the year 2000...while visiting western NC (Banner Elk)...we traveled with our friends to the top of ROAN MTN to CARVERS GAP & got out of the car & walked about 100 yards up the TRAIL (on the A.T.) & i knew @ that moment...that i would hike the A.T. one day...

i started section-hiking in 2002 & will pass the 750 mile mark this year in Central VA.:D

Section-Hiking Pearisburg-Glasgow,VA (w/ "Jigsaw") Apr 22-May 3

04-06-2006, 16:51
I made the AT decision last fall. I knew I wanted to do something big after I spent a week hiking on Isle Royale in Lake Superior a few years back. I'm shooting for 2010. This year is lots of weekends and a few longer trips to "hone my craft." Next year's highlight will be at least a week at Philmont. 2008 and 2009 I plan on spending a lot of time on the Lake Superior Hiking Trail. Then in 2010 I hit the AT with a break somewhere in the middle to be on staff at the Boy Scout National Jamboree in Virginia.

Now all I have to do is tell my boss and my wife.

Old Hillwalker
04-06-2006, 18:46
Even though I grew up in New Hampshire, my first exposure to the AT was while camping in Shanandoah National Park. My (then) wife and our two kids would walk short distances and I would dream about the day when my life would permit me to do the whole trail. This was around 1966 when I was stationed in Washington, DC. Since then I have been through three marriages and two retirements and I plan on finally doing it at 68 in 2008. Single - free - and back in New Hampshire a mile from the trail. For those of you who make it, you will be walking on a section I maintain, and another section I monitor. Hope to see you :sun

04-09-2006, 17:34
i heard about the trail in the 70's and i was into hiking and camping so i wanted to try it. then all of a sudden wife,kids and i all but forgot about it.
then about 2yrs. ago i was in the local grocery store when one of the cashiers a 20 yr. old female started talking about how she wanted to try the trail. as it turns out she didn't do the trail BUT it got me thinking about it again.
that was 2 yrs. ago, i've been in the gym got some good advice from WB members and bottom line june or july 07 i'm goin' SOBO and i couldn't be happier

04-09-2006, 17:46
I decided to hike the AT when I was probably 12 or 13 when I went on my first backpacking trip to Mt. Liberty via the Liberty Springs Trail in New Hampshire. Me and my cousins were staying at the Liberty Springs Tent Site and decided to go up to the summit to watch the sunset. It was one of the best times of my life and I decided right then I would hike the AT someday. My cousins also agreed with me but now he cannot go because of obligations of beong an MP in the Army stationed in Holland. So I guess I will be heading out alone on March 9th 2007!!! I can't wait.

04-10-2006, 04:15
I suppose there I have two answers to that question. My grandfather was the second person to thru-hike the trail; I inherited the hiking genes, and grew up assuming that I would hike the trail someday. I made it "official" in January after a bit of personal turmoil and the realization that I want to do it sooner rather than later so that my grandfather can be involved in my hike.

04-10-2006, 04:16
In mid 93, aimed for a 95 hike, hit on 96 instead. Had hiked and worked in the outdoors for many years, just had to find the time to do it. I guess one of the biggest surprises encountered on the trail where the large number of folks that had never hiked prior to attempting a thru-hike. The only down side to my hike was seeing hurt hikers, or hikers so ill prepared to the point I was concerned for their safety.

04-11-2006, 01:05
Well Lets See, If I Remember Right It Was Away Back In 1956 Or '57 And I Was On Vacation With My Parents. We Were Somewhere In Maryland And I Remember Reading A Sign That Said Appalachian Trail, Dad Told Me What It Was And I Said "i'll Walk It Someday"and He Laughed. Well I Still Have About 38o Miles To Go But Have Loved Everyday Of Being Out And Hikin The Ol' A-t. Maybe I'll Finish Most Of It By The Time I'm 65, Always Seem To Save Some For The Next Trip.

04-11-2006, 01:22
my home in allentown PA is very close to the trail. when i was very young my grandfather my brother and I took a short hike into the traihead, i was maybe 9 years old when my grabdfather told me that people hike the whole trail in one year. at that point I wanted to do it. it was not untill sept 05 when I was on a trip with my school (the culinary institute of america) studying food and wine in california when a frined and I were talking about life goals and the AT came up. I told him that I always enjoyed hiking and that I wanted to hike the AT, but could not find anyon who wanted to do it with me. His retort was I have my trip planned south bounf starting in june and have no one to do it with. we are leaving Katahdin on June 20th!!! I could not be more excited about anything in my life. for me it is about the challeinge of acomplishing a goal and having a great time while doing so.

04-11-2006, 12:18
I can understand why we have the urgency to thru-hike the AT. I just retired 4/1 and I can't sleep with out knowing how important it is to walk from GA-ME, it is part of my life. Try to tell ur self that that is not possibly but it is, plus I have to many Miller High Lifes today, because we still have 11 months before we thru-hike the AT. We 2007's need to get togeather and know each other , u name the place and the time because 2007 rocks.

04-11-2006, 12:36
Plus does the banna still rocks if we do not see it

Whiz Kid
04-14-2006, 10:52
Jeez I feel like a young'un. WHen Bryson's book came out a family friend/librarian recommended his book. Fresh outta high school, nothing better to do, so why not. Coming from CT. and having roots in Maine, southbound was the way to go. Plus a little break at home does a body home on the way to GA. helped. My dad helped with some inspiration saying as soon as I was 18 I was gone, so I was. Love to do it again, guess when the Army ETS is up I'll try it again. God bless Bill Bryson!

04-14-2006, 11:29
I read the same National Geographic article in 1993 and was walking back from the library in Charleston, SC(where I lived at the time) and I said to myself, "I have got to do that". The planning started the same day 2/14/1993. I was on top of Springer Mtn. on April 15, 1995 and 175 wonderful days later I was on top of Mt. Katahdin, Maine. Everything changed from that moment on.

04-14-2006, 11:46
In school sometime in the 70's I also read a National Geographic BOOK about the AT (in the same series there was one also about the PCT). This only enhanced my want to go out and do something like this. For years I listened to my Grand-dads tales of hiking, hunting and exploring in north central Pa and southern NY. I was hooked into doing a long distance solo hike. The AT was closer so I went. Saw it, read it, Walked on it many short distances, then I challenged it and completed it in 78

04-14-2006, 12:07
I was at summer camp in 1984 or 1985 (I was about 10 yrs old) and a guy that had thru-hiked the year prior came in and did a slide show presentation of his hike. Blown away would be an understatement for what was going through my mind during and after I saw his three slide trays worth of pictures. I decided then and there that I had to get out and do this someday. So I did! Started in 1999 and 570 miles later still working my way North.

04-14-2006, 13:34
A couple years ago I was road tripping with my friend from Maryland to Georgia to visit our friend. We were just talking about life and stuff and she mentioned the AT. I've been thinking about it non stop since then and everything has fallen into place.

04-17-2006, 22:32
Like many others, I got into backpacking in the early 70's. I read Colin and just about everything else available in the high school library. I dreamt of doing th AT after HS, but went on to college and eventually married.

Thirty years after I laid my thru-dreams aside, my wife encouraged *us* to section-hike the whole thing. We did a couple sections this past winter. Two weeks ago, "Fanny" left our 19-year marriage. Next year, in June, I'm set to receive my Masters degree from Norwich University in Vermont. Guess what Vermont's near? (Hint: Katahdin! Hmmm... Katahdin in June... where could we go from there...?) Divorce will be final, job will be gone, house and unecessary baggage from the last three decades will also be gone.

I need to walk this off. See ya on the trail in '07!


05-03-2006, 22:31
So there I

05-03-2006, 22:44
So there I was, sitting in the living room, just after Thanksgiving weekend '05, surfing the REI Web site, with the TV on low volume in the background. Then I look up at the tube and see a bunch of hikers. It's this documentary about A.T. thru-hikers called, "Appalachian Impressions." Volume up...the REI Web site can wait. Before the film was over, I was committed (to an asylum would have been appropriate). I haven't thought of much else since. Since then, I've hiked all over Atlanta (found some good spots) and on The Chunky Gal Trail in The Nantahala N.F (they just blaze the blowdowns). I'm going to solo the Georgia portion of the Benton MacKaye Trail very soon. Maybe the Pinhoti or Pisgah in the Fall. If I make it to Maine...great. If not, who gives a crap! It's my hike, on my terms, at my speed and on my schedule. I hope to meet all of you. Reach out and say hey anytime.

05-04-2006, 11:38
Probably 3 yrs ago. I got back into backpacking at the age of 50 due to a bad marriage. I still have one son in college that I am paying for so that comes first.
It seems the bug has bitten me more than ever this yr.
I have done some trail magic the last 2 yrs and that gets me fired up. It helps me when I see folks older than me thru-hiking the AT. That tells me I can do it later on. At this time in my life I figure it will be when I am retired or hit the lottery. Unfortunately I think retirement will come first....sigh

05-10-2006, 00:21
During high school my father had been itching to drag me along for one of his 'expeditions'. Blackmail can be a very powerful method of persuasion, my hiker friends, and so it was that my thru-hiking dream was put into motion. The plan was to jump on some trail for four days and have a father/daughter bonding experience -- when all I wanted to do was stay home and read a good book. On the second day a fast moving woman came up from behind us and we all sat down for lunch. I'm sure you can guess that she was a thru-hiker, yes? She fascinated me. I was caught. It was good that my mind was so wrapped up in the idea of thru-hiking by the next day, it distracted me from my feet which were beginning to turn my socks a nice shade of crimson. Pain consumed me by the end of that third day and an early hitch hike was in order. After my feet healed we soon began to plan more and more hiking excursions. My love for the trail had begun!

05-10-2006, 04:53
I made the AT decision last fall. I knew I wanted to do something big after I spent a week hiking on Isle Royale in Lake Superior a few years back. I'm shooting for 2010. This year is lots of weekends and a few longer trips to "hone my craft." Next year's highlight will be at least a week at Philmont. 2008 and 2009 I plan on spending a lot of time on the Lake Superior Hiking Trail. Then in 2010 I hit the AT with a break somewhere in the middle to be on staff at the Boy Scout National Jamboree in Virginia.

Now all I have to do is tell my boss and my wife.

Last weekend I finally informed the wife....she's cool with it.
Now to inform the boss.

Green Bean
05-10-2006, 10:48
I decided to start backpacking when I was about 11 when my dad was cleaning out the garage and had an old dusty backpack laying out. I asked him if I could ever go backpacking and he said sure. When I was about 13 or 14 I went on my first backpacking trip and loved it. I have been on many more now but the first one is the one that got me hooked and a couple trips later I decided I wanted to thru-hike the AT. ~GB

05-10-2006, 22:12
i got the bug when i was 13 (5 years ago) when i did part of a 50 miler on the at. now i cant stop thinking about when i start on 07

06-06-2006, 23:49
The AT went through my backyard when I was a kid. I can't remember a time when I didn't know that I was going to thruhike as soon as I finished high school. Now its only a few months away!

06-07-2006, 09:19
Isn't the draw to hike the trail just amazing.... It runs in so many of us.

wilderness bob
06-07-2006, 10:00
1983, while stationed at Fort Bragg, NC (82nd Airborne Division). A friend, Mark, said "When we get out of the Army, let's hike the AT". I was hooked however, with a family and a career ahead of me, the dream was put on hold. I retired in April 2004, one year later I started my thru-hike. I lost contact with Mark many years ago, I often wondered if he completed his hike. Thanks for bringing back that memory. A good thread. WB

06-07-2006, 13:52
I started out wanting to hike the PCT in my early teens. Didn't find out about the AT until 1997 during a sour searching period on my life. Since then I haven't been able to get it out of my head or heart. I am AT bound in 2008!

06-07-2006, 21:42
Sorry....this is a long one! I was out on one of my first hunting trips, so I had to be 12. We were hunting, I now know, in game lands near the pinnicle in pa. My Dad had me safety up and said that it was because we were near a trail. I saw the blaze and asked "are we near a girl scout camp?" as the only blazes I'd ever seen were at camp. He explained what the trail was and I was simply dumbfounded! Now, being that a year prior I was diagnosed with a degenerative bone disorder in my ankles, I chalked up the hike to a fanatsy.
Two years later, we had to write a paper in school "5 things I want to do before I die" I wrote 1. Save a Life 2. Play the Academy of Music in Phila. 3.Visit Europe 4. Hike the Appalachain Trail 5. be a mother
Well, after many bad years with my ankles I had the chance to undergo a sugery that would give me my legs back! I thought of what I would do with them and that old paper came back in mind. I had done everything except hike and have kids! So I started planning.....the planning got me through a very difficult recovery. I set a date and went for it! Now, I may not be thru hiking this year....but I'm still a part of it, at that means just as much!

06-09-2006, 16:47
I decided just a week or so ago.Never knew anything about it until afew months ago.Heading north in March, 2007 and am looking forward to meeting some of you.

06-09-2006, 19:25
I knew I'd do the AT someday when I first heard about it. That was in 3rd grade, 37 years ago

06-09-2006, 20:41
While I never finished my thru-hike I think I may have one of the quickest periods of time from deciding to do it and actually leaving...By March of 1977 I had been hiking seriously for about 4 years and had some ok equipment but nothing really upper class (Or what passed for upper class in `77)..My grandmother (Who I rarely saw) passed away that month and near the end of March my grandfather gave all us kids $500 each from her life insurance..At that point I was out of school but not yet really working (Had a 6-7 mile long newspaper route which kept me in hiking shape) so I decided "I`m going to hike the AT!"..Went out and bought some new boots..New Kelty Tioga pack..Sleeping bag..odds and ends and arrived at Springer ready to rock with like $200-$250 cash to spare to buy food etc for the entire trip..Made it as far as I could trying to live on cereal, noodles, rice and water but came up way short and joined the army the following year with the intention of staying in for 4 years and saving a fortune and doing the trail right once I got out...But like John Lennon said...Life is what happens to you while you`re busy making other plans

mister pooh
06-14-2006, 17:10
I first started thinking about the trail when I learned about it riding with my parents on Skyline Drive in the 70's. I really started to get the bug about 4 years ago when I was living in Portugal, so I started lurking on this site :)

My original plan was to hike in 2010 when my soon to be ex-wife was getting out of law school, but plans have changed. Now, I'm getting out of the Navy at the end of this month, getting divorced, moving from Seattle to my home town of Columbia, SC and working full time on planning my thruhike starting next March. I have money in the bank, no kids, no real responsibilities, no debts, and I'm between jobs. Why not hike?

06-15-2006, 09:13
Now all I have to do is tell my boss and my wife.[/quote]

I first started thinking about it about 3 months ago and can't get it out of my head for some reason I am not sure what year I will do it but I am sure I will. hoping for for2009-2010. My largest hurdle will be getting my wife to buy into the idea.

06-16-2006, 01:08
Although I don't intend on attempting a thru until 2008, I thought I would chirp in. I had been tinkering with the idea of doing a long trail for the last couple of years. But, it wasn't until my depolyment to Afghanistan in the fall of 2005 (I return in just a few months!) that I seriously started looking at the AT as the trail that I would make my first thru-hike attempt. I think that what did it for me was the fact that for this year my freedom has been somewhat limited because of the nature of what I am doing here. So, the prospect of being able to hike the AT with all of the freedom and flexibility that hiking entails was quite appealing. So, I have been following a few of the class of 2006 thru-hikers on trail journals and the class of 2007 as they begin their preperations for their attempt with very deep interest. Good luck everyone.

06-18-2006, 13:28
In 1968 or 1969 I was car camping in Big Meadow in Shanadoah with my family. I went to play on this trail which was only abouit 50 yards from where our family tent was set up. Along came three beautiful college girls with the most incredible legs I have ever seen carrying large expedition packs probably 50 to 60 pounds of gear, I guess the lite movement had not yet started. Being inquisitive I asked where they hiked from and where they were going? They sat me down and explained that they began their hike in Georgia and planned to hike all the way to Mount Katadin in Maine on this trail which we were on called the Appalachian Trail. I thought that that was the coolest thing in the world and decided right then that I would someday thru hike the AT. The rest is history and I completed my thru hike in 2005. I wonder if they made it, if so they were one of the first few women who completed a thr hike.

SGT Rock
06-18-2006, 13:31
1997 while hiking a section of the AT. I decided I wanted to see what it would be like to have nothing to think about but where I was going to sleep that night and what the next meal would be. By the time I get to hike it will be about 12 years or so planning it.

06-19-2006, 00:16
1967 is when I first saw the Trail and a Hiker in the SMNP and my dad said LOOK there goes a bum .....lol (I was 8) .Then about 35 yrs later (2002) I saw the PBS Special on the 'CRAZY ONE' (3rd hike) while I was recouperating from a botched shoulder surgery and feelin sorry for myself and thought 'by God my legs are still good ......'
6 months later I had the ole external frame backpack (from the 70s) out of the closet and went to my cousins in Tn. to train ...
Unfortunetly broke my foot the night before he dropped me off at Springer (Oh it will be alright....I just jammed it....NOT!!!) .Only made it to Unicoi Gap that year and I've been pluckin away at it ever since ....1100 more miles to go....
and LOVIN every S:) mile of it ! May attempt another Thru Hike next year or just continue on finishing what I have done already ....
We'll see in the Spring!
Hmmmm.....wonder what Dad would say now ???:-? .....Look there goes another one .....lol


06-19-2006, 07:13
I had heard about the AT since I was a child, it was just the nature of things being in boy scouts and my uncle has done many short trips on it (one where my dad whent and he always tends to mention that trip when the topic of the smokies comes up). Last year I did a few short trips, but not enough to know what the trail was all about. I just recently got home from doing springer to damascus. Before I had never really seen any reason to do it all at one time simply because for a lot of people out there they wear the thru-hiker label as a badge of honor. I had to go out there and figure out if I had any good reason to do it and my reason is fun, not some silly sense of accomplishment. I decided somewhere in the begining of my trip that this is the funnest thing ever and that when I get the time and money, I would do it. It will probably be a good while by the time I get to do the entire thing all at once, but by then I will have probably have seen it all at least a couple of times. Until then I will hike as much as I can with whatever time and money I have.

06-24-2006, 12:08
I loved backpacking when I was a little kid, and loved stories that my dad told about section hikes he and my mother had made on the AT. I knew that I wanted to hike at least some of the trail back then. During my teen years I forgot all about the outdoors and got into a life of drugs. When I finally got clean I began reading constantly and my mother handed me a book called A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson. As much as people around here love a good "Bryson Bashing" I cannot thank him enough. I have been an avid backpacker again since. I have wanted to do a thru since then, I think I was seventeen.

06-24-2006, 14:12
Well, it has been a long thought out process, but I want to try to hike the AT starting next spring. I have posted here some in the past couple of years and always read the posts. I have posted before that I first heard of the idea about a thru hike at Newfound Gap when I saw a hiker feed. I have hiked parts of the Smokies and Roan and Grayson Highlands on multi-day backpacks.
But I will have the opportunity next year when my plant goes into a 12-18 month shutdown to re-tool for a new product. (Sorry I can't mention it yet). But the great thing is I will get paid to hike! I do have financial goals to reach first tho. I have two kids in college and have to sell my house soon and get something smaller. My wife has to be talked into it also, she is not hiking, but I will not attempt it without her support. I will have to do alot of praying about it, because without God's will I cannot even think of such an undertaking. I know it is a mental thing as much as phsyical but I do have to do it now because I have 8 years to go before I retire. I am afraid if I wait till I retire I will not be physically able to even start. I need to get in better shape and get my hiking mileage up before an attempt. I am not trying to have Katadhin as my goal, but go as far as I can each day. Who knows I may get frustrated and bored and get off the trail after only a few miles. I will need all the support from family and friends to even start. I will try to post gear and camping and cooking threads here before I begin. There, I said it and hope everyone understands my feelings and wishes.

06-24-2006, 15:12
Consider resolving to hike the ENTIRE A.T. The power of intention can move mountains, but, since you would upset a lot of people were you to set about moving mountains, consider moving yourself over them instead -- all of them, 1 mountain, 1 step at a time.

If there is any way I can help, please do not hesitate to contact me.

06-24-2006, 21:34
I suppose there I have two answers to that question. My grandfather was the second person to thru-hike the trail; I inherited the hiking genes, and grew up assuming that I would hike the trail someday. I made it "official" in January after a bit of personal turmoil and the realization that I want to do it sooner rather than later so that my grandfather can be involved in my hike.

You're Gene Espy's grandchild?

Thru Hiking is in your blood, if you don't Thru Hike, every one of your future children will. Hey, they may anyway. :)

06-24-2006, 22:42
:( It starts out as a sad story. I got a rescue dog, a purebred Cocker Spaniel, from a couple whose other dogs didn't like him much. He and my female 1/2 Cocker 1/2 Blue Heeler had their moments, but they had resolved their difficulties and personalities and I decided to work until 2008 and hike a flip-flop with a friend, starting at Harpers Ferry (since he'd be released the end of May 2008 when he turned 18).

Just about the time I learned that my friend would not be released until he was 21, my Cocker was run over at 12:15 AM on 09/03/05 by the only other car on the road. He'd never gone onto the highway before, and now I'm pretty sure he chased a deer across the road and was coming back home when he was hit. The truck never tried to avoid him and didn't stop.

Of course, I was heart broken. I loved that dog more than I loved my grandchildren. It took me over six months to be able to talk about Crockett without tearing up. I could tell that Casey the WonderDog missed her "brother" too. Both of us have spent our time of mourning.

When Crockett got killed, I had no reason to continue working and no reason to continue to live here in the North Georgia Mountains. Since I turned 61 a month after he died, I made up my mind that I was NOT working until I was 66 for full retirement and that with my 2 State retirement checks and my RSDI-SSA check, I'd be fine. And I announced my impending retirement at our Annual Development Conference in October a year ago. When people ask me what I'll do when I retire, I respond with "Hike the Appalachian Trail."

I am officially retired on October 1, 2006. I can Thru Hike in 2007. There's no reason to put it off. And with good health, I hope to Thru Hike in 2008 and 2009. My dream is to turn 65 the day I summit Katahdin in 2009.

(Casey the WonderDog is not going with me. She does backpack with me, but after 2 days on the Trail, she plants herself and won't move. She'll stay with my 7 yr old grandson. She helped him learn to walk when he was a baby and Casey was just a puppy.)


06-24-2006, 22:58
I haven't, yet. Still section hiking, though the thought of a thruhike probably came to life while peak bagging in the White Mountains of NH in the '70s and "80s. I noticed that the AT lead to a number of peaks over 4,000', and decided to do all of NH after I'd done the Trail through the White Mts. Vermont was next, parts of Maine (nearly all of it now) followed, and I finished Mass. last year. With a few trail miles in Virginia done back in the '70s, I decided to go to Georgia this spring and start working my way back north. I'll be doing part of NC and Tenn. next year.

08-30-2006, 10:04
I decided to do it yesterday when I first found out about it!

I'd never heard of the AT or thru-hiking until I read about it all at work yesterday. Went home and before I could tel my girlfriend the plan she gave me a book as a present: Bill Brysons "Walk in the Woods"! - a good omen indeed!

Am trying to find out about Visa applications for the US because I am based in the UK and the normal tourist Visa is for 90 days maximum, and you have to prove you are going back to gainful emplyment etc, and I'm not too sure my boss will let me take 4+ months off to go to America. Gulp.

08-30-2006, 10:40
Years ago, I mean I was in the fourth grade I went on a fishing outing with my grandfather to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. That one trip, that weekend I look at as the beginning of a lifelong urge to be within a wilderness or to just be able to wander through it.

Shortly thereafter I read a book called Trap Lines North by Stephen W Meader. This book, a true story in that it followed a real trapping family through its existence in the early and mid thirties in central Ontario, was totally in the wilderness. I was hooked.

More books and more knowledge of the long distance trails followed. I was determined that whatever the situation I would do the AT. In March of 78, a year after graduating HS (after already years of hiking the AT in PA and NJ) I began my thru hike in Georgia and although I was awed at the challenge I submersed myself in it.

08-30-2006, 16:21
I've always loved hiking on the AT ever since my first trip out of Davenport Gap in the Smokies in first grade. My decision to thru hike was made in 2003 when I started high school and found out that the scheduling my school has allows me to graduate a semester early granted I don't fail any class. Last semester of high school and I'm scheduled to start sometime at the end of February.

08-30-2006, 21:13
I Hiked the long trail last summer, and i had a good time,in the begining people were telling me they were using the LT to train for the AT, i kind of giggled thinking how can people really think about a trail like 10 times as long as the long trail, i wasn't exactly having the time of my life. but when i adapted i started to see why people love backpacking so much. when i got to the end i was with a few friends, they all seemed excited to go home to thier comfy beds, air conditioning, and warm showers. i thought about it, and really didnt miss anything, i could have kept going (okay okay, i needed a shower) so here i am... working like a dog and saving everything and waiting... tick... tock.. :D
see you out there!

Gray Blazer
08-30-2006, 21:41
I didn't.....yet.

08-30-2006, 21:46
When a I became friends with a co-worker at an outdoors store in 97 who had recently returned from doing the trail. After work each night, we'd hang out and i'd listen to trail stories; right away i knew i'd be hiking it! spring of 99 i was on the trail and in 02 the hiking bug bit badly again...actually it never left, it's always there!

08-31-2006, 01:28
The first time I heard about the Appalachian Trail was from the February 1987 edition of the National Geographic " Tunnel Through Time ". After I finished reading the article I knew some day
I would thru-hike the trail. 20 years later my dream comes true in 2007. I'm curios to know when you knew that you would thru-hike the AT.

That is- too cool; that is- the same artical that set me off!:banana
Although- I first read the condensed version in Readers Digest (while in the "library"):o
That was- in May of 89 and I was on the trail a few weeks later.
That too- was the first time I'd ever heard of the AT.
Careful- I'm told it's addicting.:eek:
I (we)- plan on getting back out next year for a few months.....minimum.:)

08-31-2006, 07:04
I decided when I was seven years old on my birthday/anual family vacation to Shenandoah National Park. The idea really stuck with me and I've been anticipating my hike ever since. 07 baby, woooo!

09-07-2006, 14:15
In May about six years ago I was basking in the sun on a beach in Charleston, SC. For many year, my daughter and I planned vacations for the Memorial weekend. It begin when she was only 10 years old (she is now 33). My husband leaves that weekend to go on a week long fishing trip to Canada, so we thought it was fitting that we also arranged a little vacation. So there I was on the beach, looking like a baby whale (well maybe only like a porpoise) when I decided that it was time to turn in my couch potato card and start working out. Immediately upon returning home I contacted a personal trainer and set about regaining some muscle mass. After many months of training I began to wonder what I should do with my now stronger body. I first thought of taking long bicycle trips -- until the thought of a bad case of road rash flashed through my mind. Hiking was my next thought -- and since Bill Bryson's book was still fresh in my memory, the seed that became my planned 2007 thru-hike was planted. Three years ago, when I finally had a retirement date in the cross hairs, the decision to hike in 2007 was made.

12-11-2006, 16:05
I first heard about the AT at church in GA where I was stationed, some guys were going to hike a section of it. That was in 05. I just got out of the army and am getting divorced, and my friend Wes mentioned doing it next year. Now that I know there's a lot of people that do this, I'll go whether or not he does. I figure that now's the best time...while I'm between careers and between lives.

Jim Adams
12-11-2006, 16:11
good to hear from you.

12-11-2006, 17:38
Summer of '75 or so, on Franconia Ridge. Someone in our hiking party mentioned that the trail we were on led all the way from Georgia to Maine. That's when the seed was planted. In '89 I my first marriage was kaput, and I decided to follow the dream that next summer.

J Link NJ
01-02-2007, 02:34
ive known about is for as long as i can remember, wasnt untill i started workin at ems and started talkin to previous thru hikers that i realized i needed to do it. decided 3 months ago that im going to do it this year.

Flower lady
01-04-2007, 21:10
I grew up in Monson Maine, noticed early on these wild looking stinky vistors that would walk out of the woods. Good people. they seemed smart enought. but it took me a long time to figure out why anybody would want to walk that far, and go through what ever they went through to end up looking like they did. Pretty ruff looking by the time you get to monson.
In 1983 when my youngest was born I began joking about walking the AT, once in a while I would buy a book on it, day hike some , but with small childnen it was just not possible, now the kids are all grown up and its so time.My husband and I plan to start March 1, 07 Deb, & Shawn