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  1. #1
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    Default Did the Trail transform you as a person?

    Hi guys, been a while since I have posted, but a few of you may remember me. I hiked in 1999 "Superfly SY".

    I am writing a book about how the AT has had a trans formative affect on some of us who have taken this journey. I have been struggling with this for quite some time. In a few weeks time it will have been 20 years since I took the first steps on a path to the unknown, and I could never have guessed where it was going to take. I look back and it seems so improbable it must be someone else this has happened to. I began my hike as a walk away from everything I knew and had, and somewhere along the way, I began walking to something so much better. I remember the moment it happened like it was yesterday. It was at a shelter in the pouring rain and a light went off in my head that changed my entire outlook on life and how to live. Then I met a guy on the trail that would provide a precise direction. That guy was Jack Tarlin. Hiking the trail and meeting Jack transformed my entire life, and what it means to be alive. There are two distinct parts to my life, before and after the trail. Each part is uniquely different and unusually separate. I think our brain chemistry changes on the trail and the connections many of us make, create an intellectual and spiritual change in who we are at our very core that renders us completely incapable of going back to what we were before.

    If you are one of those hikers whose life was radically transformed by your hike, please write to me. I want to hear your story and share it, along with mine with the rest of the world. The working title is Exceptional Human Experiences: Transformations of Self and Life Paths on the Appalachian Trail.

    Please reach out if you are willing to share your stories; or if you know of another hiker with a story of their own please forward my information. Thank you very much for your considerations and please be assured I will treat your stories with the greatest level of respect and care possible.

    Many thanks for reading if you got this far.

    Cheers!
    SY
    603-727-8846
    mjs6@plymouth.edu

  2. #2
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    Default

    email sent

  3. #3
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    I didn't sense any radical transformation in my life, but I have to say the "ripple effect" and flashbacks have been with me many years. Overall a good experience.
    Simple is good.

  4. #4
    Registered User Christoph's Avatar
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    +1 on the flashbacks. I constantly still think about certain events and look through my journal pics and vids. Most likely going to thru again in the future.
    - Trail name: Thumper

  5. #5
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    Default Your transformation....?

    If I might make a suggestion... Maybe you don't want to spoil your book, but maybe posting a bit more about your personal transformation will solicit more stories from others. Best of luck.

    Clusterone

    Quote Originally Posted by superfly-SY View Post
    Hi guys, been a while since I have posted, but a few of you may remember me. I hiked in 1999 "Superfly SY".

    I am writing a book about how the AT has had a trans formative affect on some of us who have taken this journey. I have been struggling with this for quite some time. In a few weeks time it will have been 20 years since I took the first steps on a path to the unknown, and I could never have guessed where it was going to take. I look back and it seems so improbable it must be someone else this has happened to. I began my hike as a walk away from everything I knew and had, and somewhere along the way, I began walking to something so much better. I remember the moment it happened like it was yesterday. It was at a shelter in the pouring rain and a light went off in my head that changed my entire outlook on life and how to live. Then I met a guy on the trail that would provide a precise direction. That guy was Jack Tarlin. Hiking the trail and meeting Jack transformed my entire life, and what it means to be alive. There are two distinct parts to my life, before and after the trail. Each part is uniquely different and unusually separate. I think our brain chemistry changes on the trail and the connections many of us make, create an intellectual and spiritual change in who we are at our very core that renders us completely incapable of going back to what we were before.

    If you are one of those hikers whose life was radically transformed by your hike, please write to me. I want to hear your story and share it, along with mine with the rest of the world. The working title is Exceptional Human Experiences: Transformations of Self and Life Paths on the Appalachian Trail.

    Please reach out if you are willing to share your stories; or if you know of another hiker with a story of their own please forward my information. Thank you very much for your considerations and please be assured I will treat your stories with the greatest level of respect and care possible.

    Many thanks for reading if you got this far.

    Cheers!
    SY
    603-727-8846
    mjs6@plymouth.edu
    Last edited by clusterone; 03-03-2019 at 22:14.

  6. #6
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    Great Idea.

  7. #7

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    While I don't think the trail changed or transformed me much as a person, it did radially alter where I lived and how I made a living. I bet the trail has a bigger impact on peoples lifestyles then personality.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8
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    Here is part of my response to someone who relied to me privately who is planning a AT hike.
    I can tell you, that the trail has magic. Not trail magic as you have most likely heard about. But real magic. My story is long but suffice it to say that I walked away from everything and everyone I knew, in search of a reason to exist. I was leaving a place of such profound sadness and despair, that I could not recall a time that I had been happy. I had many friends, but not a single shred of life fulfillment in my life, just constant stress and self imposed pressure. My transformation was at times very serene and peaceful, and at other times full on rage. Early on I remember laughing hysterically in the pouring rain, I hate rain, and another time all alone on top of a mountain screaming so loud and for so long at the sky that my throat was hoarse for days. An epiphany at a shelter as the rain came in waves one night showed me a different version of life, another moment was on July 3rd, 1999 having a lightning bolt of enlightenment hit me like an explosion so hard I had to sit down against a tree, the sobbing was so uncontrollable. For 45 minutes I couldn't stop, everything I had been holding onto and keeping locked up tight for so long exploded out of me. Somehow not a single hiker came by me on the side of that trail that afternoon. There was nothing left of the old me after that. I was the beginning of a new person.

    Most who hike, are changed in some way, a few of us are transformed into new beings. It was the most painful thing I have ever experienced, and I am so grateful to myself for pushing through the obstacles that I encountered. We all have our demons, and they are fiercely reluctant to let go of us. The anger and rage we feel and express is them fighting to keep us in the dark. They can be defeated.


    I remember a story a man in GA/NC who had a hostel called the Blueberry Patch told us one night at dinner. He had hiked part of the AT with his son, but they had to leave about half way through for some reason I do not recall. One of the hikers asked if he regretted not finishing. He replied that what led him to begin his hike no longer applied, and he felt that if you come to the trail "with a hole in your heart" and at some point on the trail you discover that your heart no longer has hole that needs to be filled, "the magic has been done". His heart no longer had a hole in it.

    We all see the physical transformations, but I believe it is the emotional and spiritual transformations that are long lasting an allow for the greatest changes in us.

    My life path changed on the trail, I gained an awareness of what life should be, and can be. I approached personal interactions differently. I was very introverted and became much more gregarious. I took to investing in myself rather than things. Nurturing relationships, went back to college, changed careers, have a family and am pursuing things I did not believe were a possibility for me prior to hiking. Even being happy was difficult to imagine. All that changed on a footpath in the woods. It is still happening. Look up the quote about providence by William H. Murray. Brilliant.

    I know my story is not unique. I would like to tell others experiences so that we may be able to provide a glimpse into what it's all about.

    Many thanks for reading and sharing.

    SY

  9. #9
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    I have had some incredible stories told to me over the past couple of weeks. I could use four or five more if anyone is willing to share.
    This book will not be a "trail" book, as there are ab abundance of those already out there. The context of the book is evolving as I gain
    input from others, and I see it being more focused on human emotional and spiritual transformation, rather than hiking. ie Hiking is the means of,
    or method of, experience based transformations. Most of these changes in self are unintended, and serendipitous, or providential in nature.
    my university email is mjs6@plymouth.edu I am currently conducting research on an unrelated project for my doctorate in education that I am finishing up next year. Many thanks in advance for your considerations.
    sy

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