If you have no idea why on earth we would decide to do something like this, then please read on.
In March of 2012, after a ski trip to Sugarloaf (which happens to be a part of the Appalachian Trail in Maine), I decided that I wanted to thru-hike the AT (short for Appalachian Trail). I’ve been going at Sugarloaf since I was 5 years old, skiing on the second highest mountain in Maine winter after winter. As I skied down Tote Road and Whiffletree, there were always these looming mountains across the valley. They looked so desolate and wild compared to the civilized and groomed mountain I visited every year with my family.
It wasn’t until 2012 that my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to find out what those mysterious mountains were. Turns out, they’re the Bigelow Range and little did I know that I would be hiking them later that year. In the 60s and 70s, the Bigelows were destined to become the “Aspen of the East” and become one of the premier ski resorts in the country. However, in 1976 opponents to the resort forced a state referendum and Mainers voted for the state to purchase the Bigelow Range and create a 33,000 acre wilderness preserve (source: Summitpost.org). After reading that the Bigelows were a part of the AT, along with Sugarloaf, and Saddleback (another mountain I enjoy skiing at), I couldn’t stop reading about the trail. I was obsessed. I realized pretty quickly that this was an adventure that I wanted to set out to finish and I had a year to make it happen.
About a week later, I called Miles and popped the question. The most important question of our lives: Will you hike the Appalachian Trail with me? To my surprise, he answered yes without hesitation. I thought he would think I was crazy, but it appears that he’s just as crazy as I am. On Easter, I told my parents, bracing for the impact. Not that my parents aren’t supportive of me, but I guess I just thought they would think I was crazy too. Like when I told them I was running a marathon two years ago. Honestly, I think they thought that was crazier than hiking the AT. They were totally into our thru-hike. Well, my mom was already starting to worry, but I don’t think she’ll ever stop worrying while we’re out there (sorry mom!). I would have done the hike anyways, but it’s nice to know that you’re parents are behind you and I don’t think I could ask for more awesome and supportive parents than mine. Hey, they let me go to film school!
And since then, I’ve been reading nonstop about the trail, researching gear, talking to anyone and everyone about it, buying gear, and making arrangements to get to Springer Mountain in Georgia, where we will begin our journey. We’ll be flying to Atlanta on March 13th and starting our thru-hike the following day. Basically we’ll be walking from Springer Mountain to Katahdin. The trail is 2,186 miles long and it will take us between 4-6 months to finish our hike. We’re estimating it will take us closer to 5 or 6 months to reach the summit of Katahdin, so we’re looking at a finish time of August or September. We’ll be carrying everything we need on our backs and sleeping somewhere new every night. We’ll hike through the Smokies, Shenandoah, the Long Trail, the Whites, and the 100 Mile Wilderness. We’ll encounter high wind, thunderstorms, maybe some snow, rain, wild ponies, snakes, maybe bears, maybe not, and a lot of other crazy stuff that I can’t predict.
As much as we can plan for this journey, there lies a mountain of unpredictability. And that’s what makes it all so exciting.