Why Hike the AT?
Three years ago I was on my second section hike as a backpacker. While doing the Maryland section of the AT, I stopped asking thru-hikers “why?”
Not because I didn’t care, but because I understood that despite the popular culture myth that hikers have some inner demons they seek to exorcise on the trail, most just really enjoy the outdoors, backpacking, and the challenge of a thru-hike.
I know the fictionalized stories of hiking written by good authors who want to be hikers, such as Bill Bryson and Cheryl Strayed, will always be more popular than those written by hikers, who want to be authors. And it’s these books that give people the impression that within long distance hikers there lies deep and profound reason they are drawn to the trail.
But most of us just really, really like the woods and hiking. But it’s still hard for many understand the allure of trekking 2,192 miles on almost constant up and down terrain. So here are my simple reasons for undertaking a thru-hike:
- No Schedule
Section hikes tend to be on a schedule. Especially if have a car waiting, or a designated pick-up location. I want the freedom to do as I please. No need to be at any one place, by any set time. No need to home for work. I want to take a NERO if I choose, or hike on, either way, no schedule.
- Be In 20-a-Day Shape
By the time the soreness starts to subside on a section hike, it’s usually about the end of the section hike. I want to get my body in top hiking shape and enjoy the miles. Or at least not be in pain.
- Experience Trail Culture
Trail magic, the camaraderie, trail angels, and trail towns, and more. I want to be immersed in the world of the trail as a true lifestyle for months. As Thoreau said, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.” I want to experience the trail at it’s most basic levels, everyday.
- I’m 50 !!!
I turned 50 this month, and what better time to enjoy the adventure of a lifetime?
- The Accomplishment
I want to feel the accomplishment of completing a truly great feat. I can’t say that life’s challenges will become any easier. But the feeling of doing something great is it’s own reward.
- I Love Backpacking
Follow me at: Brother Blood’s 2016 AT Hike