Through-Hiking the Appalachian Trail

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Last February I aimed you at Kerry “Cyndi Loppers” Stewart’s blog “Cat’s Don’t Camp“.  At that time she was planning to through-hike the Appalachian Trail.  If you have been following our weekly newsletter,  you saw a couple of updates on her hiking progress.  Well,  she successfully hiked the trail from Georgia to Maine (March 19 to October 6) covering 2,189.2 miles!  Truly an outstanding accomplishment.

From Cyndy back to Kerry

West Baldpate Mountain

West Baldpate Mountain as seen from East Baldpate Mountain.
By Jscottcc [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Upon finishing the hike she writes: “I finished my hike without another hiker in sight. I hitched to town, got a room at a B&B, and went straight to the local pub for lobster. A guy at the bar saw me looking at photos on my phone and asked about my hike. The word spread and the entire bar congratulated me. I felt like a rock star.”

She is back home in Texas and readjusting to the “real” world.  It seems that spending several months on the trail and sleeping in a tent bends the psyche in peculiar ways.  She notes, “Over night, I went from the majority of people I was around knowing that I was a thru-hiker to pretty much nobody knowing I was a thru-hiker. Even if I wasn’t on the Trail, people saw my backpack and knew what I was. I’ve shaken strangers’ hands in grocery stores. I’ve gotten a standing ovation at a pub. I’ve been honked at and given enthusiastic thumbs up. I’ve had to respectfully decline wads of cash from strangers in motel lobbies. I never felt like I deserved any of these things but I admit that I simply got used to them happening. I was a thru-hiker… occasionally mistaken for a homeless person… but still a thru-hiker.”

Clearly, the trail defined her for those months.  Many through-hikers go through a period of depression as they rediscover who they are.  As Cyndi Loppers eases back into her old life as Kerry Stewart, a cat lover and much more, her hike will remain a defining period of her life.

You Can Do It Too

Cyndy/Kerry is not alone in taking on these kinds of larger than life adventures.  You can do it too, but NOW is the time to begin preparing for an adventure like this if you want to do it next summer.  The first step is to starting reading Cyndy’s trail diary.  It starts six months before she hit the trail and will give you a great idea of her thought processes and preparations.  Next, you will need to decide upon your adventure.  The Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails are the big two in the U.S., but there are a lot of other options including:

Of particular interest is the “and many more” list of long distance trails in the USA.  It includes trails ranging from 30 to 5,000 miles in length.  There is no reason for you to try to duplicate anyone else’s adventure.  So take your motivation from Kerry and choose one trail or several and create the adventure of your choice.

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