Those of you who know me as a Teardrop-towing road warrior may be surprised to hear that driving isn’t my favorite mode of transportation. I much prefer to see the world on foot. After a summer on the road from New Mexico to Alaska, I’m ready for a new phase: the Appalachian Trail!
This fall, I’ll be in rural Virginia, mere steps from the Appalachian Trail. I walk out my back door, bushwhack through the woods for about half a mile and emerge on one of the world’s most celebrated foot paths! Right now I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.
Thus far, have hiked bits of the AT in every state that it passes through: ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, NY, NJ, PA, MD, WV, VA, NC, TN, and GA. Most of my AT miles have been spent in Virginia. In fact, my very first backpacking trip was in Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park.
This fall won’t be about ticking off sections of the AT in any kind of methodical way. It’s just going to be about seeing as much of the world as possible. I can’t wait to get to know these woods, to watch the seasons change, to photograph the same bends of the trail in late summer, fall and winter. I will probably hike certain sections of the AT repeatedly; I’ve already scouted a couple of regular morning loops near my house – a 7-miler and a 5-miler – that I will probably hike a few times a week, with longer overnight and multi-night treks further afield on the weekends.
Last weekend, over a tableful of Appalachian Trail maps, I got a friend of mine, a former AT-hiker turned stressed out urbanite, to pledge to hike 100 miles before his 30th birthday in January. My goal is to raise the bar and hike 500 miles by New Year’s. Anybody want to join us? Set your own mileage, something challenging but attainable, say 5 to 10 miles a week. I usually average 25 miles a week, or 100 a month. If you outhike me, I’ll send you a print! Happy trails!