In his book “Appalachian Trials,” Zach “Badger” Davis stresses that the key to the successful completion of an Appalachian Trail thru-hike is not gear or physical conditioning, but mental preparedness. Additionally, he states that “the greatest determining factor of success is purpose” and encourages anyone attempting this journey to commit to that purpose in writing.
Long distance Appalachian Trail backpackers almost universally agree that the best way to train for a backpacking trip is to do a lot of backpacking. Duh? I’m certain that this is sound advice, but I have two little problems that interfere with my implementation of that strategy.
The Appalachian Trail is a National Scenic Trail that meanders for 2,189 miles (about five million steps) along the Eastern Appalachian Mountains through 14 states from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Sounds pretty legit, but I have a few facts to share that prove that the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) is truly special.
On March 6th, 2017, I will climb to the top of Springer Mountain in Georgia and then I will walk northbound until I reach the summit of Mount Katahdin in Maine, approximately 2,189 miles away. There. I said it. Why must I make this announcement in such a public way? At some point, probably many points, I will be cold, wet, hungry, and exhausted, with blisters on my feet, and I will want to quit and go home. By making my intentions public, I hope that all of my friends and family will hold me accountable for my goal and will make me too embarrassed to not accomplish what I set out to do. Will you have my back on this?