2016 Appalachian Trail Thru-hike

My 8th grade year, my parents called me downstairs to watch a movie with them. I reluctantly obeyed and to my surprise, on the television there was a vast expanse of mountains called Appalachia and the movie was Nat Geo's documentary "The Appalachian Trail". After the movie was over I looked to my parents and told them that I was going to hike the Appalachian trail after I graduated high school.

-A Little about me- 

My Name is Cole Swan, I was born in Dallas, Texas and I'm 17 years old. I am a Senior at my local Catholic high school in Charlotte, North Carolina. My love for the outdoors did not start that fateful night I saw the documentary, it was already there at birth. When I was born, my parents went through some rough times financially but they still wanted us to vacation as a family. So we started hiking locally, it was cheap (free) and it gave us a chance to get away and just be with each other.  

My dad had an opportunity to relocate us to Charlotte, NC and this move was one of the first in many very important steps towards shaping my love of the outdoors. I remember the first camping trip we took. It was our first Thanksgiving in Charlotte and was supposed to help us (me and my sister) appreciate and be thankful for what we have and also because we were unable to travel back to see family in Texas and Oklahoma.

We packed up the mini-van with down comforters, sleeping bags and what we thought was enough to help us weather the cold night, but to our surprise it was FREEZING that night. Yes, we were cold but we were all together and it was wonderful. That was the first of many camping trips. Over the years we have been able to downsize and up tier our equipment.

The experience and the knowledge that I have gained over the years due spending time with my family and the outdoors are unparalleled to most things I've done in my life. Being outdoors isn't just something I enjoy spending time in occasionally, it has become my outlet and one of a few places I feel truly at home. 

-What is the Appalachian Trail?- 

More commmonly reffered to as the "AT," it is a trail that runs from Baxter State Park in Maine over 2,200 miles to Springer Mountian in Georgia. It traverses through 14 states along the East Coast through mountains, swamps, and some of the most beautiful and pristine wilderness left in the United States. A typical journey takes anywhere from 3 months (superfast) to the more commonplace 5 months. I am hoping to complete the trail in around 4 to 5 months 

-What's the money for???-

My goal of $2500 will cover my food, mail drops, replacing broken or worn out gear, and any other incidentals or unforeseen travel costs.

-What you get!!!-

By now you are probably asking yourself "What do I get in return for helping this kid reach his goal?” Well no matter how much you donate you will be able to access my youtube channel where I will upload content pertaining to my thru hike, leading up to, describing and reviewing my gear, also progress updates along the trail. I am a very astute photographer and I will be taking lots of pictures along the trail. Full access to  all my pictures will also be available for your personal use. 

-When am I starting?-

I will be starting in Maine at the beginning of July going South bound or SOBO, from Maine to Georgia. This is the least common direction as most thru-hikers go South to North.  A hard start date will be released ASAP.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read this, I hope you find it in the kindness of your heart to donate, a kind word, prayers, non perishable food :) anything helps!!


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Cole Swan 
Charlotte, NC
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