The Appalachian Trail.....a hiking trail stretching approximately 2,200 miles through 14 states begining in Georgia and ending in Maine and I'm going to hike it. I plan to begin on March 8th, 2015 (my 25th birthday) and summit Mt. Katahdin in Maine in mid-September. For those of you who don't want to do the math that is a little over 6 months in the woods. Yes, I am that crazy.
I started entertaining the idea of hiking this trail about a year ago. The few people I told about it thought I was crazy....and by few people, I mean my mom. She loved that I wanted adventure and to go explore the woods but she wasn't crazy about me going by myself. Over the first few months I started to get serious and research and plan. When she saw how passionate I was about it she instantly changed her mind. She was my biggest fan in everything I had done my entire life but this was HUGE and she was so excited to help me get ready. We planned my itinerary, shopped for gear, and above all saved up money.
Now, you may be wondering why someone would need financial help to live in the woods for 6 months and that is a perfectly logical question. The answers are gear, supplies, and in-town stops.
Gear is one of the biggest expenses. Just to give you an idea, my main 4 pieces of gear (my backpack, my tent, my sleeping bag, and my shoes) cost me right around $1,000...just those 4 things. That's not including my cook system, water purifier, food, clothes for 3 seasons, and all the other odds and ends. So gear is a huge expense in and of itself.
They say the average cost to hike the trail is right around $1,000 a month. For a 6 month hike that is $6,000 (in addition to the price of gear) for food and supplies along the way. There are also times when the trail passes through or near towns so there is the temptation of warm hostel beds, hot showers, and greasey fast food.
Okay, so I started planning and saving about 10 months ago and I only needed about $8,000 for gear and trail expenses. How could I have not saved that amount of money in that amount of time, right?!
Well the answer is I did. I actually had plenty for the trail and then some extra saved to get me on my feet again when my challenge was completed but on October 25, 2014 my life changed. My mother collapsed at work. We soon learned that she had suffered from a brain aneurysm. She passed away 4 days later at the age of 52.
My mother was my everything. Having lost my father when I was 18 months old, my mom and I were closer than any other mother/daughter pair in history. She was my mommy, my best friend, my rock, my other half. It was always us against the world and when she died I lost my world.
After having to pay for hospital bills and funneral expenses on my own, I was back down to well below the amount I needed for the trail. I reluctantly and with extreme sorrow had the realization that this dream of mine would not become a reality. After a month or so of extreme depression caused by the loss of my mom and the end of a dream, I had an epiphany. What the hell was I thinking?! How could I not complete this trail that had not only become my dream but my mom's dream too. The last thing she would want is for me to give up. If anything, I have even more of a purpose for hiking this trail than before.
So I am back on schedule to begin my hike on March 8th at Springer Mountain in GA. This will happen whether I have the money or not. I will not let this dream go becuase my mom would be so disappointed if I did.
My mother's favorite quote:
"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined." -Henry David Thoreau
And that is exactly what I intend to do.
All for my mommy.
- Donna Tucker
- kate labbe
- Ashlee Brown
- Kristin Read
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