Not all those who wander are lost

14 states, 2,180 miles, 5,000,000+ steps

Month: June, 2013

Meet the Hikers: Jared

Jared and Birds

It’s awfully hard to get people to agree to do outlandish things – almost by definition, I suppose.  And that’s too bad, because I’ve been wanting to do something outlandish for a good while now, and it’s not nearly as much fun when you’re going it alone (as I’ve found out the hard way a time or two).  This is at least partly why, when an old multi-year roommate and friend of mine called me up and asked me to hike a couple thousand miles through the wilderness with him, I had to hesitate a bit…

I’m working on a social studies education degree at the moment, and at the time of this phone call, I was scheduled to do my student teaching this fall.  So, of course, doing a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail starting in early July seemed to be completely out of the question.  But when I spoke to my academic advisor and found that delaying my student teaching by one semester would be entirely doable, I found myself without an excuse.  And once we recruited a third adventurer, I felt I had no choice in the matter.  Could I ever again hope to find two good friends who were willing to take five months out of their schedules to go on an adventure of this caliber!?

Then again, I’ve never even gone camping before, and I can hardly keep my composure when a moth flies by.  Nonetheless, there’s no turning back now – it’s full steam ahead!  Armed with musical instruments, bibles, and hopefully some food and water, I think we’ll have our work cut out for us.  So be it!

 

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Meet the Hikers: Alex

DSCF0858

Every crazy idea has a mastermind. I really didn’t think that Jared and Andrew would agree to hiking the whole Appalachian trail when I called them in the middle of the night 4 months ago. But after 50 trips to REI, 100+  miles on a local trail, countless hours reading hiking forums, and a well-placed fortune cookie, we are tying together the loose ends as we finish getting ready to start our 2,180 mile trek through 14 states on the Appalachian Trail.

When I tell people that I am leaving soon to do a thru-hike of the Appalachian trail (AT), it is almost always followed by the question, “why?” There isn’t just one answer to this question. The first answer is, for the adventure. It’s a simple enough reason, but it has been driving humans to do crazy things since the beginning of history. The second reason is self discovery. My life has taken many unexpected turns during the course of this year, and I felt the need to take this time to reevaluate the direction that my life was going in. Lastly, because it sounds fun. Spending time in the woods with two of your best friends while growing beards and living on the bare essentials…can’t say it gets much better than that.

As a line cook/ chef, I think that the hardest part of hiking the AT would be the lack of food. You can only eat what you can pack, and there are certain foods that are easily packed and others that you can kiss goodbye for the duration of the hike. It’s going to be hard to not have fresh greens, roasted mushrooms, bulgogi, ratatouille, french onion soup and roasted chicken. I’m getting sad just thinking about their absence from my life. It will, however, be interesting to see what crazy trail food I can create using only our camp stove and what’s in our packs.

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per·e·gri·nate

/ˈperigrəˌnāt/ • verb • to journey or travel from place to place, especially on foot

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