This is the intimate account of my Appalachian Trail thru-hike. In the months preceding my thru-hike, I was deeply depressed, struggling with coming of age, substance abuse, and relationships. The trail presented a unique opportunity for discovery, reflection, and introspection during depressing times. I dropped out of school (for the second time), and within weeks I traveled to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. I stood alone at the northern terminus with 2,175 trail miles before me.
Along the way, I trudged through mosquito-infested swamps in Maine, scaled Mt. Washington in zero visibility, and squared off with a 1,000 pound moose on a narrow trail in Massachusetts. I ran out of food, went without water, was nearly killed by lightning, and often wanted to quit. I persevered though all the way to Springer Mountain, Georgia.
Many of the stories here are quite revealing of conflicts buried within me. Some stories reveal glaring character flaws. Some involve substance abuse, denial, and immorality. My ego tells me to edit this manuscript, to rewrite my own history to make me more a hero and less a villain. I certainly feel vulnerable publishing this account, but I’ve resisted the urge to revise it, leaving the good and the bad about me untouched.
The difficulties of the AT occasionally broke my spirit but ultimately built my character. Today I’m thriving, and I owe my current success to the Appalachian Trail, which helped me navigate a dark and tumultuous time in my life.