Thursday, November 17, 2011

So Many Questions

Ever since I decided to hike the AT, I have gotten so many questions so I thought I would take some time to answer some of them.  If you have any question that hasn't been answered, feel free to shoot me a line.

Where does it start and end and how long will it take to hike the entire thing?
The Appalachian Trail begins on top of Springer Mountain in northern Georgia and goes 2200 miles north to Mt. Katahdin in central Maine. It takes 5-7 months, depending on pace, days off, etc.  I am planning on starting March 10, 2012 and hope to finish mid-late August.
Where will you stay?
I am taking a tent and plan on sleeping in it. There are shelters about every 8-9 miles along the trail, but are usually full of hikers and mice so i would rather be protected in a tent, unless its beautiful and I want to cowboy camp (insert Brokeback Mountain jokes here). There are also hostels and cheep hotels every 5-6 days if I want to pay for a bed and hot shower.
Aren't you afraid of bears and snakes?
Not really. I have already had my close encounters with bears and a timber rattler and I think the shock of that is over.  I plan on hiking and camping smart, as to not attract critters.  And they are more afraid of you than you are of them.
Is anyone hiking with you?
NO, I am going alone, though I will not be alone.  Many many people hike the trail each year. Some are hiking sections and others are thru hiking (hiking the entire trail). I will probably be around people 99% of the time. It will be a great opportunity to meet a lot of people and make some new friends.
Is your wife going to hike with you?
Unfortunately, no.  Long distance hiking is not her thing.  She is very supportive of me going and will try to meet up with me at different parts of the trail.
Are you going to take a gun or anything for protection?
No. Most everyone I will encounter are also passionate about the outdoors and are not looking to mug a stinky smelly hiker. I will have a gps tracker in case something does happen I can give a signal for help.
How will you carry 6 months of food?
Luckily, I just have to pack food for 5 days at a time.  I will be able to resupply at towns and gas stations every week so no sense packing any more than I absolutely need to.  If you would like to mail me food like home made chocolate chip cookies or no baked cookies, please do! Wendy will have a list of mail drops where she will send me some packages along the way.
Are you going to be hiking for a charity?
Yes! I am partnering with Active:Water while I hike. They are a great organization providing wells in Zambia Africa.  My friend Daren Wendall actually started the organization while he was hiking the Appalachian Trail.  Check them out at  If you would like to sponsor me while I am hiking, go to All money raised goes to building a well in Africa. My goal is $2 a mile or $4400 which would be enough to build a well.
Are you crazy?
Yes and No.  On the outside, a guy quitting his job and putting his marriage on hold for a 6 month walk in the woods seems pretty stupid.  These are financially unstable times and blah blah know, all the excuses you could insert to keep from doing anything. This wouldn't be happening at all if I didn't honestly believe that God put this on my heart.  It was one of those moments sitting in church when you could just hear it plainly and then the words that almost came out of my mouth could have gotten me kicked out. I knew without a doubt and it scared the crap out of me.  I sat on it for a month before I told Wendy about it. Greatness never happens when you don't act. I am very humbled to be able to do something so much bigger than myself and knowing that my actions can change the lives of hundreds of people that I may never meet. But who knows, maybe one of those people will go on to do something great because of this.  Everyone dreams of doing something so crazy and so great, but hardly anyone ever acts on it.  We get too scared of what others will think or we let the fear of failure take over.  But sometimes, you just have to stand up and go. You know in your heart it's the right thing to do.  So who will you let rule you- fear or the One so much bigger than your fear?


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