When I first decided that I was going to hike the Appalachian Trail I wrote a bunch of these Blah Blah Blogs and to be honest, that’s what they were. Just a bunch of stories about my life that I shared with everyone. Stories that all eventually led to my decision to hike the Appalachian Trail. One of the many things that I have learned so far is that none of them really matter. I don’t have any regrets for making them (even though I kinda did at the time) but out here it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you have done. We all have the same goal. And that’s to reach Katahdin. Well that is for most of us. Most of us are what they call Thru Hiking (not to be confused with Thru Hikers because actual Thru Hikers hate that shit) Some people are section Hiking, flip floppers, or just people out here just Hiking. Either way the saying goes Hike Your Own Hike.
On day 3 I was given the Trail Name The Champ because of the Wrestling belt I carry. I was given that name by a couple called Blue Jay and Dare Devil who ended up becoming close friends of mine. I started the same day as them and we would play the game of leap frog with one another until they passed me up. When I started I grouped together with 3 other guys Chad (Pacemaker), Chewbacca (forgot his real name), and Steve (who we called Data but doesn’t go by that anymore from what I’m told). Along the way I have hiked with so many incredible people. I’ll try to name as many as I can. Cash Money keep forgetting her husbands name but he’s awesome, Crusher, Spongebob, Robin Hood, Gumby, Pizza Steve, Tortuga, Special Brew, Patience, George (a girl whose real name is Haley), Chilly, Shuffle and Cans and their dog Bella, Grinder, OP, OG, Canada, Maniac, Phoenix, Willy Long Shadow. Camel (from Denmark) Ziggy, Pickle (someone from Wilmington NC), Thumper, Shamu, Hillbilly, Wild Violet, Ain’t Dead Yet, 25 Mile, Little Debbie, Salamander, Budsy (who is now called Blaze) Ruckus, Prometheus, Preach, Fed Ex, Catch-Up and his son Rabbit Foot, who could forget Showstopper (a guy that wore a leatard who I love following still today on IG), Matches, Red Bush, my man Skunk and his father, Sassafras, don’t know Lexi Patton’s Trail Name but she’s really gorgeous 😍, Bruiser, Journey Man, Wrong Way (which is planning a yo-yo), Keibler, Zora, Rainer, Bambi, Cowboy, Road Runner, Tube Steak, Tribute, my good friends I met before my trek Lux, and the beautiful Jukebox (Kate from England) and many more that I can’t think of right off the top of my head.
I have had the pleasure of staying at a few awesome Hostels (none of which I had a problem with) along the way and even had the pleasure of staying with Miss Janet more than one occasion. Miss Janet is pretty much the most well known Trail Angel on Trail. Stayed at her place in Erwin, Tennessee when I thought I was going to stay at a pop up hostel. Surprise!!! Ended up really getting to know each other a little and once I got close to Waynesboro, Va I received a call from her and had a place to stay when I got there. Got to know Odie who is in Charge of the Hiker Yearbook. So far I have gotten to know a few of The Who’s Who when it comes to people who do a lot for the Trail. Even got an interview from Jimmy. A guy that has a YouTube channel dedicated to Hiker interviews.
There have been a lot of stressful times on the trail but I would say that the most important thing that I have learned was that “You don’t control the trail, the trail controls you” That was once told to me by Miss Janet and no words could be truer. When I first started the trail it seemed as if I tried to be in control. For that there were a few bad days and I learned the hard way (like a woman you once cared for deleting you from all social media). These things happen though and the most important thing is that you learn these lessons and move on. Also I was hiking with a girl that I had a pretty good connection with and it was pretty obvious that something could happen but one night while drinking it happened with someone else and I started to feel and act like the person I was before would act then I said no bra, and decided to not be that guy. I also learned that I posses way more confidence than I had imagined. All in all there are so many things I have learned with so much left to learn.
When I first started this hike the plan was for Katahdin to be my finish. That’s not the case anymore. Unless anything changes my finish will be The NOC. A place that I had hiked out of to get ready for the long hike. I ended up jumping 182 miles ahead from the NOC after my best friends wedding because where it was it was more convenient to do so. I had also imagined Lux, Jukebox, and myself summiting katahdin together but they both are off the AT now. Another important thing I have learned is things you had imagined doesn’t always the way you imagined it out here.
So far it’s taken me 4 months to get to the halfway point. Although it takes as long as it takes, I don’t have 4 more months to get to katahdin. I have 3. They say mid October or close to the end when they close the Whites (NH to ME). That doesn’t mean I’m doubtful at this point. I’m exactly where I need to be and my faith is stronger than ever and I know I’m gonna get there. I just have to work a hell of a lot harder that I have done so far. All in all it has been a fantastic journey and regret nothing. This has been the best decision I have ever made and I can’t wait to see what awaits the other half of this journey.