RE-EVALUATING THE GOAL OF THE HIKE

RE-EVALUATING THE GOAL OF THE HIKE

Matt HealeyMonday,8 July 2013

The Snap:

As of the last posting I have now completed 780 miles of the Appalachian Trail (AT). This is from Springer Mountain to Glasgow, Virginia. I have also completed 420 miles between New Jersey and New Hampshire. Combined this is 1200 miles of the 2200 total. The 780 has taken longer than it should have because I have taken a bunch of time off.

The Download:

When I started this trip I thought I would complete the entire trail this year. It was a massive undertaking, but I thought that I would do it. Quickly after starting I realized that I would not re-hike the miles that I had already hiked — the 420 between NJ and NH. I came to this conclusion after realizing that the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) does not differentiate between a thru hiker and a section hiker. So there was no reason to re-hike the miles.

Now the other shoe has dropped. I am thinking that I will shorten the hike. This will change the hike from a thru hike to a LASH (Long Ass Section Hike). I am thinking that the goal will be to get to Harper’s Ferry in West Virginia by the end of this season. Harper’s Ferry is the psychological halfway point. It is at mile marker 1016. If I complete this section then I will have close to 1500 miles of the trail done. I then have Harper’s Ferry to Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania to New Jersey, southern New Hampshire and Maine. Since all of these are Northern sections and I will be living in Boston, these are easier to complete in sections.

There are several reasons for the change. The first is employment. I have been starting the interview process with a few market research firms. Up to this point I have been under a non-compete agreement with IDC, my former employer. That agreement expired at the end of June so I am now eligible to get another market research job. The second reason is my feet. They have been behaving better since I got new boots, but they still hurt more than they should. I have a feeling that the repetitive stress of 780 miles carrying 30 lbs is getting to them. Right now they tend to hurt after 15+ miles. The final reason is that we have purchased a house in Boston that is still under construction. It turns out that there are a lot of decisions that have to be made when building a house.

Despite changing the goal, I do not consider this a failure. There are some who would argue that since I did not achieve the original goal it would be a failure. I disagree. I am going to finish the trail, but it will happen in sections rather than all at once.

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Image Credit: Matt Healey



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