Matt HealeySunday,11 August 2013

The Snap:

My last post was about the end of my hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT). It has now been a few days and I have had more time to think about the summer. I have also talked to a bunch of people about it and one question I get is “would you ever go back and do it again, but try to finish the entire trail in one season?”

The Download:

No. I would not. There are two main reasons for this. The first is there are other things that I would want to do first. I will finish the AT in section. It may take me a few more years, but I will reach the end. I want to finish on Katadan so the 100 mile wilderness will be last. Once I am done there are other trails to conquer. I want to finish the Long Trail in Vermont (275 miles). I want to climb Aconcagua in South America, McKinley in Alaska (So I can see Russia!), Elbrus in Europe, and Vinson in Antartica. I would like to ride the tour de steroids route in France but without the PEDs. There is a mountain bike trail from Telluride, Colorado, to Moab, Utah, that sounds like fun. All of these things are adventures that would be more fun than doing the AT again.

The other reason is the same one that caused me to stop the hike this year. Hiking is a solitary activity that you do with friends. When you thru hike you do it alone. You have to hike your own hike. And yet it is the social component that makes it fun. The people you meet on the trail add to the overall enjoyment. For me, one of the great parts was that we were all discovering the trail and the highs and lows of thru hiking for the first time together. You could tell the people who had done the trail before. I didn’t find that I could develop as strong a connection with them as I could with the other first timers. It was because they knew too much. They knew the shelters. They knew some of the highs and lows. So talking to them was different. If I did it again I would know too much and that would detract from the connections I would make. And the connections were the best part of the hike for me.

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