My Hopes for the AT


As the weeks go by, my planned start date gets closer and closer. I’ve gone over my gear countless times, boxed up about 14 boxes of food to send to myself in places without a decent grocery store, and read every article I can find about the AT twice. I have one more week of work and then two weeks to make all my final preparations and spend time with family/friends before I’m off on my six month hiatus from the real world.

The past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about what I hope to gain from the trail and the person I want to be once it’s all said and done. It’s undeniable that a journey of this caliber is a sort of catalyst for self transformation. I can’t imagine anyone has reached Mt. Katahdin unchanged from the person they were standing on top of Springer Mountain.

One of my top goals for this trip is to learn how to live a more simplistic lifestyle. In the future I hope to join the growing tiny house revolution and live an off grid lifestyle. What better way to prepare myself for this than to live in the woods for half a year existing for the sole purpose of walking.. I mean it really can’t get much simpler than that!

I also want to learn how to live day to day focused on nothing but the present moment. I believe this will be vital for the trail. Instead of worrying about how many miles I have left to go I want to be able to truly enjoy every step of my hike and immerse myself in the beauty of the landscape around me. This will be a once in a lifetime experience and I want to take it in for all it’s worth.

While I am looking forward to all the interesting people I’ll meet on the trail, I also can’t wait for the periods of solitude I’m sure to encounter. Living in an urban town, I find that daily life is much to noisy for my taste, to the point that I can’t even hear myself think half the time. The trail is sure to be a much calmer environment in which I will really be able to reflect on life and find comfort in the stillness of the forest.

There are so many hopes that I have for my thru hike, but if I had to sum them all up in one phrase it would be this: I hope to start a new chapter of my life on the Appalachian Trail. For so long I’ve been unhappy with myself and the way I’m living. I really hope to bring it back to my roots during this trip and figure out who it is that I really am. As long as I can do that, my hike will be a success no matter how far I make it.

Until next time,


4 thoughts on “My Hopes for the AT

  1. Nathan H

    PJ, as someone who’s done a few hikes myself, I’m thrilled to follow your progress on this daunting and epic undertaking! You’ve always been a great guy to know, and I can’t imagine the journey will be anything less than the sort of extraordinary adventure I think we all crave deep down. So, I wish you best of luck, and I’m excited to see things get underway. Happy trails, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda Boucher

    PJ, I’m already loving every second of this blog! I can’t wait to read all about your journey. This is a once in a lifetime experience & I hope you find exactly what you’re looking for on this trip. Love you& be safe!


  3. DripDry

    PJ- somewhere in NC someone had left trail magic with a note that said “remember you GET to climb the next hill, you don’t HAVE to climb the next hill.” I tried to remember that on every climb after that point. I think it was the best piece of advice I received in 1,000 miles, so I will pass it along. Best of luck! HYOH

    Liked by 1 person

  4. joi ann beck

    I feel and share your sentiments deeply…as a now 56 year old woman, I continue to strive for the same things. Although it is a never ending journey here on earth, it gives me comfort and pride to know our youth is choosing this type of lifestyle and mindset and is really appreciating the truly best things life as to offer. Congrats!


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