Why Hike the AT?

I downloaded a Kindle version of Appalachian Trials: The Psychological and Emotional Guide to Successfully Thru-Hiking The Appalachian Trail by Zach Davis. He recommended documenting why we choose to hike the trail – and what we would do if we failed. It seemed like a worthy undertaking given that, with certainty, there will be moments when that question will surface after departing Springer Mountain. I know those moments will come because in 1973 I spent a very miserable winter night in the Chattahoochee National Forest during Ranger School asking that very question. That became a miserable night because I had carefully lined my boots with plastic bags to ward off creek water; said bags served only to keep the water in the boots because the creek proved to be higher than the top of the bags. I took Zach’s suggestion to heart and listed the following:

Why do I want to hike the Appalachian Trail?
·         Because I still can.
·         Because the Trail is there for a reason.
·         Because I want to see Maine.
·         To see if my twin brothers will join me.
·         To seek Thoreau’s measure of solitude.
·         To acknowledge the elephant in the room (or, is that to face the bear in the woods).
·         To keep the resting heart rate low by keeping the exercise heat rate high.
·         To continue the Ranger School experience in the National Forest.
·         To locate those laughing children in the forest.
·         To see if there can be a moment worse than my worst night in Ranger School.
·         To hear crickets I can no longer hear at home.
·         To sense the hair standing up on the back of my neck – during thunderstorms.
·         To continue living life one day at a time – my USMA way. Thanks Joan Baez.
·         To meet Scamper in Maine.
What if I don’t finish the hike?
·         That is not an option any more than hoping to finish is a goal.