The AT 2011

In 2011, I attempted to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail NOBO starting on April 3. Things were coming along nicely until early July when, about 15 miles north of Duncannon, PA, my right shin acutely started to hurt. I hiked on it for 3 more days, it didn't get any better, and eventually I ended up going home to Virginia for two weeks to rest it and attend a series of inconclusive doctor's appointments. All symptoms were consistent with tibial stress fracture but a bone scan couldn't positively diagnose it. Regardless, my leg felt better with two weeks of rest and I headed back out, but skipped up to rejoin my friends in Falls Village, CT. I later missed the 100 Mile Wilderness and Katahdin, at the northern end of the trail, when I ran out of time before the plane ticket I had booked for mid-September. So there are 380-ish miles missing from the AT for me. Someday I'll knock the rest of them out.

The AT was, except for that fight with the injury, a fantastic time all-around. I've looked back on my (handwritten) journals and realized that almost every day was a good day where fun and memorable things happened, with fun and memorable friends. Hiking is so simple, and it is such a rich experience of human nature and, you know, Nature nature, that for now I find it hard to accept any other expenditure of my own time. I'm lucky to have a girlfriend who understands this and is not only letting me go off to do it again on the PCT, but is actively supporting my escapism by being my food and maildrop coordinator, which is pretty time-consuming and skilled labor.

Like it's done for many other people, the AT got me hopelessly addicted to long-distance hiking. Here are some selected images from that journey. More pictures exist in these two facebook albums.