Preparing to Hike a Section of the Appalachian Trail

Since I was a teenager I have wanted to hike the Appalachian Trail.  As I got older and the chances to do so became more remote, the desire grew stronger.  Now that my age begins with a “5” I have the added incentive of wanting to get away from it all.  As a general rule, I like “it all” but the thought of pretty much dropping out of society for six months and making slow steady progress from Georgia to Maine is something I find epic and challenging and appealing on a primal level.

Alas, I cannot see the day when I will have the time, money, and alignment of the planets to become a “through-hiker”.  I can, however, do it section by section and that journey begins in 3 weeks!

At Thanksgiving I heard that someone I knew was planning to hike a large portion of the AT and offered my company for a portion in Virginia.  (more on my hiking partner later.)

For a while now we have been emailing and planning and on May 31 we begin in the middle of Shenandoah National Park, on our way to Harper’s Ferry, WV.  My partner will continue on for 3 more weeks but Harper’s Ferry is the end of the trip for me.  It will be approximately 100 miles and take about 5 days.

This primitive wilderness journey comes a year after I blogged for two decadent weeks from Hawaii dining poolside on sashimi tuna so fresh it made me weep.  Now, a year later I will be living on ramen noodles and trail mix and washing with baby wipes.  I’m nothing if not versatile!

In the coming weeks I will be blogging about the preparation, planning, practice hikes and general psyching up required to leave a world of ergonomic office chairs for a week of mountainous hiking with all my possessions on my back, alone with my thoughts, and electronically disconnected (yes, I do see the irony that in the picture above I am listening to my iPhone).

I will cover the gear, food selection, the route, the camping portion, and my trail name (on the AT you go by a trail name and I have been stressing over this!)  Upon my return I will share the results.

I may hate it, or I may return committed to do the other 2,000 miles!  I have, however, already learned a few things.  I learned that the bucket list does not come to you.  I was fortunate to find someone who wanted to do this with me and it comes at a good time but I’m beginning to realize if you want to do something, you simply have to go do it.

Ten years ago I left the corporate world and started my own catering company.  Though it was not a financial success, it succeeded in many other ways.  Last year I got on a train in Washington, DC and rode it all the way to San Francisco.  It’s not for everyone but I loved it!

This trip could be a total disaster but at least I’ll be able to look back and say I went for it.  I choose to see as a good omen the fact that my initials are AT!

Happy trails!



  1. makais Reply

    Reblogged this on Makais Blog and commented:
    “but at least I’ll be able to look back and say I went for it” – I agree! Good luck on the hike!

  2. chiclycute Reply

    I have never gone hiking but quite possibly I’ll learn from you and try it out 🙂

  3. Tony Reply

    Thanks! I hope it leads people to try it!

  4. dustinjw Reply

    Best of luck. Even if you decide not to go back to the trail, you won’t regret hiking those 100 miles.

  5. Reply

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto
    a coworker who has been conducting a little homework on
    this. And he actually ordered me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for
    him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!
    ! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this topic here on your web site.

    • Tony Reply

      So cool to see reach like that in a blog post! Thank you Internet! Hope the breakfast was good and hope your friend enjoys the trail!

  6. Reply

    Hi! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using
    for this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

    • Tony Reply

      Actually I use WordPress and have found it to be fantastic!

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