Riddle me this: what does a college graduate who can’t find a job with his writing degree do? Hike the Appalachian Trail and write about it, of course!
As I sat in my parents living room, writing cover letter after cover letter, e-mail after e-mail, and wasting thousands of clicks on pointless job applications because no one was going to hire me anyways, I felt awful. I was still lifeguarding part time for some extra cash, but not being in school, older than all your coworkers, and having the bar as the highlight of your week gets old. Fast.
So I took a trip to the mountains of North Georgia, a place called “Cloudland Canyon” last weekend, and realized I had forgotten how beautiful, peaceful, and powerful the mountains really were. And that’s when it hit me: I want to be in this. And, being the outdoorsy, challenge-loving guy that I am, I decided I would hike the Appalachian Trail.
Now, most people begin the trail in early Spring, and are just finishing up by the time I’m writing this. I, however, cannot continue to sit on my parents couch until March. So, I’m starting now. I have allowed myself no time limit, however, in completing the trail, because I know it will indeed get cold, and I may feel like stopping after my first blizzard and subsequent strandedness at a “shelter” in the middle of nowhere. If I do feel like stopping, I’ve got friends in Asheville and could get a job until Spring and resume hiking then. We’ll see how I feel.
I’m embarking tomorrow, October 8th, 2012. I’m experiencing a very interesting mix of anxiety, excitedness, apprehension, and second-guessing. I’m worried about snakes (although they won’t be out much longer with the cold). I’m worried about bears. I’m worried about accidentally getting shot by a bear hunter (don’t worry, I purchased PLENTY of orange! My pack is actually orange as well!) I’m anticipating the breathtaking vistas, self discovery, and unavoidable challenges ahead of me. I’m wondering if most people go through this in the days before they embark on the trail.
Check back soon, as I’ll try and post an update every three or four days for the duration of my hike. There may be some longer gaps between updates due to longer stretches of trail without towns, towns without wifi, or any other unforeseen obstacles. Other than that, it’s time to get hiking!