People are always asking me when I decided that I wanted to do a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Until recently I’ve said that I grew up hiking and backpacking and have always wanted to hike the AT. As I approached the final section of the AT in Massachusetts and the start of the AT in Vermont I realized that that wasn’t exactly true… There definitely was a start, a beginning, a place, and a time when the dream of hiking the entire AT was born.
It was right there… The trail I was walking on was the trail that gave birth to that dream. It was the first backpacking trip that I went on with my family when I was 11 years old. We hiked from Massachusetts all the way into Vermont and it was awesome.
One of my strongest memories was of sitting around the campfire and sharing a meal and stories with a couple of thru-hikers. I was entranced by their stories and in awe of the fact that these people had walked all the way from Georgia to sit at a campfire in Vermont with me. It was unimaginably cool that you could spend that much time in the woods and survive!
Walking along the trail in southern Vermont felt like walking through a land of memories. Not only was my first backpacking trip in Vermont, but my first long distance trek was also in Vermont. In 1998 I hiked the long trail from end-to-end with my brothers.
Having my brother and his wife meet me and hike across the Vermont border meant that by the time I finished hiking through Massachusetts I’d gotten the chance to hike with all of my immediate family. It was a great way to go through my home state.
My brother’s feet weren’t quite as used to hiking 20+ mile days, but after a little doctoring he wasn’t any worse for the wear.