One of my activities as I feed my obsession for all things Appalachian Trail is to read trail journals. Either on the www.trailjournals.com site or other blog programs throughout the Interwebs that I stumble upon in my constant search for new content.
This year I have started a list of the interesting prep logs I have found and will follow until they summit Katahdin (or Springer) or get off the trail from the myriad of reasons that cause such an action or maybe their log just fades away as they find better things to do (like walk) besides write all they have seen, ate or smelled as they hike.
It is a therapy for me.
I have decided to profile 10 such perspective Thru Hikers here. I know no one actually reads this blog, but maybe, someday, someone will stumble upon it and spend some time falling down my self-made rabbit hole.
My plan is to post updates of each hiker as they progress through their hike. Maybe talk a little about what they are doing and how it affected me. Also, I love comparing their journey to the small parts I have experienced on the trail and note what each of us did that was the same or different.
Statistically, only a few of these hikers will make it to their End Mountain, but I will wish them all the best of luck and hopefully at least some of them will make it all the way and I will be able to follow them as they make their final assent.
Here are the first 10 I have decided to follow. It is very likely that some of these will not even start their hikes as life grabs them back to "reality" and prevents them from following their dream. I will continue to replace or even add hikers as I find those that are making progress and blogging their accomplishments.
I will list them by expected departure date.
1. Bazinga. Bazinga is a 56 year old man from Southern Ohio. He will be heading out on the 1st of March heading North. He is a recently retired High School science teacher and cattle farmer who has been dreaming of hiking the AT for 20 years.
2. Inchworm. Inchworm is the daughter of a Pennsylvania coal miner who is making her second attempt at hiking the AT. In 2006 she walked as Root, but has decided to take Inchworm for this hike as it describes how she was able to cover distance in relation to her hiking partners, her daughter and her boyfriend. A knee injury ended the hike of this 56 year old hiker while in Tennessee. A couple more mishaps happened as she attempted to return to the trail in PA until she had to call it quits for that year. She too plans on heading out on the 1st of March.
3. Karma. Karma is from Philly and I found quite a few of the other hikers from her blog roll. She is preparing very well and I have a good feeling about her achieving her goal. She plans on starting on the 7th of March and is 52 years old.
4. Infinity. I came across Infinity's TJ a little while back and made a note of keeping track of her. Seeing her listed on Karma's blog roll convinced me to commit. Infinity is from Michigan and this will be her second attempt of a thru hike. Last year she did a number of section hikes, but they just weren't enough. She is 59 years old and is very active. She has gathered a group of women to start the trail with which always is a good way to start. Her planned start date is the 8th of March.
5. 50/50. 50/50 got his trail name by being directionally challenged. It is about a 50% chance he will pick the wrong way to go when setting out. 50/50 is 55 and a retired Air Force veteran. 50/50 lives in Florida and plans on setting out on March 15th.
6. Butter Cup. Butter Cup is 60 years old I think and will head out from Springer on March 16th. From her prep hikes, I'm guessing she hails from somewhere in or near North Georgia.
7. Acorn. Acorn is the youngest of the hikers I will be following at somewhere in her late 20s. She currently lives in Chicago and is a Microbiologist. Her plan is to leave in late March. She will be leaving behind a boyfriend and cat and will be taking a SPOT and harmonica.
8. 2-Dogs. 2-Dogs is a 50 year old man from Memphis, TN. He plans to start on April 1st. His kids are grown, he is no longer married and he owns his own business that he can set aside for a while. Now is the time to make the attempt.
9. Hiking Home. Another April 1st starter is Hiking Home, another 50 year old. She lives in NH, hence her trail name. She has just accomplished an early retirement form her corporate job and the time is now to hike the trail. She was planning on starting in February, but a case of frost nip on her toes has delayed that for a while. Stay tuned....
10. Long Haul. Long Haul successfully completed a thru hike in 2005 and started another in 2009. That hike was ended with a toe infection that cost him his toe. In 2010 he started from Springer again and blew out a knee near Erwin, TN. After surgery and healing he re-started near Shenandoah where an intestinal issue delayed his hike again. He continued on through MD and into PA, but the rocks did him in. This year he plans to start near Kincora and continue from there. Long Haul hails from Columbus, OH and is the oldest of those I will be following at 67 years old. He plans to start April 14th.
Good luck everyone.