Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Blog 2014

To get right to the point, I am a grown ass man (29 years young) and I have decided to hike the Appalachian Trail.  I HOPE to make it all the way from Georgia to Maine..


This is one of those thoughts that runs wild in your head, growing exponentially as time seems to fly by, working a 9-5 just to survive.  I graduated college 6 years ago in 2007, and since then, I have worked a couple different industries, seen my share of layoffs, promotions, meetings that seem endless, and corporate functions just to name a few.  But what I haven’t had, what I feel I have been craving, is adventure.

Wanting to do this since I was little sounds a little cliche, but it’s true.  I grew up close to the Appalachian Trail, in Massachusetts.  My family and I would hike for days at a time, doing mostly the White Mountains.  There is something to be said about the raw beauty of just being in the Mountains.  This is what I have been lacking, living in a big city.  I have been happy, for the most part, but what I have missed most (other than my family) is nature.  Another reason for doing this hike, is I feel I need some personal or spiritual growth.  I reflect on things I have done in the past, or how I have treated people, and realize I have been quite selfish.  This hike will be humbling, I must rely on the kindness of strangers at certain times, and being self sufficient can be difficult.

As far as hiking the trail is concerned, my thoughts are thus; Life is too short not to take adventures like this. You have to take the time, you have to make these types of experiences a priority.  For this to happen, one needs time, resources, and some sort of support system.  Recently I have designed a career change for myself into the world of Physical Therapy.  I am going back to school, but at the moment, on a two year wait list for school to begin. -I have time!  I bought a house a couple years ago, it so happened to be a great time to get into the real estate game.  I have been putting away money for a rainy day, or more specifically, a new roof that the house will need in the future.  -I have resources!  As I explore Facebook, I see my friends’ personal growth in their work and relationships.  Basically, for people my age, it’s baby season.  I have been blessed with the luck of remaining (for the most part) single, and am free of any restraints that having a family of my own would create for me and my future.  This last thought blew my mind.  Sometimes, it can be lonely living in a big city, far from your family and the place you grew up, becoming increasingly more introverted as social experiences become sporadic or as your friends continue to strengthen their own relationships, marriages, and families.  But, if you take that same thought, spinning it around, all of a sudden there is opportunity.  I am not tied down to anyone, anything specific.  I have the resources, the time, the motivation to find a more meaningful life.  And that is where this journey begins.

I have enjoyed reading books (A Walk in the Woods, AWOL on the Appalachian Trail) and blogs (I will post some on this site), that have helped me prepare, and have been quite inspiring.  So I have decided to write a blog.  I will try to update it as I am preparing to take on this trail.  I have decided to drive my dog across country 2/25/2014 where my parents will TRY to tame that wild beast.  Thanks Mom!  I will start at Springer Mountain in Georgia on 3/9/2014.  Image

Over the next 6 months, I plan to journal about my preparedness, both physically and emotionally, as the departure date comes closer.  I also plan on blogging on the trail regularly, hoping to paint a picture of life on the trail.  It will be my pleasure to share this experience, and I hope you join along the way!


About shwayze23jbj
Live for the outdoors

10 Responses to Appalachian Trail Thru-Hike Blog 2014

  1. I really want to do the AT through hike as well. I just need 6 months that I can take off of life. I will follow your blog and see how it goes. Good luck! It will be amazing.


  2. shwayze23 says:

    Thank you! It took the perfect storm, everything lining up in a certain way, for me to be able to afford to take 6 months off. I’m excited/nervous to begin!

  3. shwayze23 says:

    I’ll be giving it the ‘ol college try! Still purchasing some gear, but I will update with total weight.

  4. greenpete58 says:

    I’ll be following your blog and journey (vicariously). I contemplated a thru-hike after graduating from college in ’81, but pared it down to a couple small hikes out west. I wish I’d have done the whole AT. But, I’m doing my first section this weekend (Georgia) so I can at least say I’m an AT hiker! Best of luck to you. (P.S. You may want to read “Walking With the Wild Wind” by Walkin’ Jim Stoltz. He thru-hiked in ’74 and it gave him his career!)

  5. shwayze23 says:

    Thanks for the recommendation greenpete! I will definitely check out that book. Have a blast in Georgia, and good luck!

  6. Jane L says:

    I am looking forward to following your journey. I started my 2013 hike, but had to get off in NH. Planning to finish the hike July 2014. You should be close to NH by then. Good luck!

  7. Donnie Mayes says:

    Good luck with the journey. A friend and myself will attempt the thru hike leaving about the same time if all things come together. Looking forward to your post.

    • shwayze23 says:

      Thanks Jane, that is amazing you made it all the way to NH! I hope you finish next year! And thank you Donnie.. It’s one of those things where all the stars need to align. I hope you can make it, and possibly see you out there!

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