Originally posted on The Trek March 14th, 2017
The time keeping me from returning back to the trail is almost out, so I thought I’d share a bit about myself before I start this incredible journey all over again!
My Trail Name:
I go by Stubbs. There’s no fun and exciting story to how I got my trail name (I sort of gave it to myself). While hanging out with the hikers in the first “bubble” I got stuck in, I noticed they all were already acquiring trail names. I was eager to adopt a trail name since a name had yet to adopt me. Saying I was “eager” is exaggerating a little; it had only been three days. I threw around 3 different trail names with my new “tramily” and Stubbs stuck. Why Stubbs? Well, I’m short and in my opinion, my limbs aren’t proportional to my body (I’m a bit gangly). Hobbs was another suggestion since I had an exceptional hiker hobble due to my feet being covered in blisters (bad footwear), but it didn’t take.
My First Attempt at the AT:
In 2016, I hiked from Amicalola Falls State Park, along the Approach Trail to Springer Mountain, and made it all the way to Boiling Springs, PA before I unwillingly sent myself home. I was in pain for the last 600 miles that I had hiked, and went home intending to see my third doctor on the matter and take a 2-week break. I finally got that x-ray I was avoiding and was informed I had a stress fracture in my pelvis near my right leg. I told my hiking partner (my husband “Frisbee”), who I had left on the trail, and he decided to return home too, even though I encouraged him to finish his hike.
Why I Started Blogging:
After I failed my first thru hike attempt and was trapped at home recovering from my injury, I needed an outlet. I missed the trail badly (another understatement; I was morbidly depressed)! Although I was overjoyed for all the hikers I left behind, it was hard for me to see all my “tramily” doing so well on the AT and accomplishing a goal I set for myself, which I would have conquered if I didn’t get so unlucky. I felt like I had a voice and had some insight to offer, so why not?
I wasn’t much of a writer before, but I was feeling inspired! Hiking 15 miles or more a day and then suddenly being forced to stop altogether will make you desperate to fill the void in one way or another. I applied to blog for “The Trek” (“Appalachian Trials” at the time), and that was that!
I’m not out to get “trail famous” by any means; I’m generally the type that hides from the spotlight and only opens up to a select few. However, I’ve really enjoyed writing about my experience, sharing what I’ve learned, and although I’m not opposed to hiking for a living, right now I’m just enjoying passing the time! Writing has helped me cope, but has also been feeding into my strong desire to get back out there.
Why the AT?:
There are so many reasons to hike the AT, but for starters, it’s been a goal of mine for over 10 years, and I wanted to try it to challenge myself; physically and mentally. In the past I was overweight, a heavy drinker, a cigarette smoker, and generally just out of shape. Not to say that if you are any of these things, that you won’t succeed on the trail (on the contrary, I met a lot of smokers, out of shape hikers, and heavy drinkers who summited last year), but I know that with all of these factors against me, on top of my despondent mentality at the time, I wouldn’t have made it far if I tried.
Although I’m still very flawed, I’ve improved my life significantly since then. I heard that the AT is one of the more strenuous out of all the US National Scenic Trails due to the lack of switchbacks. Therefore, I’d rather accomplish it while I’m in decent shape. Other reasons?
- It’s close to home.
- I have a very restless and adventurous soul.
- I currently have no huge ties holding me back – no children (aside from my fur babies), no credit card debt, no mortgage, no materialistic obsessions, and no huge career goals.
- Plus, I just love hiking!
Why Hike the Whole Thing Instead of Just Finishing the Half I Missed?
I’m incredibly stubborn. Once I get my head wrapped around something, I commit. Plus, I really want that “thru hiker” status, and hopefully in the next few years, “triple crown” status too!
What I Seek to Gain:
I gained so much last time I hiked and hope to gain much more the second time around. Last year, I gained a new trust in humanity from the kindness of strangers, a huge network of trail fam (many of whom I know I’ll remain very close with), and a new found strength within myself. I also hope to earn trail cred by transitioning my status from “long distance hiker” to “thru hiker,” tick the AT off my bucket list, and be one step closer to earning my triple crown. I hope to reach my fundraiser goal of $5,000 towards mental health research. I also hope to increase my overall wellness. Being out on the trail really opens your eyes to all the things you had previously wasted time stressing over, and helps you prioritize those things that really matter. The trail is good for the soul and time spent out there is also a great confidence booster! So here’s looking forward to the start of another adventure! I hope you’ll join me, either on the trail or through my blog!