I believe having one big, or even not so big, reason to get on the Appalachian Trail will magically bring you closer to whatever it is you’re looking for out there. And that reason will also help you to keep going when the trail gets tough.
And trust me, it will get tough.
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The reason will be different for everyone, and certainly not all of these will apply to you! But hopefully one will spark that wanderlust in you and give you the motivation you need to get hiking.
14 Reasons To Get Out and Hike The Appalachian Trail
- To accomplish things you never thought you could.
- To test and find your limits, both physically and mentally.
- To recharge, if you haven’t been feeling quite like ‘you’ lately.
- To start over after a job loss or divorce or the end of something big.
- To kickoff retirement.
- To meet other people as crazy as you 😉
- To get in the best physical condition you might ever be in.
- To eat as much as you want, of whatever you want, and not give it one seconds thought.
- To sleep in new and interesting places every night for 6 months (give or take.)
- To travel by foot through some amazing and unique tiny American towns.
- To see the natural world changing around day by day.
- For grand adventure.
- Because you want to.
- Because you’ll regret it if you don’t.
If you’re planning a long distance hike on the Appalachian Trail, heck, or even a week long hike on the AT, everyone you know will have an opinion about it. Unfortunately, most of those opinions and nagging voices may be mostly negative – You’re crazy. You’re going to get hurt. You’re going to get kidnapped, or worse. You’re going to be attacked by a bear. You’re going to freeze to death. You’re going to get lost.
The list goes on and on.
You may not be able to shut them up, but you definitely can shut them out. Just stay focused on your why. Why do you want to hike the Appalachian Trail?
When people give you a hard time about it, come back to your why. When things on the trail get really hard, come back to it. When you feel like quitting and going home early, think, is it really worth to give up on your reason for being out there in the first place? Or maybe you truly have already accomplished whatever it is you were hoping to, and you are ready to move on to the next adventure. But just promise me you’ll think about it first before giving up.
If you’re still getting ready for your hike, but feeling nervous and jittery – go out and prove to yourself that you got this.
Go out on training day hikes – challenge yourself to longer distances, a heavier pack or more elevation gain than you’ve done before to prep for your AT hike.
Go on shakedown hikes – gather all your gear and go on a short, easy overnight hike, or even to a campground, to test out all your gear and skills. Does everything work? Do you have all the pieces? Do you have too much stuff? Do you feel comfortable setting up your shelter? Starting your stove? Hanging a bear bag? Reading a map? Sleeping and pooping in the woods?
Consider taking a wilderness first aid or wilderness first responder course, so that you really are prepared to keep yourself safe out there.
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best, and get ready for a grand adventure.
Check out these inspirational hiking posts to help get you onto the trail:
- How To Plan Your First Ever Backpacking Trip
- How To Identify Your Comfort, Growth, and Panic Zones
- What I Wish I Knew Before Hiking The AT Alone
- 3 Tips To Help You Have More Adventures
Share in the comments why you want to or why you have hiked the Appalachian Trail!