There are truly are way more reasons not to hike the Appalachian Trail, or any long trail, than there are to hike!
So, why do people end up hiking the Appalachian Trail?
The reason may be a little different for everyone. The beauty is, you literally only need one good reason to outshine all the excuses we tell ourselves that ultimately keep us stuck in the same old, same old, just wishing about hiking the AT one day.
Don’t let these things keep you off the trail
Lightning (if I had to pick one, this is my biggest fear)
You’re scared people you know will think you’re crazy
Ticks (Lyme disease!)
You think you’re too old
You don’t even know how to hang a bear bag or set up a tent, yet 😉
You think you hike too slow
You’re scared to go backpacking alone
While there definitely are some risks out there on the trail, there are literally risks everywhere around you in your non-trail life too!
But does that stop you from going out your front door everyday?
If not, then the risks of trail shouldn’t stop you from hiking either. Do your research ahead of time so you’re prepared for the hazards of trail life and then practice good judgment and risk management while you’re out there.
You’re definitely not too old, too slow, too unfit, or too crazy to hike the AT. That being said, you may have to adjust your hike to fit your needs. That’s why we say, hike your own hike.
For example, if you think you’ll hike ‘too slow’ then maybe do section hikes or a flip flop so you avoid the worst of the weather.
Lastly, attempting to hike the Appalachian Trail is a beast of an endeavor and it is very possible that none of your friends or family will be jumping at the opportunity to do it with you – so you may end up hiking solo.
Embrace it. I loved, loved, loved setting off to solo hike on the AT in 2013. I didn’t have to ask for anyone else’s permission or opinion on anything, I could hike for as long or as short as I wanted to without having to worry about someone else’s pace. I could set up camp wherever I wanted to, without checking in with somebody else. It was magical.
I’ve gotten married since then though, and as much as I love hiking with my husband, it’s just not the same 😉
Feel free to share what’s been holding you back from your next great adventure in the comments below!
For more hiking and backpacking tips to get you out on the Appalachian Trail, check out:
- How much does it cost to hike the Appalachian Trail?
- Is it safe to hike the Appalachian Trail alone?
- Gear I wish I had on the Appalachian Trail
- How to put a positive spin back on Hike Your Own Hike