(GCC: Ever since I read Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods, it has been a dream of mine to hike the Appalachian Trail. It’s also a popular idea for those early stages of Early Retirement, when the psychological transition from earning to spending is underway. Fresh air, physical exertion, and low prices are a great cure all. Plus an accomplishment as great as this one can bring a whole new perspective to life. Just ask Joe, today’s guest post author. )
Me (after returning from a three day hike in the Smokies): Hey, uhh…Katie?
Me: I wanna hike the Appalachian Trail. Like the whole thing. All at once.
Katie: You do? When?
Me: This March (we were planning on getting married in March…)
Me: Ya! So I met this guy…
I was out for a weekender with a few friends on spring break when I met my first thru hiker. He had a beard down to his chest, he was wearing a raggedy fedora and he smelled like wet socks left in a car on a summer day in FL. I wanted to be just like him. Marcus, or “Little Engine” was his name; A “SOBO” southbounder that had just completed his thru hike and was extending his trip.
At first I was scared of this man and didn’t want to go anywhere near him. I observed from a safe distance and quickly realized he was decent, educated, and had a lot of experience and knowledge. Before I met him I never believed people ACTUALLY took 6 months out of their lives to hike through 14 states. Almost exactly a year later I’d be one of those locos attempting to walk 2,200 miles with a 20 lb pack from GA