The other day I read an interesting article about a man who took 28 years to complete a section hike of the AT, and it encouraged me greatly. I’ve set a goal of completing my section hike in 10-12 years and I thought, given how many thru-hiking memoirs I’ve read, my target was a less-than-ambitious slog. Turns out it’s not.
The thing I keep forgetting is the concept of “Hike your own hike!” or HYOH. That applies to all aspects of getting it done, including elapsed time. And given that the raging currents and swirling eddies of life often lay to waste the most honest and ambitious of plans, I can see how a section hike could go from my modest 10-12 year plan to a twenty-eight-year odyssey.
My goal is to tackle a 100-ish mile chunk once a year, then do another hundred or so over the course of a few long weekends. I’m hoping to save all of Virginia for weekend hikes, and travel once a year to knock out a century-mile section.
That’s the plan. However, I’m sure the 28-year guy had a plan that ended up not dovetailing at all with reality. But he stayed focused and diligent, and I’m sure he’s proudly claiming his “2,000-Miler” status from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy:
When I get there, whether it takes my expected 10-12 years or his 28, I’ll happily claim mine too…