Introduction

Updated: Jun 18

More Than A Hike is a journal written during my time on the Appalachian Trail. Within its pages lay my thoughts, feelings, struggles, and growth. I was 16, and my life was about to change forever...


I don't really remember how it happened. I don't know if it was a phone call, me hearing my sister talk about it and insisting I come along, or if she asked me to be polite while fully expecting our parents to say no. However it happened, and for whatever reason, I made a commitment to join my sister on a trip she was planning for the summer of 2014. In making this commitment I had unknowingly taken the first steps of an experience that would change me forever: Hiking the Appalachian Trail.


I was 16 years old, and like many 16-year-old boys in their sophomore year of high-school, my life was in turmoil for no particular reason. My growing desire for mental and physical independence from my parents, and the fading confusion of the hormone infested years of my early teenage life, often manifested itself in unhealthy ways. Girls, rebellion, sneaking out, work, questioning religion, football, school, and maturity; I was struggling to decipher what it meant to be a man and what it meant to be responsible for myself. At that time, the idea of escaping my home was an intoxicating one. Intoxicating, not because my home was bad (I had an incredibly wonderful and loving childhood), but because something inside me would explode if I didn't.

My sister would soon be graduating from Texas A&M University and her plan was to start out on the Appalachian Trail (AT) in May. Together, we capitalized on my parents' fear of her hiking alone and we were able to convince them to allow me to go along. As most of my peers would begin their summer binge of the latest video games, I would be embarking on a real-life journey to discover America and myself.


More Than a Walk is my journal written during my time spent on the Appalachian Trail. I have often revisited my journal since it was written, re-living memories, experiences, and lessons from that time.


I originally published this journal on my website Timhikes.com in 2021. I chose this date because I was about to leave for another adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail and I felt that it was finally time for me to share my experiences on the AT with those who were interested.


Within these pages you can follow along with my experiences all those years ago as I lived them. The good days, the bad, the happiness and the sadness, my emotions, thoughts, and feelings: the Appalachian Trail from the perspective of a 16-year-old stepping out for the first time into the world.


 

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