Just my opinion. Think it needs more work, but I really enjoy your tone. You are getting there.
It was the summit sign reading in small letters under Katahdin, Baxter Peak, Springer Mountain, Georgia 2189 miles away(, and) that got me pondering how someone hikes that far.
Sure I’D been camping and several friends were Boy Scouts. Thinking of the packs they brought and all that gear it hardly seemed possible, but seeing that sign started the fire burning.
The next obstacle in my path was time and money. Via the power of the internet and some forums I had determined that the cost of the trek was going to be about $1000 a month while on trail and the trek WOULD take between 100 to 180 days.
I HAD started my second contract in Hawaii and was on my second year of my/AN associate's degree in Information Systems Security when I decided that I was going to hike the Appalachian Trail in 2019 as long as my contract didn’t get extended.
Now that I HAD set a year for my thru-hike, next was to start really/SERIOUSLY researching gear. Blog after blog I started seeing/SAW a trend; lighter is better and don’t OVERPACK. What that meant was still a mystery. Taking my cues from others’ gear lists and with no friends to ask for opinions I felt like I was taking POTSHOTS in the dark. There were over 100 different packs to choose from ranging FROM 50 to 75 liters. Sleeping bags were just as varied with options SUCH as down or synthetic. I was over my head and BARELY treading (barely treading) water.
With my gear ordered my next course of action was go find the nearest corner and cry. My wallet hurt badly. I never thought gear would/COULD cost so much, especially with the amount/NUMBER of people who attempt a thru-hike every year. People must use their life savings to attempt such a feat. Next though was what do I eat? Food is almost as subjective as gear. As a vegetarian who is also allergic to peanuts this was going to be interesting. Not only was I trying to hit 5000 calories a day I also had to ensure it was PEANUT-FREE and MEAT-FREE. To Safeway I went to Safeway for some research.???
With around two months left for my contract’s projected end date, I started talking to coworkers about my plan. It started to feel more real. The responses ranged from “Have you lost your damn mind?” to “I have always wanted to do it, but you know money and time.” For a little while I did think I must have???? I mean who wants to be a homeless bum in the woods? I guess I do/DID. Pooping in the woods does have a little bit of a naturist feel to it, and I do go hiking every weekend.
Taking all that in and the timeframe I had available going SOUTHBOUND was the route I was going to take. That in itself added another list of small hurdles. I would start with the hardest 500 miles first and if my gear was wrong I would need to deal??? for just over 100 miles to Monson. (When) MY contract ended in April and most of the north-bounders HAD started between March and April. I couldn’t get all my gear ready for that date SO my fate had been decided. I didn’t really want to hike with 2000 or so other hikers starting at Amicalola Falls, Georgia anyway.
In mid-April I flew home to Maine from Hawaii. Now it was time to start seriously looking at the gear (NOT quite right) I had purchased and CONSIDER what else I would need. AS it TURNED out I pretty much had everything with the exception of fuel and food. I did a few short hikes just to get used to carrying a 30-POUND pack then I settled on a June 1st starting date heading south from Mt. Katahdin with around 300 other perspective thru-hikers.