The Appalachian Trail Institute

Warren and me – AT 08

This past weekend I traveled to Mountain City, Tennessee to help Warren Doyle with his Appalachian Trail Institute. Warren Doyle is an Appalachian Trail legend. This upcoming year he will finish his 16th thru-hike of the AT; that’s basically 35,000 miles of Appalachian mountain walking. To put it into perspective, the circumference of the earth is measured at 24,900 miles; it is as if Warren has taken a healthy jaunt around the equator and then some.

ALL this to say Warren knows his stuff; he is a living guidebook on the Appalachian Trail. However, despite all his miles Warren does not like to take much time talking about the gear and logistics of the trail, instead he prefers to help prepare people mentally and emotionally for the 2,175-mile journey. And that is what the ATI, or Appalachian Trail Institute, is all about; it is a four-day intensive workshop that helps people train their hearts and mind for the challenges of the trail, and here and there with much less frequency he make some suggestions on physical preparations.

Warren gearing up to go

At this winter’s ATI there were 15 workshop [Read More]

The Appalachian Trail Effect

Appalachian Trail Sign

As a 21-year old I thought I knew it all and could do it all, that is, until I tried to hike from Georgia to Maine. Take it from me, if you ever want to reveal your ineptitude and ignorance then consider hiking the 2,175 mile Appalachian Trail.

I had very little experience when I started the trail, my longest backpacking trip had been an overnight, but that didn’t deter me. I had grown up in Hendersonville, North Carolina a few hours away from the AT and I knew that after college, I was headed straight to Georgia. For me the trail meant putting off a job, having a great adventure, and making new friends.

What I hadn’t counted on was how hard it would be. I didn’t expect my body to hurt every morning and my shoulders to scream under the weight of a pack. I hadn’t calculated that the mountains would be quite so high or that the early spring weather would be quite so cold.

Mountain Laurel with Snow Dusting

But I could handle the physical challenges. I could handle being struck by lightning and hiking through two feet of [Read More]