Monday, May 6, 2013

Appalachian Trail Adventures

The Continuing Journey of 'Triple M...mmm...'

Hello to all my friends and family, and welcome to my blog. This blog includes trail journals, information, and accounts of my yearly hikes on the Appalachian Trail, as well as multiple day hikes on other trails. I hope that this blog might inform and inspire others who are interested in hiking and backpacking. 
     Ever since my formative years in Roanoke, VA., I have had the dream to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. Part of this came from my experiences on monthly trail hikes with the boy scouts in Roanoke. The responsibilities of work and family have made it difficult to devote the time and/or resources to begin such an adventure, and it was improbable that I would ever be able to consider a complete thru-hike at one time. I gradually became aware that the window of opportunity for living out this dream was getting smaller, and if I was ever to do it, I needed to make the decision. I have now reached a point in my life, personally and professionally, where I can devote time, energy, and resources to achieving some of the things in my 'bucket list'.
     One passion and interest I have developed is exercise and physical fitness, specifically through the sport of running, and working out. Through this, I have also learned to enjoy the process of testing physical and mental limitations. My profession as a musician requires a similar level of discipline and commitment, but athletic training has taught me to enjoy the challenge and accomplishment of setting many different kinds of visible goals, and then working to achieve them over time.
     With that in mind, in the summer of 2010 I began doing annual section hikes on the AT, with the goal of eventually completing the entire 2180 mile length of the trail. I started out at the approach trail to Springer Mountain, Georgia - the southern terminus of the AT, and have continued yearly hikes since then. I also have expanded these adventures to include trails other than the AT. There are many great trails to explore, some of which may not be as well known. I welcome any other trail suggestions from readers. I want to keep the focus on multiple day hikes, so that much of the information and gear can work in any location. 
     I appreciate the support of my family: my wife, Ginny, my daughter, Josie, and all the friends who have encouraged and inspired me to make this dream a reality. This has been one of the exciting blessings and aspects of my life so far.
     Prior to beginning the Appalachian Trail in 2010, I spent much of the preceding year doing research and gathering resources and material for my hike. One of the most inspiring books I read on the subject was, Walking the Appalachian Trail, by Larry Luxenberg, which contains many stories of famous thru-hikers. I also read some great 'how to' books including, How to Hike the A.T. (The Nitty-Gritty Details of a Long-Distance Trek), by Michelle Ray. I will say that it is important to plan carefully before beginning an extended hike, and have a proposed itinerary, but don't feel that you need to keep religiously to a plan. The important thing is to enjoy the journey, and if you are a section hiker as I am, my advice is to have fun and take your time. The trail will still be there when you return.
     I have included an equipment inventory list, along with a page of useful links. Both of these pages are evolving as I continue to learn and adapt each year.  I hope this information is helpful to anyone who shares the dream of hiking the AT, and/or is considering extended hike(s) of any kind. Thanks for reading my blog, and I do appreciate any thoughts, suggestions, and/or comments you may have.

Peace and Blessings to You and Yours,

'Triple M...mmm...'