Here we go.

After a few iterations, I’ve decided to get this website started again. In less than two weeks, I’ll be leaving Seattle to attempt a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.

 

A year ago, I decided to do this thing. It meant giving up on what I perceived to be a dead-end career in PR and refocusing my energy on what I hope will be a life-changing experience. It meant going back to waiting tables full-time and then some. It meant moving to smaller apartments. It meant saving my ass off and training just as hard.

 

I think I’m ready to go. The 2016 AT is 2,189.1 miles long, stretching from Springer Mountain in Georgia all the way to Mt. Katahdin in Maine. I’m hoping to kick this thing off on Wed, March 9 and finish in mid-August, five months later.

 

Starting next week, everything I own will go into a storage unit. Mail will be forwarded and bills will go on auto-pay. I saved enough to ensure I can attempt a thru-hike without breaking the bank at all. Barring minor purchases, I’m fully geared up, tip to tail.

 

It’s my intention to use this website to chronicle the whole thing. I purchased a Zagg foldable Bluetooth keyboard to turn my iPhone into a makeshift word processor. To power both, I bought a Ravpower 26800mAh external battery – it’ll charge my phone about 10 times before needing a recharge itself. I’m also bringing my Sony NEX-5T digital camera with a standard 16-50 lens and a 55-210 zoom, with extra rechargeable batteries. I’ve tested the whole thing out and should have no problem using the Sony app to upload photos and the WordPress app to update this blog – if I can get a cell signal, that is.

 

It’s my goal to provide daily updates – mileage, diet, elevation and all the other technical stuff that comes with backpacking in the Appalachians. I admit, it’s a major commitment. But it’s been done before, hundreds of times. I’ve followed sites like trailjournals.com for years just to read what it’s like to backpack one of America’s long trails.

 

Hiking the AT is a childhood dream come true – one that is now occupied with some very adult concerns. While I hesitate to set any sort of expectations regarding personal growth or whatever, I do remind myself that the simple act of hiking and camping on mountains is a good thing for the mind, body and soul.

 

Currently, I’m doing well. I’m excited and nervous at the same time – there’s a lot left to do here in Seattle before I leave. I don’t foresee updating this thing daily until I start the hike – I will add a “Gear” section soon.

 

I do want to say thank you to my family and friends for all the encouragement and support I’ve received lately. I’ve been asked some really great questions – mostly about bears. I’ve made a lot of really great friends here in Seattle, both at the 5 Spot and Elliott’s. I’ve fostered some close relationships with some truly amazing people. A year ago, I didn’t expect to be attached to so many when I left.

 

I am looking forward to spending some quality time with my mother and stepfather in Minot, ND before flying to Atlanta to see my father, sister, grandmother and the rest of my family and friends. And then I’m off.

 

It’s just right around the corner. I’ll do my best to update before I start – no promises. Thanks friendos.

Author: Chris Kummer

Hey y'all - Cool Dad here. Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to thru-hike the AT. It remained a nagging thought for nearly a decade - then it got loud enough to warrant my attention. So I quit my unfulfilling job(s) in Seattle and commenced hiking north from Springer in the spring of 2016. And I'm exceedingly thankful I did. The people I met, the things I saw, the gross foods I ate - not a day goes by without fondly remembering life on the trail. If you've already thru-hiked a long trail, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you're thinking about tackling a long-distance hike, do it. Do it now. I'm probably gonna do it again...

2 thoughts on “Here we go.”

  1. Grandson Graham (19) and his buddy Laine set off from George on February 1st. Have run into some rotten weather, some nights 0 degrees (at which point they went off the trail and booked into a motel). Don’t hear much from him. Have texted, but no response. With all this bad weather, it’s a worry. I think you are smart to start later. Best of luck. We wonder if Graham will finish it…has a bad knee (skiing) and shoulder. But he’s always breaking something with his extreme sports. Have a wonderful experience.

    Liz Fillo
    Princeton, New Jersey

    Like

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