One Month Solo on the Appalachian Trail
Ultimately, I stayed on the trail for a total of 50 days (from 3/27/2016 to 5/16/2016), completing a bit over 500 miles, nearly a quarter of the Appalachian Trail, before returning to school. The challenges I faced and the lessons I learned remain an integral part of me. I continue to cherish every moment of the experience and every chance I had to grow.
I encountered people from all walks of life, all bound together by a common pursuit, yet all seeking something different, all 'hiking their own hikes'. The trail highlighted both our triumphs and struggles, but above all, it brought out the indomitability of the human spirit. For me, the trail is, and perhaps always will be, an allegory for life.
Highlights from the rest of my journey:
So did I find what I came for? I found joy, and learned to cherish it; I found pain, and learned to work through it; I found challenge, and learned to overcome it. Kindness and community showed up in the most unexpected of places. The trail changed me; hardened me; taught me lessons that may well shape my future life and career.
I have a feeling I will be back once more, to experience the trail in its entirety and learn all that it has to offer, before embarking on the rest of the adventures that make up life.