For the past ten or so years, I've been dreaming of starting my own business. I'd come up with crazy business ideas and share them with my family and friends, which usually got a few laughs, although some of them seemed plausible. But I'd do some research and inevitably end up feeling defeated. I could always find some reason why it wouldn't work. I went into teaching high school science and found it to be fulfilling and enjoyable, for the most part, but also incredibly stressful at times. And each year, usually in the winter, when the school days seemed to drag on, I would start daydreaming again and making plans for that business I would start "some day."
Then in the fall of 2021, my life underwent some drastic changes, and I came up with the craziest idea of all- I was going to hike the entire Appalachian Trail! Georgia to Maine, over 2,000 miles of backpacking through the Appalachian Mountains. I had known of the trail for years, and it was another one of those things that I might do "some day," just like all of my business ideas. But who really gets to take six months off work to go hiking? My dad always said "when you've got the time, you won't have the money. And when you've got the money, you won't have the time." He wasn't talking about hiking, but it seemed to fit. I thought I would have to save up for years and wouldn't be able to take that kind of time for myself until I was retired. But as my life was turned upside down, it just seemed that all of the pieces were falling into place. I was able to save enough money, take time off from work, and put my entire life on hold to attempt a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
And so I did.
I set off for Georgia and began hiking on March 15, 2022. It took me just about six months to finish, and I summitted Mount Katahdin in Maine on September 12, 2022. I hiked through 14 states and over 2,000 miles, carrying all of my gear, food, and water on my back. I can't even begin to get into the details of my experience on the Appalachian Trail- I'll save it for another blog post. If you want to see a recap, you can check out my Instagram @travel_by_trail. All I can say is that it completely changed my life.
I met someone pretty early on in the hike, and he asked me why I decided to hike the A.T. I said, "I want to try something that seems impossible." And it did seem impossible, until I actually did it. One step at a time, one mile at a time, one day at a time, until I made it. Much like starting this business, Wildwood Hiking Company. It seemed impossible for me to take such a huge step, venture out on my own, and try something completely new. But here we are! One step at a time.
I hope that you'll find some inspiration on my website and through my experiences in hiking and backpacking. Maybe you'll decide to come out and experience the beauty and wonder of the Appalachian Trail for yourself.
Let's go hiking!