Welcome!

During my Appalachian thru hike of this last summer I heard from many friends and family about their desire to hear stories and see pictures of my experience. I was excited for the interest but felt somewhat at a loss. My summer was, in a way, 5 months of separating myself from my phone, the internet, and the bustle of daily life that is so attached to those things. I enjoyed my time apart, but felt frustrated at the separation it caused between me and those who wanted to share in my adventure.

Now, I am home, full of good memories and in possession of something I didn’t have during my time in the woods: a computer. Its exciting, I know. And to top it all off, I still remember how to use this famed device!

I am thoroughly excited to share my story, both for my own reflection as well as for the enjoyment of anyone who will listen. So what follows is a glimpse of what I saw, felt, and learned during my summer on the Appalachian trail.

If you are just interested in seeing some photos of my trip here is a link for such a thing:
I hope you enjoy, and as always, thank you to my friends and family who are always so encouraging.

-Sam

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Facts and Other Beginnings

Before I get into the stories I want to share just a few facts.

The Appalachian trail (the A.T.) is a hiking trail running from Springer mountain, GA to Mt Katahdin, ME. The distance changes from time to time, but in 2014 it was roughly 2185 miles.

A thru hiker is a person who hikes the length of a trail from end to end in one year.

I began my thru hike on April 26th hiked north for 5 months and 1 day to finish on September 27th.

That’s all. There is so much more to it, but that isn’t why I am here. If you want to hear more about the numbers of the Appalachian trail or just want to do more general trail reading I strongly recommend you check out the ATC website:

http://www.appalachiantrail.org/

If at any point you feel crazy enough to think of hiking any part or all of the AT, that site will be a great resource to start. You can also email me any of your questions or thoughts anytime at samwisetruby@gmail.com.

To start you can check out the categories to your left. I put together a few longer stories if you want to get into some of the longer details, the photos and stories section will just give you bits and pieces about each of the photos. 

Home

I’ve been home for over a week now. It’s nice. And also frustrating, scary, and yet again (in spite of frustrating and scary) it is nice.

I can go to the kitchen (a magical place full of food I didn’t carry all day long).

I can sit on sit on soft couches or chairs while watching TV and/or eating the magical kitchen food^^.

I can sleep in a bed with warm blankets and a roof over my head (I’ve been assured by the internet and my family that beds in your own home do not charge hostel fees)

All of those things are nice. I thought that when I was home I would have such a better word for things like my bed, the tv, and the kitchen.  But somehow nice is much more fitting than great! Or superb!

There are things that I can start doing now that I dreamed of doing while I was hiking all summer. I have almost caught up on Game of thrones, I rode my bike today, and I have seen friends and family that I missed dearly. I realized that in the past I have a lot of unhealthy things in my life. Coming home gave me access to some of the things that kept me from being healthy on the trail, and it gave me an appreciation them in a way that I had not used in the past. At home I can eat all of the fruits and veggies I want, I can cook better foods, I can make my diet better than the foray of snickers and pop tarts that my body lived on for the last 5 months. I can exercise the correct amount, this means more than sitting on the couch for hundreds of hours a month, like I used to, but it also means less than walking hundreds of miles a month with weight on my shoulders, like, I also used to.

So, those things are great (I would even argue that they are superb). But in general I cannot yet move from nice to superb because being home has made me miss the life I worked hard for on the trail. I haven’t slept well since being home, I’ve felt restless and like I am accomplishing nothing each day while my knees and feet still ache and make me feel that I should be resting, and the thought of driving my black metal hunk of a Honda on a busy street makes me sweat. Stressed people, busy people, and surprisingly enough, angry people, all make me surprisingly angry (I have never been much of an angry person).Although my diet has probably tripled in wellness I am far from being able to exercise as much as I want, my knees yell at me when I sit too long, and they yell even more when I use them because they are so beat up from hiking yet so stiff from stopping hiking.  I know, it’s a little confusing, if it stays for another week or two I might give my Dr. a call.

I know the problem for the most part, I spent five months in a quiet environment where I could pick my pace and the people I was around, I had a body that had grown used to walking all day every day, falling asleep at dark, and waking up at light.  I had one goal. I had simplicity at its finest. That is different from now by a few miles, or maybe a few thousand. Now I have electricity to keep me up as late as I can stay up, and I cant seem to go to bed until I am exhausted. Now I have dozens of things around me that I can do, or watch, or read, or work on. I have a bank account that needs refilling, job applications to find and then fill out before I can go talk to a person who may become my boss. But mostly, I have no massive dream in front of me that can wake me up each morning with the excitement and passion that only a big dream can.

It has only been a week, I keep reminding myself of this. I am home. I like home. However, just like it was on the AT, the first week is the hardest. The first week is full of uncertainty, frustration, fear, and whether there are thoughts of getting lost in the woods or getting lost in a car they are thoughts that will fade with added time. The second week on the trail was full of fun, growing certainty about life, and so much progress towards becoming the person I am now. My second week at home will likely be similar, at least, I hope. But if it isn’t my second week, it will be my third! I have opportunities to live the life I dreamed of, and I have far too few reasons not to pursue the life that will be the happiest and most rewarding. I can always strive for a life of simplicity and freedom whether I am hiking in the woods or working in the city. If I am able to strive for such a life I will!

Being home is nice. I like it here. Someday being home is going to be great, maybe even superb. Life, much like walking, will take some time and some work to get where you need to be, and at this point, I think I know a thing or two about walking, I can handle a little dose of life.