Readers of this blog may have noticed that backpacking the Appalachian Trail has become an unmatched source of adventure, enjoyment, and strength for me in 260-plus miles of following white blazes over rocks and through the woods. Hopefully, the acknowledgement of the mild insanity has also come through; whatever its fame may be, the AT is neither an adventure beyond civilization's edge or even an especially challenging trail for serious mountaineers. Often I have set camp within minutes of a hot shower and a warm bed, swallowed rehydrated potluck meals, hung my supplies out of the reach of bears, then crawled into my tent and slept on a thin pad until dawn. Rinse cookware, repeat.
It is becoming one of the best times in my life, a humbling experience in rebuilding and in redirection. I do recommend that everyone find a time and place to spend weeks walking with everything necessary in your pack and nothing more important to think about than the next water supply.
For anyone moved by curiosity but concerned about a lack of experience, please think about doing a week on the trail with me this year. You will find new dimensions in yourself -- if only in sore joints and muscles!
Here's my rough schedule, entirely subject to change. Email me if you want to meet at one of these stops and spend four unhurried days on our first national Trail.