“Bookie” and “No Shame”, New Hampshire, USA
Why the AT:
I decided I wanted to thru hike the AT in 2013 after I underwent complete ACL replacement surgery. I needed something to get me moving and help me heal. I spent almost 2 years planning and organizing my hike, figuring out how to set up package drops with my dogs food.
Best part of the journey:
Hiking with my best friend and partner in crime was my greatest highlight. I know if I didn’t have my dog, No Shame, on the trail my experience would have been very different but I can’t imagine what the journey would have been without her. The people you meet are by far the second best part. I connected with people on so many different levels, there were folks who I met in GA and l looked for their names in the shelter journals the rest of my hike.
Walking into a shelter and having a fellow hiker shout out “Bookie you HAVE to check out the PRIVY! Do you have your camera? I’ll take a picture of you!” What started as a “just for fun” moment turned into a a wonderful project of documenting the oddities of the AT privies.
Learning to trust in myself. The AT pushes you in many different ways, I was presented with the opportunity to take on the challenges I was faced with or turn away from them. When I took them head on I discovered just how strong I was. I am terrified of the dark, always have been, still am, BUT I know that I can hike a trail at night, set up camp in the dark, and camp all alone. I am stronger for having done it.
When I finished the trail I didn’t plan to return to it any time soon. My body was burnt out and I couldn’t imagine doing another long distance hike. Well that all changed pretty quickly. I’m headed back to the trail community where I can help other thru hikers and start planning my next long hike. Can’t wait to vanish back into the woods.