“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.

Weirdest part:
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.

Most difficult:
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.

What’s next:
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.

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