I know it sounds funny, but lately the idea of walking has been at the forefront of my mind…
It started when I learned a co-worker was going to leave his job to hike the entire Appalachian Trail (AT). That’s right, he plans to hike nearly 2,200 miles over the course of a couple of months. He will carry a pack that weighs about 40 pounds, containing everything he needs.
This really blew my mind. I was impressed by not only the athletic achievement of the hike, but also the idea of the AT experience. What is it about this trail that draws people? Why people put their careers and other life interests on hold to walk two thousand miles? There must be something here!
I started doing a bit of research to better understand what draws people, and keeps them hiking day after day. It didn’t take long to see the lure of the AT. I could see it in the pictures and the personal accounts of hikers. It was the wildlife, the encounters with other hikers and strangers, challenging yourself and learning more about yourself and the world.
I have no idea when, or if, I will ever have the opportunity to hike the AT. And I won’t even pretend I have what it takes to complete such a journey. Or, for that matter, whether I have what it takes to start the journey. But, I really believe there is something almost magical that occurs on that trail, far away from the “normal” world we occupy most of the time. So, on my runs when I slip away from reality for an hour at a time, I will continue to think what it would be like to be walking. Backpack full, the sun shining, heading north on the Appalachian Trail.