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What You Learn Hiking The Whole Appalachian Trail

Sara Leibold (left) during a northern confine of a Appalachian Trail in 2011. Rhys Hora is thru-hiking a route this year.

Courtesy of Sara Leibold/Courtesy of Rhys Hora


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Courtesy of Sara Leibold/Courtesy of Rhys Hora

Sara Leibold (left) during a northern confine of a Appalachian Trail in 2011. Rhys Hora is thru-hiking a route this year.

Courtesy of Sara Leibold/Courtesy of Rhys Hora

When you’re confronting a vital life change, it helps to speak to someone who’s already been by it. All Things Considered is joining people on possibly side of a common experience, and they’re vouchsafing us eavesdrop on their conversations in a series Been There.

Each year, hundreds of people travel a roughly 2,200 miles of a Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.

This year, Rhys Hora is one of them.

He’s 32 years aged and had been operative a same pursuit in Philadelphia given he graduated from college. He felt like he was stranded in a rut.

“I wasn’t unhappy, though we wasn’t indeed happy,” he says.

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Are we about to bear a vital life change, like start your possess business or muster abroad in a military? Or have we left by one already? All Things Considered invites we to share your experience, possibly to ask questions or pass on your possess lessons learned. Email us during nprcrowdsource@npr.org, with “Been There” in a theme line.

One night out with friends, a thought of thru-hiking a route popped into his head, and it grew from there.

“It was like a small snowball that arrange of rolled down a mountain and got bigger and bigger,” he says, “until we found myself flattering most formulation my life around it.”

Rhys finally strike a route this March, though initial he got some recommendation from Sara Leibold, who hiked a route in 2011 and final summer served as an envoy for a Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

Sara warned Rhys not to get held adult in regretful notions of life on a trail.

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“All we knew is, we was going to travel each day, and it was going to hurt,” she says, and if we have outrageous expectations, “you’ll possibly get unhappy or you’ll get bored, that is a vital reason since people quit. It becomes like a job.”

Lessons From Sara Leibold

On adjusting to a solitude

You’re only by yourself. You don’t have anybody we know to assistance support you, and so all we can do is only start walking. And we remember camping one night during a shelter, and we wasn’t unequivocally gentle articulate with anybody else during that indicate yet. And so we only stayed by myself in my tent. And we was like, we can’t wait to only get adult and start hiking tomorrow, since we know we can hike. we know we can only start walking and all will be OK.

On not awaiting to figure your life out on a trail

I don’t unequivocally consider people finish [the trail] being resolved. If anything you’ve got some-more questions. we was only thinking, nonstop. And I’d emanate these scenarios of how we wish my destiny to be. And, “Oh, we wanna do this subsequent and this next.” But in a approach we don’t consider that that’s good, since we wasn’t always present. Which we would advise, we know? Really watching what’s around we instead of only being in your head.

On a problems of returning to normal life

I remember it being really formidable to leave a pointer [at a finish of a trail]. we have a design of my palm on a sign, since that’s what we had been operative toward for 4 months, and now it’s done. What do we do now? And then, we have to only go behind a approach we came, and so adjusting to life following is difficult. we consider a lot of people demeanour toward a subsequent trail, since we wish to feel that approach again. So, be prepared for that.