March 1, 1998

Hot Air from Dragon's Breath

Hiking the 2160-mile Appalachian Trail

On a cold, winter day in early March of 1998, I began what some call "a trip of a lifetime." With a backpack full of brand new equipment, a friend and I started up the eight mile approach trail to Springer Mountain, the beginning of the Appalachian Trail. I didn't know what I was getting myself into, that's for sure. I was scared, nervous and excited. I knew deep down I could finish the six month hike, but "would I?" was the question.

The following blog entries are my unedited, daily journals, most written by candlelight, huddled in a shelter. I never want those memories, both good and bad, to fade with the years. You will read about beautiful days and spectacular sunsets, other hikers that I call lifelong friends, complete strangers helping someone in need, about sore muscles, blisters, aches and pains, and a lot about rain!

I miss the trail now. The simplicity of getting up, eating, hiking, eating some more, resting, then bed, is a far cry from the 'normal' life. There was an honesty on the trail that was refreshing. No one that lasted past those first weeks put on 'airs' or fed you a line. They were who they were. It didn't matter what sex, age, social standing, or career path, we were all thruhikers. This is my story. Enjoy!

I dedicated my thru-hike to my cousin Nancy,
who died before I could finish my hike.