Tina Wilcox is about to hike the entire Appalachian Trail!
This hike is an ambitious one. At 2,190 total miles, the Trail winds through 14 states along the east coast from Maine to Georgia. It has a total gain/loss in elevation of 464,500 ft. Every year, about 2,000 hikers attempt to tackle the Trail’s full length, but only about 1/4 off them complete it. Most hikers cover about 15 miles a day, taking six months to complete the entire trail.
What sparked your interest and made you want to take on this challenge?
Several years ago I stumbled onto a book about an Appalachian thru-hiker that really sparked my interest. I started reading several accounts of thru-hiking from all sorts of folks in books and online and that led me to watching youtube videos of thru-hikers. It all seemed so exciting and so physically and mentally challenging, that I started wondering if it would be something that I could actually do.
What are you scared about?
Most people think it would be “bears” or “snakes”or “being a female alone”, etc..but actually my two biggest fears are #1 not being able to stay warm (which just means I need the right equipment and mind set to prevent that) and #2 mice. I have a very inexplicable fear of mice attacking me and running over me in my sleep.😳
What are you most excited about?
So many things! I can’t wait to experience the sights and beauty that hiking thru the mountains will bring and I’m really looking forward to meeting fellow thru-hikers from all walks of life and experiences.
What is one guilty pleasure that you are bringing along with you?
Well I wasn’t going to admit this to anyone, but since you asked… Thru-hikers work hard to balance the weight of their loaded backpacks with items that are either essential for survival or needed for additional comfort. Literally I have counted and measured every gram and ounce in my pack because it all adds up. It had better be important if I’m going to carry it on my back for over 2000 miles. Having said that, my guilty pleasure is going to be an eyeliner pencil. As a female who has never left home without having makeup on, the thought of being bare-faced is a bit daunting to me. Not that ANYONE cares, but I do so its going with me. Silly, I know.
How did you train to prepare?
I work out at Empower five days a week and attempt to do everything the trainers throw at me. I’ve been going for years. It isn’t easy as anyone who goes to Empower knows, but the results are that I feel confident enough in my physical abilities to give this a go. I also try to get in at least one big day hike each weekend, and for several months I have been carrying my loaded backpack with me when I hike. Lastly, I have done a couple of overnight hikes with Nestor Paonessa (a very experienced backpacker) who has helped me gain experience in poor weather conditions and test out my gear.
Anything else you want to share?
Although I am nervous and anxious about leaving the comforts of home, I am excited about what is ahead of me and how it will challenge me in ways I’m sure I haven’t even considered yet. I have never thought of myself as an adventurous type and this trip is a huge stretch for me. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to move forward with my plans for this hike if my friends at Empower hadn’t been there encouraging and supporting me along the way. Thank you all so much!!!
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