My parents tell me that some of my adoring fans have requested that I “upload my bio already”, so that is precisely what I am going to do. Gotta give the people what they want! Now, where should I begin…
The first thing you should know about me is that I am a huge fan of the New Orleans Saints. This is the first thing I am mentioning because it is the most important thing about me. If you only take away one thing from this post, or this blog for that matter, it needs to be that the Saints rule and that the Falcons suck. The second thing you need to know is that I have a one year old little male dachshund named Chewie that I love to death.
Well, that just about sums it up.
Ok , my parents tell me I need to add a little more. I was originally born in Mississippi, but I have lived in Georgia since I was 9. While in high school, I participated in many activities through my church, my school, and my community…but mostly, I just played soccer. I played a ton of soccer. Just ask my parents and they will tell you. They will know because neither of them ever missed a game. In the rare moments when I wasn’t playing soccer I was probably participating in a Boy Scout camp-out or retreat. I’ll get more into my experience with the Scouts in a moment. After graduation I moved to Statesboro, GA to attend Georgia Southern University with the plan to transfer to Georgia Tech Savannah my Junior year. In 2010, I made the transfer, but was able to continue living in Statesboro thanks to the wonders of technology. While in college I had the best group of friends anyone could ever ask for, and had more fun with them than I can possibly describe. My time in college was nothing short of incredible. However, I do not want to give you the wrong impression. I may have played hard, but I worked even harder. In the fall of 2012, all my hard work finally paid off when I graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a degree in Civil Engineering.
Now, some may ask why I want to hike the AT at all. Well, the answer goes much deeper than the fact that I like camping, hiking, and the outdoors. There are plenty of people who like to camp and hike; few would ever dream of tackling such a daunting task. To adequately answer this question, I must go to the beginning. I was first introduced to backpacking on the AT while in the Boy Scouts. At the time, I was training to go on my first of two backpacking trips to a wonderful place called Philmont Scout Ranch, in Cimarron, New Mexico. Philmont is located in the southern portion of the Rocky Mountains, and provides Scouts the opportunity to transverse some of the nation’s most beautiful countryside during a two week expedition. Philmont however, is more than a hiking trip, and is extremely difficult to describe to people that have not experienced its magic first hand. There are no cell phones, facebook, politics, appointments, bills, or responsibility. All these drains on your life are replaced with the forest, the mountains, the giant sky, the stars, the sunsets and sunrises. It is replaced with peace, simplicity, and serenity. There is absolutely nothing more soul cleansing than a walk in the woods. In my experience, people are their true, raw selves in primitive environments. When I talk to my Dad or brother about our trips to Philmont, it typically involves very few words. It usually involves long, dreamy stares out into space, followed by a deep sigh. Philmont is truly God’s country.
This is why I want to hike the Appalachian Trail. The feelings and experiences I have while backpacking are some of the best of my life, and I will spend the rest of my life seeking to replicate these emotions over and over again. I wanted Philmont to last forever. I may not have forever, but I do have 6 months. Ever since I went to Philmont when I was 14, the Appalachian Trail has become an obsession. And I do mean obsession. I have read numerous books, watched countless documentaries, and scoured every public forum related to the trail on the internet. I have spent some much time researching and planning this trip that I feel like I have already hiked it. I am completing a literal lifelong dream. What could be better than that?