Bucket List? How About Hiking the Entire Appalachian Trail?
Let's face it. Everyone has a bucket list. It's a group of things we would like to do before we kick the bucket. The big question for some of us is how long to wait before crossing those things off the list. There's a woman from Crawford County who has decided that she has waited long enough to accomplish a major goal.
Carol Fielding, 53, of Spartansburg, is preparing for a milestone moment in her life. Within the next two weeks, she will begin a backpacking journey that will take her through the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. Georgia to Maine. That’s 2,198.4 miles. She has thought about this trip for decades.
"In college, I did a backpacking trip that kind of lit something in me and it stuck. It's always been in the back of my mind that I wanted to do the Appalachian Trail. So finally, 32 years after college, I'm doing it,” says Carol.
Carol will be gone for six months leaving everything behind to achieve her goal. Her husband. Her friends. Her job at the Corry Journal. She's taking on this challenge by herself although her husband will join her a few times along the trail.
"I'm sure I will gain what I call a 'trail family.’ People you meet along the way. People you just kind of click with and hike with for a while. You may be with each other all the way. But for the most part, people just kind of gain and lose trail family members,” says Carol.
Carol says 75% of people who attempt to hike the entire distance of the Appalachian Trail do not make it. She spent a lot of time in training. She must be able to hike with a heavy backpack that contains water, food, clothing, and a tent she will use when she sets up camp. She has reached out to people who have gone the entire distance. They've told her it's more of a mental challenge than a physical one.
"You have to realize that there will be bad days,” she says. “You will be cold. You will be hungry. And you have to get your emotions in check and your logic and reason need to take over."
Carol will be inspired by the memory of her late parents who knew someday she would be finally taking on the Appalachian Trail. It's a big, big challenge but Carol is ready to go.
"I'm just so excited,” she said. “I can't even stand it. Oh my goodness. I cannot wait to get on the trail. I cannot wait.”
Carol will be blogging throughout her trek along the Appalachian Trail. You can read her adventures here.