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Use this page to draw or write about your hike.

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A Thru-Hiker’s Journey

Read the following journal entries and answer questions.

Jan Leitschuh, A.T. Thru-Hiker, 2003

Trail Name: Jan Lite Shoe

May 29, 2002

The A.T.?!

Well, it appears I am going to tackle this 2,172.6-mile mountain wilderness walk from Georgia to Maine.

Why walk the whole Appalachian Trail? It’s an enormous, uprooting, six-month project.I am embarrassed to say I know some reasons, but am not fully sure of them all.

When things are going well, there is a momentum to stay put. I love my town of Southern Pines, NC. I have prospered here for the last six years. I love my work, teaching and training horses. Backpacking is hard. That’s why no one was more surprised than me when this hike emerged.

The next month, March, who shows up at my barn looking for work but Wendy “Philosophy” Cronkite, an A.T. thru-hiker. Bear in mind that, up to this point, I had never met a thru-hiker before.

So every morning, instead of jumping right on my first horse, I was pestering Wendy with questions:

What did you eat? How far did you walk? Were you scared, lonely, uncomfortable?

In April, I persuaded Wendy to take me and a neighbor out on an Appalachian Trail backpack. That incred- ible week changed the course of my life. Though Wendy suggested we turn back due to snow, equipment failure and rapidly falling temperatures, I decided to push on—alone.

As I informed Wendy of my decision to keep walking, I expected her to talk me out of it. But she never did Instead, she gave me her guidebook. So off I trudged, into the snow and freezing wind, with my brand-new pack.

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