The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has asked Thru-Hikers to get off trail. So who would have thought my first blog post from trail would be the one of me getting off trail. No, this is not forever. I still plan to finish my AT thru-hike this year. Dug aka Erin, Ollie and I are devastated. But with everything going on with COVID-19, we feel that we would be socially irresponsible if we stayed on trail.
Here are the reasons:
- When we had our first resupply at Mountain Crossing we probably saw around 150 people.
- When hiking, some days we would see about 60 people.
- Almost every night, even when avoiding shelters, campsites have been full.
- Traveling from untouched mountain town to untouched mountain town would put those people at risk and stopping at towns in unavoidable.
- Campsites and sections of trail up north are already closing.
- Resupply is eventually going to be impossible.
- We want to set an example for other thru-hikers.
- We should be enjoying this trail, but have been nothing but upset about everything going on and whether we are doing the right thing.
- The trail will always be there.
Thanks to all those who have been supporting me for staying on trail. Many people have told me to continue on and push because I am in “isolation.” Yes, in theory I am the epitome of social distancing. But in reality I have been one of the people ignoring everything the CDC and WHO are recommending. I would love to stay on trail, but morally I feel that would not be okay. I hope my friends and family can support my choice. Keep your fingers crossed that things will die down soon and I can get myself back on trail ASAP.
Now that I have put a damper on things, here are some pictures of my first week on trail. As soon as I feel better about things, I will do a full write up because this truly has been an amazing week.