About the Author: “Hello, my name is Abby Washburn, and later this year in April my mom and I will be starting on the Appalachian Trail. I enjoy reading, being outdoors, swimming, writing, and baking. I am fifteen years old and I will be hiking after my high school career is over. My favorite two classes are Spanish and English, and my favorite color is purple.”

February 25

Today and this week were full of mixed feelings. In the afternoon today, I thought my work should better pay off. My friend and I recently started going to the gym together twice a week, and today I worked on leg strength and core, so I was tired. However, my friend reminded me that, “You will be glad you started this when you are hiking and are on top of a mountain somewhere.”

Tonight I also experienced a moment of sadness. I was petting our dog, Bailey. I was looking into her eyes that look like molten amber, and suddenly tears were threatening to spill out of my eyes. I had realized that I wouldn’t see her in six months while I was away, except for maybe the couple of visits when our family came to see us. 

I also experienced feeling a little bit rushed mixed with gladness. All of my teachers have been wonderful for providing work for me to do ahead of my starting date, in the middle of April. Today I was working on the English work, so I was glad that I will be able to graduate with my classmates instead of taking the last part of the year over, and being behind. I felt urgency too because I only have about 50 days until my scheduled starting date, and I need to get all my work done before I leave. It has been a little bit stressful to realize that my dreams are finally coming true, after about 5 years of dreaming about this. 

I also have been feeling excitement. This is what I have been dreaming about for a very long time. I am very thankful that everyone is supportive of me, especially my parents, family, teachers, and friends. Without their continued support, I would have said, “Oh, it’s just a dream, I could never accomplish something like that.” However, they all say that I couldn’t quit, they encourage me that this is the best adventure of my life and a wonderful opportunity for me because of all the places I’ll see, all the people I’ll meet, and all the awesome memories I will have made on the A.T. this year. 

I’m also excited because finally we have most of our big pieces of gear for this upcoming hike. I am pretty sure I actually squealed when our sleeping mats came in the mail. My brother, in response, just rolled his eyes and stated once again that I was crazy. I thought to myself, “Yeah I’ve got to be crazy, I’m taking on the Appalachian Trail this year!! I’m only 15 and still in high school, so yeah I’ve got to have a little (or a lot) of crazy in me somewhere.”