About the Author: “My name is Tara High. I am 55 years old and love being active in the outdoors, cooking and most especially…eating. I am a Texas girl living in a Georgia world and will attempt to thru hike the Appalachian Trail this year (2019). Is this a mid life crisis or just a desire for a big adventure/challenge?? When I find out, I will let you know! If you would like to follow my progress I can be found on FB at Tara E High or Instagram @tarahigh6262. Cheers!!” – Tara AKA SoulShine
Greetings Y’all!!

This is Tara High and I am about to embark on the adventure of my lifetime!  I am 55 years old and share a home in Alpharetta, GA with my boyfriend of 4.5 years and my 13 year old rescue dog.  

Tom and I moved to GA in 2014 from the coast of Mississippi.  Needless to say, hiking the mountains of north Georgia summoned a new set of skills and strength not previously required as flatlanders.  We knew we loved being in the woods, however, the mountains with all the views, streams and challenging terrain were a new and welcomed experience.
I went on my first backpacking trip about three years ago (Bolder Mail Trail, Utah) and fell in love with backpacking; carrying everything needed to sustain myself for 4 days.  The experience was so impactful I did not want the trip to be over. I discovered that I LOVE to sleep in a tent. In fact, at home, when I have trouble sleeping at night (post menopausal women…you know what I am talking about) I imagine myself lying in my tent on my way to Maine!
I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to have a career doing something I feel passionate about.  However, having worked in animal welfare since 2005, it was time to take a break from what had become increasingly stressful with negative impact on my health and wellbeing.  August 2018, I left my job.
The time was never better for me to pursue what had become a dream of mine since moving to GA…thru hike the Appalachian Trail.  I needed a big challenge! I needed to clear my mind of noise and self doubts! I needed to spend time in nature, connecting with the simple beauty and struggles of being intimately integrated with nature for 5-6 months.  I needed to turn 56 and be in the best shape of my life!
I have never been on a backpacking trip longer than 60 miles (this will no longer be the case before I leave GA).  I have never attempted to condition for such a long journey (how do ya?). I have never prepped food for an extended trip (Holy cow, I think I have been dehydrating food since Jesus was a baby!)  Here is what I will say… I hope I enjoy the hike as much as I have enjoyed the prepping! I have been blessed to be able to make planning and prepping my “full time job” (the con: I’m pretty sure that planning a thru hike is somewhat similar to planning a wedding…the longer you have to plan the bigger and more stressful it becomes).
Now as I wind down the last three weeks before I set off from Springer, I vacillate between being excited, overwhelmed and calm.  I have just a few more things to do to finalize my food drops then I am ready to go. I think it is time to hike…

Tara High

AKA: SoulShine

P.S.  A huge “thank you” to all who have gone before on this journey and have shared their experiences, recommendations and support.  You all ROCK!!!

P.P.S.  Another “shout out” to all who are in the AT Class of 2019.  May you have the adventure of your life and may all your wishes be realized!!