About the Author: Aspin is a young writer, who grew up in Michigan. She enjoys hiking, camping, photography, and spending time outdoors with her boyfriend and dog. She has dreams of long distance hiking, with plans to complete a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2019. You can find her on Instagram (@brokeroaming), Facebook (facebook.com/brokeroaming), or her website (brokeroaming.com).
My first taste of the Appalachian Trail with a trip to the Smokey Mountains in August 2018
My First Solo Trip
In May 2017 I was itching to travel and at the time the relationship I was in wasn’t supportive of this. My fiancé at the time had little interest in camping or traveling with me. It was one of those things where I was repeatedly told that it would happen but no effort was put forth to follow through with the promises. So on memorial day weekend 2017 I decided, with very little notice, that I was going to take a trip to Yellowstone National Park. Part of the last minute decisions resulted in me going alone.
Yellowstone Falls at the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Taken on my first trip to Yellowstone National Park in 2017.
Even though those days had been some of the hardest and most uncomfortable I had experienced in a long time, the trip home was hard. I didn’t really want to leave and I was already looking forward to going back.
Dreaming of a Thru-Hike
After I got back from that trip to Yellowstone I started obsessively researching everything about hiking and backpacking. Hiking and camping was something I was used to, having done it for years growing up, but backpacking was something completely new to me. The gear I had was pretty unsuitable for backpacking (I’m pretty sure that 4 person I took to Yellowstone weighed near 8 pounds) but I knew I wanted to see places you could only get to by foot.
My first mountain summit in Rocky Mountain National Park in spring of 2018
Deciding to Thru-Hike
In August 2017 my life completely turned around. I had called off my engagement and it made me started to question all the things I had planned for my future. The guy, the education path, the career path… None of it seemed right. I sat back and looked around at an apartment filled with items that didn’t mean much of anything to me. I needed a change.
A few months later I had made a commitment to myself to hike the trail, but I was too afraid to tell most people. I was in a new relationship with someone who understood the desire to run away and get lost. I told him about my desire to hike the AT, and while he has never had interest in thru-hiking himself he supported my need to go. His support in my hike gave me the courage to tell my family. Beginning of 2018 I told my parents what I wanted to do and to my amazement, they both encouraged the dream. They told me they were proud and they would help me with anything I needed.
So when my boyfriend told me that there was no point in dreaming about something you couldn’t have, I couldn’t help but think about my dream to thru-hike. If I had given up my dream back in 2017 when I thought it would never happen I wouldn’t be where I am today ready to fulfill that dream.