It's hard to believe that another hiking season has already come and gone! With it being six years since my AT thru hike (seriously, six?!) and three since my last thru hike of any kind, 2018 has become a year when something fun needs to be done! While I've been doing some seriously epic shit (running an ultra, anyone?!) these past few years, it turns out my heart is truly out on the trails. After attempting to schedule a thru hike of the Tahoe Rim Trail in the summer of 2017 and basically failing at that, I've decided that 2018 is long overdue for hiking the way I like to hike. That's why I'm super excited to officially say that I'm taking a long-distance thru hike in 2018.
In 2018, I'm going to be thru hiking the Mountains to Sea Trail across the state of North Carolina. While many friends and clients consistently ask me when I'm going to get out and hike on the west coast, the answer to that question is honestly "Not this year." I tried to schedule a hike out on the west coast in July 2017 and so many things in the universe were pointing to it not being my time to get out there. With all of my pets getting older as well, I don't really want to be crazy far from home or out on a super long trail. In a few years I'll attempt to get back out onto the west coast because hey, the trails will always be there, right?!
Hiking the Mountains to Sea Trail was honestly a no-brainer for me. It's a developed trail system that actually has a terminus inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In fact, I've hiked all of the first segment before already. Being comfortable with the trail I'm going to be calling home for a few months is never a bad thing! Some portions of the Mountains to Sea I've hiked recently are in the most beautiful forest I think you'll see in the Southeast, so needless to say I am excited to get out and take a walk across North Carolina.
I'm hoping to get out and hike this trail from early April to late May or early June. I'd like to get done before it gets crazy hot and I'm also hiking it early so I can come back to work. I'll be taking a few months off after the winter is over to get out and take some "me time". As a distance hiker many people would believe that being a backpacking guide is a dream come true. Don't get me wrong, I love being a guide. I will say though, being a guide and doing what I love are two very different things. Just like with any profession, you're bound to get burnt out if you aren't taking time for yourself.
At this point I'm hoping to set off for the Mountains to Sea Trail a very short period after I finish my first ever 100-mile race. I'll keep everyone updated throughout the winter as to not only my plan changes, but also with new trail recipes and gear updates as well. I'm so excited to have a distance hike to look forward to again.
Do you have any big plans for the 2018 hiking season? What is your "main event" in 2018?