I read that question on a forum recently, that we should ask ourselves that question. I don’t know about everyone else but I have about 100 reasons and depending on the day, one will be more important than another. So here’s an unnumbered list in no special order except as they’ve come to mind.
Why not? Because it’s there. How can I call myself a hiker if I’ve never even set foot on the Appalachian Trail? I have nothing else to do next summer. I’ve never hiked in that part of the country. I’m fascinated to see the new flora and fauna. For the cultural experience. I drove through Shenandoah National Park several years ago and I told myself then that I’d like to come back and hike it. I always need a challenge. I love to hike and hike and hike and . . . . It’s a long trail that I can hike without support. PCT, CT and CDT all require long hikes out to towns to resupply. Many support systems have evolved along the A.T. I need a challenge. To be a hero, at least in my own mind. To help me to come out of my shell and write. Because I promised myself when I returned from traveling abroad that I wanted to explore the US on foot as I had done in other places. I can hike as short or as long as I desire. 2,200 miles? I doubt it, but . . . maybe. We’ll see. 150 miles? 500 miles? 1000 miles? We’ll see, we’ll see . . . .
For now I’m happy with planning. That’s as much fun as the trip itself. Another reason to hike the A.T. I get a lot of pleasure out of looking at maps, checking distances, planning food and campsites, looking at pictures and reading blogs. I think sometimes that even if I don’t step foot on the physical trail I could still be happy. Though, I must believe as I plan that it will happen, and barring unforeseen events, it will.