I first climbed Katahdin when I was eight years old, with my dad and two older brothers. Despite the massive blisters I got on my feet and my constant complaining that I think any normal eight-year-old would make toward their dad if they were hiking a mountain like Katahdin, we managed to make it to the top.
I distinctly remember seeing a handful of hikers wearing these massive packs, and they were celebrating by jumping up and down, crying, hugging, etc. I asked my dad, “Why are they celebrating?”
That was my first time learning about the Appalachian Trail (AT), and ever since then it has been a dream of mine to one day complete it. I’m hiking the trail to not only fulfill a childhood dream, but also to get out and simply experience as much as I can. There is so much more to the trail than just hiking. You get to see vibrant communities and meet numerous people from all walks of life. Not only that, but being able to show other hikers my home state of Maine (in a way that differs from the average tourist) is something that I love. If anything, the trail has reminded me of why I’m proud to call myself Mainer.
Below are some photos from my hike thus far. Because I got a late start this summer, I did the first half of the AT from Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia to the summit of Katahdin and head out today to do the other half: Stone Mountain, Georgia to Harper’s Ferry. You can follow my journey at edogg_710 on Instagram. And thanks to the Natural Resources Council of Maine for sharing parts on my journey on their social media platforms.
—by Ethan Thombs of Monmouth, Maine (Trail name: Hermes)