Sunday, March 14, 2010

Is That All You Got?

Written by: Katherine Imp

Only 20% of the people that attempt a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail actually finish. Okay. I've been reading these stats for nearly 2 years, but let's face it, I'm a lawyer, so I immediately assume that I fall within that 20%. I'll crawl to Mt. Katahdin if I have to, but I'm going to finish.

Before the trip started, I just couldn't understand why so many people quit. Injuries and illnesses are legitimate reasons, and knock on wood, our injuries and illnesses throughout the next 5 months are not so serious as to take us out of the game. But injuries aside, what makes people quit?

Fast forward to yesterday. Yesterday we had our first 12-mile day. Our clothes were soaking wet from the minute we put them on because it's been raining NON-STOP since we got here. Our packs are too heavy--soaking wet, with 3L of water each and week's supply of food, weigh in around 40 lbs. None of us had time to train before the trip, and if that wasn't enough, 60% of that 12-mile hike was uphill.

As the day went on, the rain only got worse. The trail was a mud river. The rain came in from all different angles, and eventually turned into a full-blown lightening/hail storm. Due to the fact that the nearest town was not within hiking distance, and we were on a mountain ridge with lightening less than a mile away, the day ended with us sleeping in a shelter (3 walls and a roof) with 2 old dudes decked out in camouflage gear, a dog, and a lot of hungry mice.

If this trip started with sunshine and we hit a day like this for the first time in week would all be over by week 3.

But instead God decided to hit us with a curve ball from Day 1. And while our first 12-mile day was by no means easy, it's mine. And I did it. And I get to share that memory with Brandon, Emily, Jason, 2 old dudes, and a dog, for the rest of my life.


  1. You're crazy. But in the awesomest way possible. Yes, I said awesomest. Maybe when you get back we'll take a blanket to Grant park and talk about all of that awesomeness. Woo!

  2. A Maine mom rooting for you guys--the adventure of a lifetime! I'm enjoying your blog. One foot in front of the other, but stop and smell the roses (trees, leaves, dirt, rain, etc) once in a while.

  3. Kate, so proud of you for doing this! I backpacked for 40 miles in Maine and had a sinus infection the entire time. I would hike a few miles, throw up, and then keep going. You really learn a lot about yourself and your inner strength. You go girl! Also, I saw this article in the NY Times and it made me think of what you all are doing:

  4. You passed your first test! Great job!

  5. Looks like mother nature is throwing everything she's got at you. Enjoy!

  6. Haha! I remember days (and series of days) like this, cold, tired, wet, hungry, and hurting. Don't sweat it. You'll gradually become comfortable being uncomfortable, and you might even start to like it! Thanks for the post. Really brought back some memories.

    Houdini '05