Friday, September 24, 2010

This Is It

Dear Appalachian Trail,

These past four months have been something else, huh? One minute I was working at a church, and the next I was on a train to find you in West Virginia. I am impulsive, and I didn't really know what I was flinging myself into. But I got lucky! And now my rose-tinted infatuation has grown into honest love and commitment. I'm crazy about you in the most sane, respectful way.

I adore your mossy mountains and turtle-filled lakes. I sing your storms and morning glory. Your fellow travelers have restored my faith in human generosity and karma and hope, and it's all because of you. My mom said I get "lovey eyes" whenever I talk about you, and I know it's true. I think of the fire towers and sleeping bags and bonfires...

Thank you for the chance to love so expansively. It hurt, all that stretching of my heart and self, but I am grateful for it. Now though, I have to continue on. The winter is on its way, and college loans are piling up. I don't make many promises, but I will be back.

With Love,

To all my advocates, friends, and family-
Thanks for following my hike.


  1. wow, what a ride. i'm proud of you!

  2. Nice job NP. You will always remember your hike with tremendous fondness. I will always remember our adventure from HFY to DWG! And, September 24 - my birthday. Your friend - "Indiana Jones".

  3. One thousand miles on the trail from West Virginia to Maine! So happy for you! Loved your blog full of adventure, beauty, and challenges. A lifetime memory for me to summit Mt Katahdin with you and enjoy our time together in Maine. Love, Mama Bear

  4. Wow!! Julia, this is unbelievable. I don't even know what to say! I always wondered about how you're hike was coming along after those couple days in Maryland. I know I sound like your mom or something but I'm seriously proud of you! I remember when you wanted to take a zero at Dahlgren Campground after doing an epic 11 mile day! Well, my email is or you can find me on facebook by searching Jeremy Bohnett. I'd love to hear from ya and exchange stories. Hope all is well, congratulations on your journey!

  5. Hello N.P.
    I'm at the library in Dalton, MA. Will probably finish this section near Bennington. You are my hero. I've followed your shelter postings for a while now. Some memorable, "I'm tired." Others just interesting. Congratulations on your achievement. By the by, I met another "No Promises". A SOBO guy. He apparently just missed you somewhere up the trail. Your fame precedes you. It's Oct. in MA and I still pass thruhikers headed south. It's on to laundry and groceries and other zero day activities. It's been fun and I wish you well down all the trails that you choose to follow.
    Charly(Ramblin Wreck)

  6. Dude. Congratulations! So inspirational. Thanks for letting me be a part of this experience. Now all you have to do is start that hike to St. Paul...

  7. Hi Julia,

    I hope you check this blog for comments or get email notification, because I’d really like to get in touch with you. I work for Stackpole Books, a medium-sized publisher of nonfiction books, including outdoor subjects. Right now, we are working on a collection of excerpts from great AT blogs, to be released as an ebook, and we’d love to include some pieces from your blog. I like your writing style, and have some great stories stories on here. If you could email me (kfulton [at] I can give you more information and answer any questions you might have.

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Kathryn Fulton
    Editorial Assistant
    Stackpole Books