Heather grew up outside, building forts and climbing trees. Her family would go camping often, but never included hiking in their outdoor time. Heather started to notice she was getting overweight by the time she had entered middle school and continued to gain weight into high school. She would run or exercise for a week and then give up. Sports were not something she did, perferring to read or write instead.
“I had heard of the Appalachian Trail first when I was still in high school,” Heather described to me. “I told my parents that I wanted to hike the whole trail after graduating. They said I needed to go to college first.”
After hiking that summer, Heather started to run that next two years at college. She lost 50 pounds in that time and started off the AT in decent shape. Heather describes, “I had transitioned from total couch potato to moderately active and reduced some of my excess weight before jumping on the AT at Springer Mountain in 2003.”
When she started the AT, she didn’t even know that the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) existed. She found out about them on her thru hike and immediately knew she would hike those two trails.
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Rudy Giecek of Arlington is the host of the Cascade Hiker Podcast. (More about Rudy here.) You can find the entire archive of podcasts and support his work at his website. Or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.