I’ve gone on a lot of group hikes this year and made a lot of new friends. While I’ve always done some group hiking, I’m never spent such a large percentage of my time hiking with others during the course of a year.
While there are many different reasons for the change, the most influential is my involvement with the Appalachian Mountain Club as a hiking and backpacking trip leader and course instructor. I got much more active as a volunteer this year and developed some close friendships with other leaders I enjoy hiking and teaching with. I also found that hiking with friends eased the pain of my father’s passing this spring, for which I am very grateful.
100 Mile Wilderness Hike
Looking ahead, I’ve got a long backpacking trip on the near horizon with my friend and confidante Martin Rye from England, author of the Summit and Valley blog. We got to be friends when I was planning my hike across Scotland in 2010 during the TGO Challenge. (We plan to hike in the 2013 TGO Challenge together, along with Grant Sible from Gossamer Gear. )
Martin will coming to the US in August and we’ll be section hiking the New Hampshire and Maine Appalachian Trail, including the 100 mile Wilderness and Mt Katahdin in Baxter State Park. Martin got interested in hiking the 100 Mile Wilderness after he read about it on SectionHiker and I’m excited to hike it end-to-end with him.
Section hiking with Martin should also prove interesting because we’ll be out for over 2 weeks together. I usually get quite lonely after hiking alone for 2 weeks so it will be interesting to compare the experience of section hiking with someone else for a change. That seems to be one of the biggest benefits of thru-hiking a trail like the AT, because you’re never really alone.