Homer's Travels: Relief, Disappointment, And The End Of A Dream

Friday, July 22, 2022

Relief, Disappointment, And The End Of A Dream

When I ended my 2019 Appalachian Trail (AT) thru-hike attempt one of the factors that convinced me to stop were the shakiness of my legs.  Every step up was a challenge, every step down felt like my leg would collapse.  Three years later, by the end of the first day back on the trail, my legs felt the same as they did in the White Mountains - shaky, unstable, and weak.  My legs never actually gave out and I wonder if my true problem was a loss of confidence.  My 2011 Camino had given me my confidence and the AT took it away.  

Over the past week my feelings have fluctuated from relief of being off the trail, wondering if I gave up too quickly, and mourning for the end of my AT dream.

Every SOBO I ran into talked about how beautiful Maine was and the pictures I took supported the veracity of their statements.  I'd been looking forward to the ponds, rivers, and mountain views that would be the crown of my AT adventure.  But this was my third strike.  I tried three times to complete the AT (2017, 2019, and this year).  There will not be a fourth.  And I mourn my loss.

I told other hikers that this was my last big solo outing.  I can't say I'm not disappointed..  But my adventures will become our adventures and the Wife and I will explore the world together and that will make it all better.


  1. On a whim I checked back in with your page today after following your 2019 AT attempt. It was hard to read that things didn't work out for this years attempt to finish the AT, and even harder to hear you say 'that was it'. There are some good options closer to home for you that would let you keep on with backcountry hiking. One I'd recommend is the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness in the western U.P. of Michigan. The mountains are doable hills, the scenery and solitude is grand, and the hiking community is kind and supportive. I am 67 yr of age and will be doing another trip there in a few weeks. I'll be using the backcountry cabins this time, as these old bones are tired of sleeping on the ground. Check it out. You've only just begun

    1. Thank you for visiting Homer's Travels. While I'm not stopping hiking all together I will be stopping the long term hikes. I'm 59 and I am realizing that I may not have won the genetic lottery. A man needs to know his limitations and I am learning my limitations are a bit more restrictive than I thought.