Welcome to My 2021 AT Hike

Welcome to the obligatory “Who am I” and “Why am I” post that proceeds all other posts. Now on to the nitty-gritty everyone (or maybe just me) has been waiting for.

Who am I:

My name is Christopher Armstrong, and I am a 41-year-old New Jersey native currently living in Rhode Island. I am finishing up a 24-year career in the Coast Guard in the spring of 2021. This will allow me time between careers to knock off this bucket list item. I am by no means an advanced or even experienced hiker. From 2005-2009, I did some day hiking on the AT when I was stationed in Washington, DC. In 2011, I even completed a week-long overnight hiking trip to Machu Picchu (glamping). However, outside of that, the woods and I do not get along. I prefer the creature comforts of home (TV, Xbox, refrigerator, indoor plumbing). This trail is going to test my limits on the way I live. Tantamount to say I live the lifestyle of an indoor cat.

Why am I Hiking:

This will be covered in a future post.

Goals for hiking:

It’s always a good thing to set some goals when starting anything new. It helps me focus on what is important and what needs to be accomplished to complete the task at hand.

  1. Don’t Die – This should be an automatic win for anyone. This is normally my first goal in anything I set out to do. It was the first goal during my first 1/2 marathon a few years back. With all the things in the woods trying to kill you (Bears, Ticks, Snakes, Giardi, Falling Trees, Bees, Steep Cliffs) this is a goal that needs to be my list.
  2. Try and forget about work – This is going to be one of the harder goals. Upon graduation from High School, I had only 1 week before I entered the Coast Guard. I am fortunate that I have had a steady job for 24 years straight. However, coming from a job that requires 24/7 availability for 24 years means that work follows you home every night. It will be a long transition before I can wake up and not have work be the first thing that pops into my head.
  3. Try and have fun – It’s tough for me to enjoy the moment a situation. I am constantly planning, evaluating the plan, and then re-planning when something doesn’t work out. Being able to let go in the moment and “smell the roses” is not something I do. I hope that blogging, uploading pictures to Instagram, etc., will help force me to focus on the “smelling the roses” factor instead of getting from point A to point B daily for six months straight.
  4. Finish – Again, it should be an automatic win for anyone. But the stats don’t lie. Only a certain percentage actually complete the AT in any given year.

Prep to Date:

I recommend checking out my gear list on this page and my Instagram page ( @chrisuscga01) with all the photos of my pre-hike preps. Most of the preps have focused more on gear acquisition vice training. I am hoping the latter doesn’t come back to bite me. I have spent a lot of time researching gear to help give me the best chance of completing the trail. There is a mix of lite gear as well as some creature comforts.

I am looking forward to blogging and getting on the trail.

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