My Mission!

Friends, Family, Business Associates, Countrymen!
I am planning a journey of grand proportions.  In 2014 I will hike the entire Appalachian Trail in one calendar year.  The Appalachian Trail is 2184.2 miles in length which starts at Springer Mountain, Georgia extending through 14 states along the Appalachian mountain range ending atop Mount Katahdin in Maine.  The trail was completed in 1937 with the first thru-hiker (name earned for forging the distance in one calendar year) to achieve the conquest in 1948.  From then, records indicate roughly 8,000 persons have completed a thru-hike.  In the past 10 years or so, approximately 2,000 hearty souls from all walks of life and from all over the world plan diligently attempting to complete the entire trail each year with only 300+ completing the task each year.  The majority of the trail is in wilderness, although some portions traverse towns, roads and cross rivers. 

Some Stats:
2184 miles / 5 million+ steps / Over 500,000 ft. gains in elevation / Average completion in 5.5 months

This massive endeavor requires thousands of dollars, enormous time and dedication, great conditioning and planning, proper gear, sound food plans, and the ability to live in the mountains and endure/enjoy(?) often harsh weather day after day for months.  Weather conditions will include temperatures ranging from 0 – 100+ degrees Fahrenheit, sudden serious (and lingering) storms, high winds, snow and ice, and a great deal of rain.  There are other issues to contend with such as bears, wolves, snakes (and other critters), grueling ups and downs with few plateau stretches, hiking in sections on all fours, hunger, pain, gear issues, the monotony of the “long green tunnel” and at times even boredom.

Why Will I Succeed in Such An Endeavor?
   Through the challenges listed above, the rewards fill volumes of books describing some of the grander aspects of life involved with this journey.  I will be close to the beauty of this land not yet destroyed by overcrowding - meet wonderful people attempting what I am along with making friends of many who understand the plight wishing to help – I will be physically and mentally challenged often – see and understand nature as a part of it and not a bystander – achieve a goal not many could complete or even willing to try.  Those who have completed a thru-hike say it will forever change aspects of my life for the better.

I will set up a support system and be notifying everyone I can as plans progress.  In the meantime if you wish to understand my planning, drop me a message, or just view from afar, please use the contact information below.  This blog will detail my planning efforts, challenges, and attitudes along the way.  Enjoy!

Mark Wagner                             - Master Blog
Shelby Township, Michigan           - Twitter Account
                                                  - My Facebook Profile                - Facebook Group Page

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