Intro – This year, I will be setting out on a very ambitious journey to hike both the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada, and the Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia. If all goes according to plan, I will walk nearly 5,000 miles in just over six months. I intend to keep a daily journal with pen and paper, and send it to my friend back in Denver who will transcribe it as best she can onto this blog. As my first blog post, I will tell you a bit about myself, along with a few Q&A’s to give more insight into just why I am hiking the trail.
Bio – Steven knew from an early age that his time was best spent in the outdoors. When he was growing up, his family of six took yearly vacations camping out west, along with many days throughout the year spent hiking, biking, sledding, swimming, and anything else that involved being outdoors and active. His first dream job was being a paleontologist, so he could work outdoors. Yet he ended up being an accountant. Steven’s initial reason for wanting to become an accountant was due to the prolonged time off in the summers, providing him ample time to immerse himself in nature. A mix of luck and hard work would bring Steven to Denver working at Deloitte & Touche LLP. In his first three years at Deloitte he worked in Detroit, New York City, and Denver, on clients such as Chrysler, JP Morgan Chase, Ally Financial, Blue Cross, Duke Conoco Phillips, and Smashburger.
When he was able to tear himself away from business travel and late nights at the office, he was in the Colorado Rockies hiking before sunrise to high peaks, rafting, Mountain biking in the foothills, learning how to ski, and camping with friends. He has hiked the John Muir Trail (twice), the Long Trail (End-to-End), the Colorado Trail (from Denver to Silverton), and climbed forty-eight of the fifty-eight peaks in Colorado over 14,000 feet in just one year. He looks forward to life slowing down, and living fully in the present, without the daily distractions of emails, texts, and phone calls.
Steven grew up in Spring Lake, MI and is one of four children. He graduated from Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI) with a B.A. in Business in 2010 and an Masters in Science of Accounting in 2011.
When did you know you wanted to hike the PCT & AT? – My first big backpacking trip was with my good friend Nathan doing the John Muir Trail in the summer of 2009. I knew then that I had to hike a long trail such as the PCT or AT. It has been consistently on my mind ever since.
How long have you been planning for these hikes? – I have been researching for the past two years. I got serious this past September (2013) when I put in a Leave of Absence request with my employer for the summer of 2014. Been slowly researching and planning from then on out. Just needed the right opportunity, and the summer of 2014 is that window for me.
What is one thing that scares you about this hike? – Failure to finish the hike. The hike is all about having a good time and enjoying the time out there. But, I know I would be very disappointed if I did not complete the hike for any reason. Even skipping a small section would disappoint me, as I know I would regret this after the hikes. I’m also scared of coming back to the real world after the hikes!
Things you’re most looking forward to? – I am really looking forward to being part of the trail community, and making new lasting friendships. When I look back on my past five to ten years, my most vivid memories are those when I was on extended backpacking trips. Your life becomes so in the present that your memory sharpens, and all interactions seem very genuine, as there are no distractions. I’m also looking forward to having a routine, seeing new landscapes, climbing a few mountains that I really want to get (Banner Peak, Split & Prater Mountains, and Junction Peak, just to name a few). I’m just excited to be fully immersed in nature. For me, it is “coming home to a place I’ve never been before” every time I step into nature for an overnight hike.