My Appalachian Trail adventure has not been an easy one. There have been so many barriers, unforeseen mishaps and injuries. Despite all the drama, I’m back on track to complete a 2022 thru-hike.
Let’s catch you up!
I originally planned a 2020 thru-hike. All the ducks were lined up and everything looked good. I was so excited. Then in the fall of 2019, I was struck with a mysterious inflammation in my legs, however with much medical intervention, and a tad bit of luck, I was healed and right as rain for a spring 2020 start.
Then COVID hit the world and everything shut down.
Fast forward to 2022 when I would attempt the AT again. I started on April 6th from Springer Mountain in Georgia and headed north. Everything was fine and dandy until the dreaded 1069-mile mark just shy of the Mason-Dixon line. I was struggling with lingering shoulder pains plus COVID struck. The symptoms kicked my butt.
I was very sick and forced off the trail. It was June 11th and it appeared my AT dream was over.
There is a bright side to this story, or misadventure if you will, I was able to spend some quality time with my family and friends for most of the summer while I healed. I have to admit, I had no intention of returning to the trail. I assumed the AT Gods had spoken and it wasn’t meant to be!
Then my AT mourning kicked in. Almost like managing grief, I began to pine for the trail, no let’s rephrase that, I needed to complete the trail. I was overwhelmed with the drive to finish what I started in the spring, it was all-consuming.
It was mid-August, so was there enough time?
My shoulder pain was diagnosed as an elevated 1st rib. So with some healing time and help from doctors, physiotherapists and a chiropractor, I feel ready to go. About the covid, I feel 90%. The symptoms were terrible for about a week, and minor symptoms have been hanging around for the past couple of months, but nothing I can’t manage.
So I’m ready to go!
It is late in the season, so I plan to “FLIP-FLOP and continue my hike southbound from Katahdin in Maine. This will help me get through the White Mountains of New Hampshire before October. With a little luck, I will be hiking New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania later in the season to the Mason-Dixon line – my end of the Appalachian Trail!
There will be no parade, epic photos or cheering entourage, just me with a big smile and a dream fulfilled.
Watch the complete video series of Dudley’s Appalachian Trail adventure on YouTube – see the Appalachian Trail Diaries
UPDATE (August 29, 2022):
Dudley made the difficult and last-minute decision to suspend his hike until next year. He was not healing as well as anticipated or hoped.
UPDATE (August 21, 2023)
Dudley restarted his hike in 2023 on the same date and location he left in 2022. He summited Katahdin on August 20, 2023.