Before & After, New York & New Jersey on the AT
Before I was a thru-hiker, I was a section hiker
While living in NYC, I took advantage of holidays and long weekends to check off sections of the Appalachian Trail in New York and New Jersey. In two years and over a variety of seasons, I eventually completed both NY and NJ sections. I never thought I’d get a chance to thru-hike, so this was my way of experiencing the trail. But after I finished New Jersey with a 42-mile southbound section hike from High Point State Park to the Delaware Water Gap, I knew I wanted to change that.
When I revisited NY and NJ on my thru-hike it was a surreal experience. I could actually remember specific trees and boulders, taking breaks at viewpoints and where I camped. The best part was feeling how much I’d grown since I brought hiking into my life.
The landscape was different too, not just me. Both subtle and drastic changes in the terrain, only the seasons provide.
I saw the New York skyline and thought it was bizarre that I didn’t have to go back to Brooklyn, to catch a train and return to my apartment. I was passing through and the concept that I was walking from Maine to Georgia hit me all over again. Gratitude filling me up that I was making change happen and could visibly see how time passed.