Main Text

Ryan's  Story

"Small Moments"
Written Submission


Show Vote Only

Image

Story Intro

My mom’s uncle Roger was waiting for me at the summit of Springer Mountain.

He knew I would start that day, but I didn’t know he’d planned to meet me. He had hiked the trail southbound almost twenty years earlier as Many Sleeps, and served as a caretaker on Springer for years.

Many thru-hikers saw his long white beard and skinny frame at the start of their journeys, and remembered him long after they finished.

I was lucky. I didn’t just get to see him at the start of my hike; he’s the reason I was there at all. Roger got Mom into backpacking. Mom got me into it. They were both with me for my first taste of the Appalachian Trail, when I was eleven years old.

They were both with me when I started my own thru-hike in 2014. Roger was leaning against a tree. Mom was in my pack. Cancer killed her before she got to hike the whole trail, so I carried her ashes with me. A posthumous thru-hiker.

Both were with me at the end of the trail, too. My hike had become a major family event.

During the trek north, I saw all three of Mom’s sisters, my brother, Dad, two cousins, and even members of my girlfriend’s family (we got married the year after I finished).

Rich Text

The day I reached Baxter State Park with three friends I’d met along the way, we were picked up by Dad and my girlfriend and taken back to a pair of rental cabins. Roger was there with two of his sisters. My brother had brought his wife and young son. One of Mom’s sisters was there, too. Roger, my aunt, my brother, and my girlfriend all hiked Katahdin with us the next day. They were there when I crossed the finish line. Mom was with me for all of it...

Vote for Ryan's Story Text

Vote for Ryan's Story

Step OneEnter your email address* below to confirm your identity.

Step Two: Click the button that appears to cast your vote! You can vote once every 24 hours.

Time left to vote:

Countdown

1 1 57

Rich Text

Voting has ended for this round.

Required Email Form - Ryan's Story

*Your email address is used for authentification purposes only, with the sole exception being your choice to opt into future myATstory updates. All personal information will be kept confidential by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and will not be shared with external parties.


myATstory Logo

myATstory Contest
Create your own contest for free with ShortStack