Appalachian Trail journals

1983 Journal

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1983 Hiker Yearbook

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Welcome, my name is Marcel Montville, and the following story is the retelling of my 1983 thru-hike along the Appalachian trail with references taken from the journal I kept along the way.

My original journal dwells less on storytelling, and more on miles or personal accomplishment. At the time, I felt that no one would be interested in an average guy embarking on an extended backpacking trip so I wrote the journal for the sole purpose to spark personal memories. For me, at first, it wasn't about people as much as it being a personal experience so many names had not been written down. My original journal has lived up to the task of sparking those memories within me, but I'm afraid that it must be quite boring for another to read through; therefor, I have edited it to make it read more like a story, while adding the details of those stories that I am still able to remember.

People always ask: "Why did you hike the Appalachian Trail?" This question reminds me of an excerpt from one of Louis Bogan's writings published in 1980. She was appointed the fourth Poet Laureate to the Library of Congress in 1945, and served as editor of The New Yorker magazine for nearly 40 years. The excerpt is as follows:

"The Initial Mystery that attends any journey is how did the traveler reach
his starting point in the first place.

- Louise Bogan (from "Journey Around My Room")

Well....up until stepping onto the Appalachian Trail (A.T.), I had always lived within an environmental bubble which I controlled. Once on the trail, that suddenly changed. No more could I adapt my environment, but indeed I had to adapt to the environment around me. Freedom had its cost, but freedom was what I needed at that time. You see, I had been living at home with my parents while working at the same job for 10 years. By this time I had been dreaming of hiking the A.T. for about six or seven years. I needed to accomplish something, and until that time in my life I had lived a string of non-accomplishments. It was time to change that at all costs. I needed to show that I was able to finally finish something on my own.

During the first part of my journey, I did hit a lot of rain, and this was the first time in my life that weather affected my mental outlook. As you may know, living outdoors at the mercy of nature changes one's perspective on their place and their vulnerability. It did not take long to realize I had embarked on a life changing journey, but just how it would change me only time would tell.

One thing was certain.... It was time for an adventure!



On with the journey!

Gonzo! Appalachian Trail Journals ©1983
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