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.
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.
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:
Initial Mystery that attends any journey is how did the traveler
his starting point in the first place."
Louise Bogan (from "Journey Around My Room")
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.
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.
thing was certain.... It was time for an adventure!
with the journey!