Emily Swift is a 25 year old, bouncy haired blond with a smile that can light up a room (not to mention perfect hair for backpacking because it always looks great). It was what earned her the nickname Goldilocks on the trail. "Everyone has a nickname, and you don't usually find out their real names until miles into the hike", she confessed. When asked why she wanted to do this, she said she really just wanted to get away from mainstream civilization, technology and live in Nature with as little as possible. She has been contemplating lots of ideas for her life, one of which is living in a tiny house. She thought this would be a great way to see if she could live with the basic needs. Emily was at a point in her life where nothing was holding her back. Years of research and planning did not happen, she just plumb did it.
Emily camped without a tent. She used a hammock system which is basically a hammock with a little cover to keep you dry. When she got above tree level in New Hampshire she was invited to share a friends tent because without trees, there is no place for a hammock.
"Once you are on the trail, you don't think in terms of miles really, it's more about places and landmarks." When the hikers were sitting around and talking at dinner Emily's mom could barely understand the conversations, "Hikers kind of have their very own lingo".
|On the trail the little things and people are|
the only things that matter!
The whole trip cost Emily around $5,000. When Emily was low on funds, she took a few days off from hiking in Damascus (a town at the very southern end of Virginia) and got a job cleaning and painting at a restaraunt called Bobo McFarlands. The couple fed her three awesome meals a day and paid her a fair wage, looked after her well-being and almost convinced her to stay on. Emily hopes to visit them next year at Trail days, an annual festival in the town that celebrates the Appalachian trail.
|Vanessa and Joel of Bobo McFarlands with Emily|
Maine was a disappointment as well, Emily said that they don't seem to believe in bridges or movie theaters. The last leg of the trip is 100 miles of pure wilderness so you are suppose to pack food and provisions for 10 days because there is no towns to stop at. After all the rain fall, the rivers were pretty much flooded. You still had to get to the other side to continue on the trail. There were some very scary times trying to cross where she would have been swept away if it had not been for a rope around her waist. Emily and all belongings got wet. She spent the night shivering and cold. They had had enough of that so they finished the last 100 miles in five days.
|Goldilocks, Downhill and Toasty|
What hike is next on your list? " Colorado, there is a 400 mile hike that I would like to do."
That should be a piece of cake Emily!
In mainstream life what's next? "I realized I really missed cooking. Bonding over a meal, sharing stories and getting to know people made me realize that I would like to go back to school for culinary. Food is the very essence of what brings people together wherever you are".