Not so for Garrett and Morgan Smith, Grand Valley State University seniors who will hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, beginning at the end of the month.
“We are not quitting careers for this,” Garrett said. “After graduation, it is time to go off of the grid for a little bit.”
After spending so much time hitting the books, internships and taking exams, the couple says it’s time to take a break before settling into adulthood. They will spend the next several months on one of the world’s longest marked footpaths. The trail stretches 2,180 miles, from Maine to Georgia.
The couple said they are going into the experience with no expectations, and will take everything day by day.
“It is hard to look forward to any one thing, as you’re going through 14 different states during it,” Garrett said. “I can’t wait.”
Garrett said if he had to pick one thing he’s most excited about, it would be the views along the trail.
“The scenery is what I am most looking forward to,” he said. “Between Instagram and Facebook, we’ve seen a lot of photos.”
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy oversees the path. A national scenic trail under federal protection, 2 million people visit it annually, including about 2,000 who try the 14-state journey.
“We intend to walk the entire length of the trail, and it will take us about five months,” Garrett said. “That is, if we average about 15 miles per day.”
The couple will be driven to the trail head in Georgia, where they will start their trek northward on April 28.
The couple’s journey can be followed on their Facebook page: “georgiatomaine.”
To read the whole story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.