Holt reaches journey’s end

Published 11:06 pm Friday, December 3, 2010

Editor’s note: Matt Holt of Polk County, who has spent much of the last seven months hiking the Appalachian Trail to raise funds for the nonprofit organization Walking for Art, has shared thoughts with Bulletin readers during his journey. The following is his submission, sent after he reached the northern end of the trail in Maine.

On Oct. 6, the greatest journey of my life ended. It began some seven months before at Springer Mountain, GA, and ended Oct. 6 at Mt. Katahdin in central Maine.

I have now had the time to digest and reflect on the experience, which to date tested me more than any other challenge I have endured. My walk from Georgia to Maine was consistently trying on both mind and body.

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There were moments of peace, calm, and reflection, of joy and happiness; but by in large, my days in the woods consisted of walking as far as I could, maximally exerting myself as much as I could in one day. &bsp;

A day on trail started by breaking down camp, eating, walking, eating, setting up camp, eating, sleeping. This became the routine of my life for seven months. My longest day consisted of walking 30 miles.

I loved the time I spent in the woods and it has been an interesting process readjusting to the real world. I wish I could have been in greater contact with the Tryon Daily Bulletin and folks back home, but it became apparent that in order to successfully complete a through-hike and become one of the few who walks the 2,179-mile long trail in a season, I had to focus all of my energy and time on hiking.

It was not as romantic an experience as I had hoped, but none the less I learned much and feel empowered by the accomplishment of successfully walking more than five million steps to complete the entirety of the Appalachian trail in one season.

I close by saying this I am truly fortunate to have had the opportunity to walk the Appalachian Trail. Having the opportunity to take seven months to go on a journey reminded me, there are many out there less fortunate than myself. I ask those who read this to remember how fortunate you are, and be active in paying it forward.

All those reading this in and around the Bulletins circulation area are blessed to be living in one of the most beautiful places in the country, so look at things around you big and small and remember how great it is to be alive.

If after reading about my journey you have been inspired, I urge you to look into the non-profit I was fundraising for: Walking for Art. By going to www.walkingforart.wordpress.com you can find out more about my journey and how you can help others less fortunate with their dreams.