I’m Walking North

It’s been over a year since I decided to attempt a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. But it hasn’t been until recently where I decided to announce this to my friends. I will be leaving my jobs, selling my things, and have bought a oneway plane ticket to Atlanta, Georgia. I leave one month from today. The next five-ish months will be spent hiking back roughly 2189 miles from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine.

My life for the past three years has been consumed traveling the world to run a marathon on every continent. And by no means am I complaining, I have had the most amazing adventures all over the world. Now, I am in this transition period and the time to hike has come.

I personally will have no access to social media through the duration of my hike. My good friend John McNeil will be posting the link to blog updates with pictures to my instagram (@bobbyo28) and Facebook pages for me.

The plan to disconnect is to allow for a period of reflection while still providing updates to everyone through this blog. This isn’t going to be a fancy college writing piece. It will be the down and dirty of my raw thoughts on what it’s actually like to be thru hiking for the next few months. I’ve been on the fence in regards to whether I’ve wanted to publicly chronicle this journey in this time of detaching from the world. And after some long conversations with Ryan Sandford (who’s blogged and not blogged some amazing adventures), I’ve finally decided that down the road it will be cool to be able to look back on this and remember all the intricacies that would otherwise be forgotten.

That being said, I apologize for not returning texts, FB messages, etc., and ultimately just kind of going off the grid. The best way to reach me is by sending an email to robert.g.odonnell@gmail.com

When I first conceptualized the idea for this hike in the Fall of 2016, I discussed it with a bunch of my hiking buddies. No one more so then my dear friend, Rachel Collar. Rach was amazingly supportive and encouraging of this often just telling me, “It’s just a long walk”. And to “stop whining” about some of the difficulties I might face on this adventure because not many people are lucky enough to have the opportunity to just hike for five months. And she was right.

Sadly, Rach isn’t here with us any more. And I miss her everyday. So the entirety of this hike is dedicated to her, and I’ll just be walking for both of us. I’m not sure if I would have been able to make this leap of faith without her.

I’m not sure what will happen, but I know which direction I’m headed at least.


Halifax, Massachusetts- March 10, 2018


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Taking a long walk.

6 thoughts on “I’m Walking North”

  1. No matter what happens, the AT will change your perspective on life, and will become a part of your life. 14 years later, and I still dream of the AT and would do it all again. You will meet lifelong friends, and memories for a lifetime.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bobby- good luck. – so proud of you- think of Rach being a little angle on your shoulder- you’ll always be safe. Can’t wait to follow your adventures!! Susan

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree that Rachel will be your guardian angel on this trip! I can’t wait til your friend starts updating your blog and we get to come along with you on your adventure! Good luck and enjoy! We’ll be waiting for you back here in New England!
    What will be your trail name?


  4. Best of luck on your journey, Robert. I look forward to receiving your blog updates and hearing about your experiences on the trail.
    Hiking the AT has been a dream of mine since middle school and I plan to take shot it at some point once the moons have aligned for me.
    I hope to be able to meet you on the trail once you reach the Whites.
    Hike on…
    Ralph (Tagalong)
    Londonderry NH


  5. Wishing you the best on your adventure. Hoping you meet many fine folks along the way and find the peace, beauty and solitude the trail has to offer. I admire your sense of adventure and fortuitous. Be safe. Love you, Dad


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