May 21, 2011

On the Appalachian Trail: Journal One

I'm here in a hotel in hotel in Franklin, NC and I don't have much time before I should get off this computer, but I'll talk as much as I can about the 107 miles I've covered so far!

The biggest challenge for me has been to be away from any people I am close to that I can lean on, whether friends or family. God has really been teaching me how to rely on Him and only on Him; not on other people. For the first few days the only thing that kept me emotionally stable was the Word; I'm fairly normalized now to this lifestyle, but I still need to read the Bible and spend time with God twice a day or so and constantly pray to keep connecting with Him. I can't imagine what five months of this is gonna do to me.

God has sent people at the right times; I ran into a Christian couple several days ago who gave me some good advice about the trail and prayed for me. That was an extremely encouraging experience... there have been other moments of provision similar to it, but that's the only one so far that's ended with prayer!

Physically I've been adjusting well and have been able to pace myself healthily. I'm forcing myself to eat a ton and stay super-hydrated (my goal is to have to pee several times a day because I'm so hydrated... but perhaps you didn't want to know that). After this rest day I'll be doing at least 16 miles a day, which is about 8 hours of hiking (which is pretty easy to do at this point).

As far as adventure and stories go, I hitchhiked for the first time a few days ago and am getting better (I am certain my theater degree has helped me out with this). I camped on top of a mountain in the middle of a rain storm and got soaking wet, except I was in the middle of the cloud and not the actual rain (50 degrees, high winds and soaking wet mist everywhere) and I have camped on top of a mountain under clear stars having watched the sun go down over the horizon then watched it come up. I'm carrying about 35-40 pounds and am using two wooden walking sticks for support. I've climbed many a high mountain and do several mountains a day, and have met some extremely interesting (usually enjoyably interesting) people. Check my Facebook profile ( for more current updates as I'll be texting updates to that number.

Thank you all for your prayers; my current requests are that I would continue to stand strong in Christ out here in a very new place and that my body would hold together and heal quickly when injured and that I would have the wisdom to deal with those things. I also want to mention friends going on adventures of their own: Chris Rowekamp is going to Cairo to work with missionaries and Timothy Meadors is going to Hungary to do the same. Pray that they would grow, be safe, and glorify God with their time there!

May 9, 2011

Pray For Me

I have not been blogging much not for lack of experiences that I really should have shared with you all and thoughts that I wanted to get out there, but rather an unfortunate deferred interest in blogging caused by distraction. I've been wrapping up my college experience and planning to hike the Appalachian Trail, which motivates this post.

I will be "blogging" from the trail by mailing posts to my wonderful mother to post here (they should feed through automatically to Facebook as well). The purpose of my hike is ultimately to glorify God through walking it in faithfulness and making it through by his provision and touching as many people as possible along the way for the Kingdom of God. Through the blog I will let you peek into what's going on.

Several people have asked about addresses of the post offices and other locations I will be checking for mail. They are posted below. But...

The article will tell you about how to pack a package for a thru-hiker, if indeed you would like to send me a package. If you're sending a letter, no worries, it's just paper. Try to send the mail no earlier than 2 weeks before my estimated arrival times.

The article doesn't make this clear:

The address label going to a POST OFFICE should read:

Zach Armstrong
c/o General Delivery
[Town], [State] [Zip Code]

HOLD FOR AT HIKER, E.T.A. ##/## [From Chart]

The address label going to a BUSINESS should read:

Zach Armstrong
c/o [Business's Name]
[Street Address]
[Town], [State] [Zip Code]

HOLD FOR AT HIKER, E.T.A. ##/## [From Chart]


ETA (highly changeable)

Name of Location



May 22 - May 24

Three Eagles Outfitter

78 Siler RD

Franklin, NC 28734


May 31 - June 4

Bluff Mountain Outfitters

PO Box 114

Hot Springs, NC 28743-9231


June 9 – June 13

Kincora Hiking Hostel

1278 Dennis Cove RD

Hampton, TN 37658


June 22 - June 28

Pearisburg Post Office

206 N Main Street

Pearisburg, VA 24134-9998


July 12 - July 16

US211/HOME (45 min from AT)

7708 Riverside Farm Road

Marshall, VA 20115


July 25 – July 28

Boiling Springs Post Office

3 E 1st Street

Boiling Springs, PA 17007-9998


August 10 – August 12

Glenwood Post Office

958 Country RT 517

Glenwood, NJ 07417-9998


August 24 – August 26

Chesire Post Office

214 Church ST

Chesire, MA 01225-9998


September 6 – September 8

Glencliff Post Office

1385 NH Route 25

Unit 1

Glencliff, NH 03238-9998


September 23- September 25

Caratunk Post Office

172 Main St

Caratunk, ME 04925-9998

Well, I'm leaving in two days. God has really prepared me for this emotionally; I could name instances where he really moved in my heart but I'll allow those to stay private moments between myself and those who were there to listen and/or pray for me.

As I titled the post, please pray for me. I will be relying on God very much and I want to glorify him with this trip; I want to seek his Kingdom first and be changed by it all. It has been confirmed through much prayer and speaking to others that the Trail is where I'm supposed to go... it really is a stepping out on the water moment.

I am in the midst of the most uncertain point in my life so far. I have no job lined up, no grad school to go to. I have no prospects to start a family anytime soon. My family is going through a lot. I am about to embark on a five month journey through the wilderness depending upon a God whom I have never seen.

Perhaps "uncertain" is the wrong word, because I have given up my worries about it all. I can only point to God for the peace that dwells in my heart about these things... perhaps we will call these times "reliant." Yes, I am in the midst of the most reliant point in my life so far. I trust that God is going to fill all the blanks, all the questions, all the unknowns, with Himself, however that ends up manifesting itself.

When you here what happens, you must either call me crazy (Freud and Hume will help you out there), a liar, or right. If I am crazy, pity me. If I am lying, avoid me. If I am right, follow me as I follow Christ. I can in no way promise to be perfect, but I can promise to follow the perfect.

And in two days I will be following Him from Springer Mountain to Mount Katahdin.