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!


  1. I pray safety, good health, boldness in proclaiming the gospel and peace with the Father who is your constant companion upon you and those He places in your path.

  2. Zach - thanks so much for the update! I'm glad to hear that things are going well. I'm going to miss the text updates from you, but hey - at least I can still text you on Skype! And I'll be checking both here and on Facebook to see how you're doing.

    Also, thanks so much for the shout out for my trip to Egypt! Things are going awesome, I can't wait to tell you all about it once we're both done with our current adventures.

    Be blessed brother. I'm praying for you, and I am excited about all that God is going to do in and through you on the trail.

    I really like the question you posted on facebook: "Who am I when it's just me & God?" Finding the answer to that question in "experience, not words," like you said, will absolutely redefine the way you live your life. Man, I can't wait to talk to you once you're done with the're going to have SO much wisdom to share.

    Keep up the good work Zach!

    Your brother in Christ,