Stories from the Trail

Joe Barnett: Why I Hike

Joe Barnett and Ev Cassel at Bear Mountain Bridge, New York.

I ‘discovered’ the Appalachian Trail when I was 9 years old on a family camping trip to Caledonia State Park in Pennsylvania. The Trail runs through the park and the first time I saw the A.T. sign “Maine-Georgia,” I was hooked. I have hiked for many reasons and, at one time, I envisioned hiking the whole Trail. Family and career shortened that vision to section hikes (600 + miles and counting) as time permitted. I love the woods and find peacefulness just being in them. I have hiked solo and cherished the solitude. I have hiked with my children and grandchildren and felt fortunate to introduce them to the woods and the hiking experience. I have hiked with friends and found the shared experience and companionship refreshing and renewing. All of these reasons satisfy one basic desire: to spend time on the A.T.