Graduation: a time for seniors to leave Anderson University and apply what they have learned in their career. For one senior life after graduation will begin with an opportunity of a lifetime. Bible major Heather Jo Anderson leaves Saturday night, May 10, for Georgia to begin her four-month journey to hike the Appalachian Trail. Hiking 2,168 miles from Georgia through north central Maine, Anderson will travel through 14 states by the beginning of the fall.
“This is going to be a time of self-discernment and time for God to move in my life,” said Anderson.
Anderson heard of the hike when she was 15 years old and sounded like it would be fun. Last April she decided to “purposefully not make plans after graduation” because she felt after graduation was the perfect time to accomplish this goal. She talked to Chad and Tess Rowe who have hiked the trail before and began to train last summer.
According to a website she has frequently visited, and from books she has been reading in preparation, about 2,000-3,000 people travel the trail a year with only 8 to 10 percent making the total distance.
“I feel that I can prove to myself that I can do this alone and have the time to worry about my future while on the trail,” added Anderson.
Though many people have discouraged her going alone due to safety and the timing of finding a job, Anderson needs to do this for herself. Anderson commented that not many people understand the reasons why I am hiking the trail but I need to do this for myself.
With shelters along the trails, camping and towns to get food, Anderson will begin her journey with about two weeks of food in her 40-pound backpack.
“I am excited to go and will worry about what my future hold when I get to that point towards the end of my trip,” said Anderson.
— AU student Stefanie Kinstle is a Mass Communications major at Anderson University and works in the AU Office of Media and Electronic Communications.