The Eagle's Tale

Trailed by passion

Senior set to hike Appalachian Mountains

Senior+Matthew+Wright+hikes+a+trail.
Senior Matthew Wright hikes a trail.

Senior Matthew Wright hikes a trail.

Courtesy of Matthew Wright

Courtesy of Matthew Wright

Senior Matthew Wright hikes a trail.

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One foot lays a rugged track in nature as the other drives forward on the 2,190 mile trek before him. When senior Matthew Wright looks off into the distance, all he sees is endless mountains and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Hiking some of the best and toughest trails, the adventurist has hiked Brush Creek Lakes, Mount Elbert, Mt Massive, and a few other 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado.  With his range of experience, Wright said he found his passion to attempt a “thru-hike” this summer on the Appalachian Trail.

“I’ve been backpacking since I was 13 or so,” Wright said. “In the summer, I spent a lot of time out in Colorado and realized I wanted to do it and really challenge myself. “

Wright plans on hitting the trail June 5 by flying to Portland, Maine where he will then travel to a nearby town. He will finish in Springer Mountain, Georgia where his parents will meet him and pick him up.

“They have shuttles that drive to the trail, and I’ll start going,” Wright said.

There’s parts of the trail I’m a little nervous about in areas I’ve never been that are pretty remote”

— Matthew Wright, 12

As Wright said he has set goals to help him conquer the four to five month trek.

“I want to prove to myself that I can do it,” Wright said. “Also, I want to make good time. I don’t want to be out there forever. I want to finish it in four and a half months.”

The Appalachian Trail is an extremely popular trail, attracting around 3 million people per year and 3,000 for a “thru-hike.”

“I’m excited to do something I’ve never done before and meet new people,”  Wright said. “My goal is to finish it, and I’m hoping to prove to myself I can do it. I don’t think anyone’s as crazy as I am.”

The trail consists of a 6,643 miles high elevation as well the lowest elevation, 124 miles.

“There’s parts of the trail I’m a little nervous about, areas I’ve never been that are pretty remote,” Wright said. “I’ll have a GPS tracker so I can keep in contact.”

Because disease and sanitation may be a risk factor, Wright said he has taken steps to protect his health. 

“I’ll learn how to be taking care of myself for five months alone,” Wright said. “There are ticks in Maine that are supposed to be pretty bad. However, I’m going to be careful with those.”

Wright said he said he will bring items to keep him entertained while alone on the hike.

“I’ll have a lot of alone time, so I’ll take things to do like music and books,” Wright said. “I might want to learn a new language or something.”

I’m hoping to prove to myself I can do it. I don’t think anyone’s as crazy as I am.”

— Matthew Wright, 12

Although Wright’s plan may be unique for someone right out of high school, Wright said his parents support his decision.

“My dad feels pretty good about it because we’ve been on so many trips together,” Wright said. “My mom isn’t too sure about it I don’t think. She knows it’ll be good for me, but she doesn’t want me to leave. However, they’ll support me whatever I do.”

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About the Writer
Mackenzie Grimes, Staff Reporter
Hello. I am Mackenzie Grimes and in the last year of my high school career. I enjoy writing, fishing, competing in track and field, working out, and being with friends and family. God is a huge part of my life and the center of all the things I love and enjoy. I am more than...
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