I’m sitting on the front steps of my suburban Orange County, CA home. It’s early and the sun hasn’t even peeked over the mountains. I’m waiting for my hiking buddy, Carol, to pick me up for an early morning hike. I’m usually up early but sitting outside quietly, I notice things take on a different appearance in those predawn hours.  As the morning fog creeps up the street and the ink black crows fly silently overhead, there is a feeling of complete aloneness even though you know the houses around you are filled with families that still slumber. 

In a short five months, I will begin my thru hike of the AT and as I sit here, I try to imagine what it will feel like in those moments of complete and utter solitude. My mind flashes to the TV show The Walking Dead. Yes, I’m a little older but something about that human / zombie existence has always fascinated me (definitely not the nashing teeth and the tearing of flesh part)!

When I was much younger I remember watching the movie Night of the Living Dead, not a remake the original. Even then my younger self couldn’t help but run through  scenarios of how I would make my escapehow I would live. I had the ultimate zombie apocalypse plan ready to go before millennials were even a gleam in their parents eye!

I’ve always wondered what those scenarios meant. Was I running from something or just embracing the ultimate test in self-preservation? I’m not sure I’ve ever really answered that question.  As my ride to the trail head arrives I think to myself, there’s something very primal about being alone in the woods and this unlikely wanderer is ready to embrace that, zombies and all!