GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Recent Grand Valley State University graduate Mailyn Miller is getting ready for the hike of a lifetime.
"This is just a really big goal that I wanted to work towards," said Miller.
In late March, Miller will be making her way to Georgia to start her six-month hike on the Appalachian Trail.
Spanning from Georgia to Maine, the 2,200 mile trail passes through 14 states.
"I actually graduated early so that I could do the trail, " said Miller. "I had never been backpacking before up until I had heard about the Appalachian trail basically, and once I learned that backpacking was a thing, I knew that I was in love with it and it was for me."
Since committing to her twenty-two-hundred-mile hike, she's gotten multiple hiking and backpacking trips under her belt.
"I also do like longer hikes, seven eight mile day hikes or like backpacking trips to prepare," said Miller.
For this trail, however, Miller is also working on a different kind of strength as well.
"It's also a lot of mental preparation. They say that like one of the hardest parts of a thru hike is the mental game and just day in and day out, being out in the elements exposed to the weather. Just like every single day sleeping outside, sometimes it gets a little, you know, wearing on your mental health. "
As for why Miller would want to challenge herself like this...
"I am, personally feel very connected and with nature and like, the plants and animals around us, essentially. As a human species, we aren't separate from the world around us. And I think that being there and experiencing, it really solidifies that in us how important it is to preserve it."
Hikers on trips like these will stay in hotels or stop into towns to resupply. To help cover some of those funds, one of her family members has started a GoFundMe for her. If you're interested in learning more about her story, or how you can help, click here.
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