They call me Brave

The Whole Nine Yards of the Appalachian Trail

In 2014 I hiked the Appalachian Trail, unexpectable and unpredictable way. I wasn’t ready, I didn’t know about AT, I didn’t know how to deal with woods and wilderness and I was not a backpacker at all. So I’ve  got whole nine yards of it.

I was a trail runner from South Africa and didn’t know any single person in US. Guess I was the only hiker who was crying while was driving the last 6 miles of dirty road to the start point and looking to the endless inhabitant mountains.

Photo Album

So how I found myself at the Springer Mountain, starting point of the Appalachian Trail? I googled “long distance well marked trail” and found out about AT existence. Than googled “hiking project at AT”, found one, mailed to organiser that Russian journalist and South African trail runner would like to join the project on 2014. I was invited, bought an air ticket and landed in NYC, ready to follow my trail baddies and learn everythng from them. On my way to Springer Mountain I got a notification from organiser that he recently fought with some American journalists so he wouldn’t take no one journalist any more and I should go on my own. He must burn in hell.


I’m crying from fear at 6.5 miles before Springer Mountain

I phoned to ATC office just in case to ask if anybody and particular women ever walked AT on her own. Most of hikers go solo, so I could – that was the bottom line of my hour-long phone conversation with Laurie. I was given a ride to Springer Mountain and stepped into the woods with no idea if I was going to become a Mowgli. All others could laugh at my fears because they knew that there were a lot of people on the trail. They didn’t, they just gave me a nick name Brave at the first night gathering, once learned my story and listened my stupid questions about food and water, bears and snakes, what is “trail …. fairy? oh, magic…”, where is … Kalyazin? Kanadin? Sorry, Katahdin… and what we are going to cross first – Smokies or Rockies. I can’t believe now how stressed I was in this video of Stickman. My given name Brave at the mean time sounded pathetic for me.

Every AT hiker must have a trail name, that is a tradition and unwritten rule. Up to me my new name had too much fervour. That what I thought from the beginning. After certain events I got used to it. When others say “crazy” americans say “brave” and I like it.


Started feeling like real brave

I wasn’t sure for how long I would stay on the trail. I was inspired by crowds of people were trying to reach the finish point, Katahdin, in 2186 miles from Springer Mountain. So I did.

My How Tos were quite different from what I read, heard and saw from others especially about food, health and safety so probably I should share them later. Also I learned few lessons… actually not, better to say some hypothetic and intuitive knowledge were proved by Appalachian very clearly.

Lena Faber used to work as a journalist at a mainstream Russian newspaper, wrote books for a major publishing house, and directed her original concept on TV. In 2009, she moved to South Africa, taught at the university, took up running, and earned a silver medal at the World Masters Athletic Championship in California and, in the meantime, won an international photo contest with following up solo exhibition. In 2014 she "shut the door" and gone hiking the Appalachian Trail, cycling from Chicago to LA (US Route 66), from Maine to Florida, from London to Orkney, etc. Now in MidCoast, Maine.