One Of The Fastest Women To Hike The Appalachian Trail Shares How She Did It and What She Learned

A couple of years back, Liz “Snorkel” Thomas walked from Georgia to Maine on the Appalachian Trail. At the time, she became the fastest woman to do this without a support team—and she did it completely solo.

The 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail cover the highest mountains on the East Coast. She hiked through fields of boulders, forded powerful rivers, and chased away a dozen snakes.

She kept walking and walking, even at night in the rain. In total, She climbed almost half a million feet of elevation—equivalent to hiking Mount Everest from sea level 16 times.

To maintain her record-breaking pace, Liz knew she would have to stay motivated, upbeat, and levelheaded through months of walking mostly alone. She developed a strategy for keeping her heart in the game and having fun every day. It helped her quiet the doubting voices in her head asking questions like, Are you strong enough to actually do this? and Why are you pushing so hard when others aren’t even awake yet? And, more troubling, the one that told her, You don’t deserve to achieve this.

Since her Appalachian Trail journey, Liz has gone on to many other hikes that are longer, faster, and more technical. She has found the strategy she developed on the AT continues to apply to her life, outdoors and in.

Here are the lessons that helped Liz Thomas stay mentally and physically strong over the course of 2,181 miles and two and a half months in the woods…


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