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A dream comes true by conquering the AT


By Teresa P. Crowder
Freelance Writer

The Appalachian Trail beckons daily everyday adventure seekers, nature lovers, enthusiastic explorers, and soul searchers of all ages and backgrounds.
Hikers may spend a day, a week, or months on the trails solo or in a group. Sarah Collie from Taylors Valley, Virginia, has always wanted to hike this tempting footpath that encompasses over 2000 miles of the most scenic, wild, wooded, pastoral, and
culturally vibrant lands
of the Appalachian Mountains.
Shortly after graduating from Milligan College, Sarah began her solo journey in Maine and ended it in Georgia taking five months and eleven days. Collie wanted to start in Maine and hike the harder terrain first.
The challenge of hiking through fourteen states by yourself in your early twenties was a dream Collie intended to realize. From the very beginning, Sarah found friends forever sharing her passion and pursuit throughout her journey as times can be emotionally and physically straining, spending this much time in the woods away from everything and everyone you know and love.
Hiking through four pairs of shoes, living on peanut butter and small, easy packaged meals, filtering your water, and disconnecting from the world and participating in the paradise of the trail changed Sarah. Collie came to the realization through this experience that she could do anything. “‘I can do anything’ is easily said, most often considered but rarely
done, as we limit ourselves from fully following our passion and pursuing our purpose,” she said. “It is my life. I found out my love is farming and being outdoors as well. Traveling, this is what I want
to do.”
Some of the other highlights of her journey were the various stops to rest at the farm–to–table hostels in which she enjoyed the generous offerings of fresh produce instead of the ever-plenty supply of processed snacks and foods so easily obtainable.
After this experience, Sarah decided to move clear across the country to Washington state to work at the Floret Farm. She embraced her love of the outdoors and farming, growing flowers, harvesting vegetables, and cultivating community. Collie has also worked for the Appalachian Sustainable Development organization as a Greenhouse Supervisor and Groundwork Mentor. Collie has plans
to start her own farming business and hike the Pacific Crest Trail and
the Continental Divide Trail.
Hiking through the “Big 3”, Collie will eventually earn the Triple Crown. Determined and fueled with desire, Collie has found her niche in the outdoors with a “can do and will do attitude.”
This momentum was grounded and grown within her first conquest of hiking the Appalachian Trail. There is no stopping this Appalachian agriculturist.