WP_20150830_011I am now sitting in a Days Inn in Bangor ME writing these words.  So strange to think that this morning I completed my thru hike atop Mt Katahdin A man and his girlfriend picked me up as I held out my thumb on the edge of the park and decided to drive me over an hour to the city.  Along the way I shared my story and he told me he was an ordained minister and God told him to turn around and pick me up. I knew that God would provide. He did.  Tomorrow I fly to Denver to be with my wife, daughter, and grandson.

After a restful night in a shelter the Abol Bridge State Park, I hiked an enjoyable 10 miles to Katahdin State Park to stage my assault on Mt K. If the rest of the trail was this nice, everyone would do it. The park puts the thru hikers away from the general public at a shelter called the Birches. Happy Warrior, Ascot and Sasparilla, Fonz, Loon, Nurse, Capt K, Easy, and a really nice kid who I just can’t remember his name rounded out the group for the next day. I built a fire, embarrassing, the first one I started the entire trip, so it was about time, and we sat around the ring talking trail.

Today everyone was up early, like Christmas morning. Fittingly I got lost, got mad and got back to the trail-head by 630.  I took my pack and headed north for one last time. The trail was only 5 miles but five miles up, way up, up above treeline. The path took me past waterfalls and over boulders bigger than a large truck. I hiked alone an found my self incredibly somber despite the happy occasion. As I climbed I reflected on just how I got here and honestly I’m not quite sure. I started on March 31st, my youngest son, Robby’s birthday. It was truly sobering. Why I didn’t quit and why I was fortunate enough to finish in one calendar year to be considered a thru hiker, I am not quite sure. An easy first mile was interrupted by a grueling 2.5 mile rock scramble. The AT really knows how to finish the 14 state 2189.2 mile trail. Eventually the trail leveled off for the last mile and a half but itseemed to take forever. Fog rolled in, the wind blew, no view to be had. It was perfect, just how I pictured it.

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And then there it was, a simple sign, MOUNT KATAHDIN. I stopped in my tracks at first sight. A few day hikers, Easy, Ascot and Sasparilla were busy finishing their photo shoot. They were so happy, so excited, “Phantom, you made it!” they exclaimed at different points. I choked up, I knew I would, then I went to one knee, thanked God for me and for everyone supporting me. Around my neck I wore my and my Lori’s wooden crosses given to us in Virginia. I clutched them tightly and held onto Aaron’s Keystone lift maintenance hat. Then from out of my pocket, I took a pill bottle that I have been carrying for much of the trail. It held a few ashes, remnants from my oldest son’s lifeless body. There on this special mountain I released his dust into the wind and onto the rocks. I wept. I made myself back to the trail head. I let him go. I was done.

The day is August 30, 2015. Aaron would have been 32 today, born August 30, 1983


57 thoughts on “WE DID IT, WE

  1. God will always provide for His children. I believe that what you have done was an honorable and memorable thing for your son Aaron. May your guardian angel watch over you always. Here are 2 of my favorite Bible verses that usually help me through the day.

    1 Thessalonians 5:18
    Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

    Psalm 100
    Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
    Worship the LORD with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
    Know that the LORD is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
    Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
    For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

    Have a peaceful rest of your journey to those whom you love and who love you.


      1. Please check out my video on you tube.com. just search for Andy Davidson thru hiking thru life. its in 3 parts and lasts about an hour. it will make you laugh and make you think. Regards, Andy


      1. You are more than welcome Andy. I would bring you again in an instant. You are welcome to add me on facebook if you would like to. Keep in touch and may God be with you and your family, God Bless you, and peace be with you.


      2. Please check out my video on you tube.com. just search for Andy Davidson thru hiking thru life. its in 3 parts and lasts about an hour. it will make you laugh and make you think. Regards, Andy


  2. Hey Andy, very proud of you!!!!!! Not sure if you remember me……..we hiked all morning after staying at the Overmountain Shelter a LONG time ago in TN/NC. I’m the section hiker/trail volunteer from Charlotte. I hope it brings some peace to your life.



  3. Your old coach is proud of your accomplishment. My heart went out to you through this trip as I followed you. The loss of a son is incomprehensible, a closer knowledge of and walk with our Savior is beyond measure. Congratulations and God bless you and your family.


  4. We rejoice with you!!!!! Sharing your story in church and on facebook! So proud of you for sticking with it and not giving up! Give your wife our best and God bless you both!


  5. Oh Andy. So moving. You are a wonderful writer. This is heart wrenching and wonderful at the same time. This has been a long journey, so too is life. I know you will continue on with the same perseverance, faith, and love…I’m glad that you are going home.


  6. Bravo Andy, what a touching ending.
    I struggled to the top w/ Bob in heavy fog, as well. But worth the effort to celebrate his accomplishment. Good to be w/family in NC. Please keep in touch.


  7. Way to go brother. Parade Magazine had a feature article in this past Sunday’s paper about the AT. Very few thruhikers actually make it all the way. You are a special individual for so many reasons as this journey has demonstrated.

    Your brother,



      1. Please check out my video on you tube.com. just search for Andy Davidson thru hiking thru life. its in 3 parts and lasts about an hour. it will make you laugh and make you think. Regards, Andy


  8. Andy,

    My brother, my apologies for the late comment on your success however I am here and with you in spirit as you have been for me. Happy Birthday to Aaron your beautiful boy who I have never met but wish I could have enjoyed a scoot on the Harley’s together. On our ride I would have told Aaron what I thought about you and how important you are to me and my family and the numerous Marines and Sailors you helped throughout your career.

    You are an amazing man, who has done an amazing thing that I must say is a cherry on top of the other fantastic things you have accomplished throughout your life. Congratulations on making the movement that so many say they will but never do. Congratulations on having a son that you loved, cherished, and whom loved you as well. Congratulations on being a strong and just man who has made the world a better place, while you take so little you give a tremendous amount.

    Tears in my eyes I write these words of admiration for yourself and too Aaron I say happy birthday brother, you are now a part of the most beautiful place on earth and finished an astounding journey with your father. May you rest in the hills, dance in the wind, swim in the rivers, and play in the wilderness for an eternity.

    Semper Fidelis,



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