A Bit About Zach
Well first and foremost, I successfully thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2011.
Not only did I complete this trek, but the AT was my first backpacking trip. Of any distance. Ever.
I went into the Trail with zero backpacking experience and only moderate physical conditioning. I knew next to nothing about my gear; I had never built a fire, used my camp stove, or tossed a bear bag.
Yet despite these incompetencies I was able to join the 20-25% of hikers who successfully make it the whole way- because I took a gamble.
I bet that thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail was a mental challenge above all else.
I trained my brain with a few simple exercises in the months leading up to my departure. The payoff was immense. Not only did I complete my goal, I was able to thoroughly enjoy my experience- despite contracting West Nile virus half way through my hike.
I have since shared these mental exercises with aspiring thru-hikers in my first book Appalachian Trials: A Psychological and Emotional Guide to Thru-Hike the Appalachian Trail. I’ve received countless emails from those who’ve also completed the AT saying that the book played a profound role in their success.
Since thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2011, I’ve also completed hikes of the Pacific Crest Trail, Colorado Trail, Long Trail, Wonderland Trail, and many more shorter excursions.
Thru-hiking Coaching is for those who want more hands-on guidance.
Why You Should Schedule a Coaching Session with Me
Why do people hire personal trainers? The gym provides you all the tools to reach your fitness goals, but the trainer is the one who holds you accountable to these goals. Similarly, Appalachian Trials and The Trek are the gym, Thru-Hiking Coaching is your personal trainer. Like a trainer, I will simultaneously be your best friend and your worst enemy. We won’t stop until you’ve achieved your goal: to complete a thru-hike.
Eighty percent of AT hikers dedicate thousands of dollars and months (if not years) to preparing for their thru-hike, only to quit! Compared to the enormous expenses thru-hiking requires- quitting your job, purchasing thousands of dollars of gear and supplies, transportation to and from the trail- not to mention the emotional investment of uprooting your life to make this adventure possible- the cost of Thru-Hiking Coaching is trivial.
Thru-Hiking Coaching will help you:
- If you thrive with a hands-on approach. You will get the answers to your personal questions, guidance on how to effectively create your “lists” (if you’ve read the book, you know what this is), and additional explanation of everything covered in the book and what I’ve learned since overseeing the dozens of hikers on this site and beyond.
- If you aren’t the strongest visual learner (like myself). For those who learn better by doing and/or listening, I will work with you to ensure you properly assimilate all of the tactics outlined in the book.
- If you crave support in addition to the advice. I will be on your team pulling for you each of the five million steps along the way.
- If you have miscellaneous questions above and beyond what’s covered in Appalachian Trials. At this point I’ve seen every question in the book (figuratively speaking). And if I don’t have a good answer for you, I will find it.
- If you’re looking for a more detailed portrayal of what life is like on the Trail, including the most common pitfalls that other hikers fall into.
Perhaps you’re on the Trail and need some emergency assistance at a pivotal time in your journey (and in your life)- I will be your lifeline. Or maybe you recently completed a thru-hike and would benefit from some guidance with your next step(s)- I will advise.
All coaching sessions will happen via online video chat, unless client prefers an audio only format. Once booked, someone from The Trek team will reach out within 24 hours to schedule your session(s).
Whatever your concern, here’s our guarantee: If you’re not completely happy with your coaching experience, you will receive a 100% refund. Simple as that, no questions asked.