Lynsey and Trevor Abrams will hike the length of the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness of mental illness and to raise funds for the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. (Dylan Slagle / Carroll County Times)
It may be the epitome of a trek: 2,190 miles, from Springer Mountain in northwest Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, through forest and over mountains, exposed to rain and sleet and the occasional wildfire.
It's the Appalachian Trail and, starting Tuesday, March 28, it will be the world for Eldersburg couple Lynsey and Trevor Abrams, who will attempt a thorough hike of the entire path.
"It's five-and-a-half to six months, 18 to 20 miles a day," Trevor, 39, said. "There are shelters or you can sleep in a tent if you want."
What drives two people with little hiking or running experience — Lynsey jokes that the one half-marathon she ran nearly killed her — to set off on such an adventure?
"I am hiking for mental wellness. I have been trying to raise some awareness and funds for the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation," Lynsey, 31, said. "I am a sufferer of depression, so hiking the trail last year really helped me out a lot."
"I don't receive a penny of it," she said. "It is strictly to raise awareness and help them raise funds for research."
This will not be the first time the Abramses attempt the Appalachian Trail. The pair actually made it 1,120 miles in 2016, persevering through all kinds of weather and a 14-mile forced detour around a wildfire before an injury brought an end to that attempt.
"I hiked all the way to Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, and I had hiked 600 miles injured — I thought I had bad tendinitis or some sort of mild ailment and just kind of ignored it and pushed through it," Lynsey said.
"I decided to take two weeks off while I was around Maryland and catch up with [Trevor] later and got an X-ray and found out I had a stress fracture in my hip. I decided I was done for the year."
But despite a hard hike and hip injury, the couple can't wait to get back on the trail. They found that what some people might call hardships they found restful, and they were not alone.
"You notice a lot of people on the trail that suffer from mental illness of various kinds and they go out there to rest their minds a little bit and leave the trail feeling a lot better mentally," Lynsey said. "People that suffer from chronic depression, it doesn't go away. It's not going to cure your depression or anything, but you definitely come out feeling a lot more confident in yourself."
Part of that experience of leaving the world, and perhaps your troubles, behind on the trail is the adoption of trail names. Lynsey is known as "Stubbs," and Trevor is "Frisbee."
Exercise can help with depression, as can shorter stints hiking or camping in the woods. But for Lynsey and Trevor, they have found the magic number to be 60 — 60 days in the woods — and the Appalachian Trail the perfect place to find themselves by getting lost.
"At about 60 days you realize you are ready to become this different person," Trevor said. "To realize you smell and you don't care. Everything you put in your pack you really don't need in your pack. You realize what you really need and what you don't really need in life."