The power of the Appalachian trail: Reimagining the nature narrative through Autohistoria-teoría
This study situates the Appalachian Trail (AT) as a powerful place connecting multiple communities with varying identities, abilities, and personalities, a place where we can consider our radical interconnectedness in a way that moves beyond wilderness ideology and settler colonialism through the construction of an inclusive narrative about experiences in nature. I engage in this work as a rejection of the oppressive ideologies that shape our wilderness narratives, and as a critical examination of the ways I perpetuate these ideologies through my actions as thru-hiker/scholar. The procedure for this study included the enactment of autohistoria-teoría, a method developed by Gloria E. Anzaldúa to process and theorize the divisions that mold our experiences. Out of this enactment developed (and continues) a deep understanding of how the spirit of nonhumans contributes to the language of place. Every place has a story to tell, one that includes the perspectives of all who have inhabited it, human and nonhuman. Like many stories, however, often, only one side is presented. The story of the AT is no exception. To enact decolonial transformation, I give you a magical account of my thru-hiker experience.