Appalachian Trail Project

Appalachian Trail Project

On February 18, Nyle Sockbeson, our Project Venture Team Lead, began his 4-6 month thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail (AT). The AT starts at Springer Mountain in Georgia and spans 2,198.4 miles to the northern terminus of sacred Katahdin in Maine. The trail goes through 14 states, all which occupy Indigenous lands. We hope to raise awareness for our relatives Indigenous lands which the AT occupies. We invite you to keep up with Nyle’s journey on our social media!

CLICK HERE to support Wabanaki people’s accessibility to outdoor recreation


Nyle’s Journal

Date: July 26, 2023

📍 Wabanaki Confederacy | Mileage completed: 2198.4

On Wednesday, July 19th, our WPHW team member, Nyle Sockbeson, returned from his long journey of hiking the Appalachian Trail. We congratulated him on his success upon his return. We want to extend a big thank you to everyone who has supported Nyle and has donated to increase outdoor recreation opportunities for Wabanaki individuals. We are very proud of Nyle and are so happy we got to share his journey with you all. Woliwon!💜⁠

”Mother Ktaten, thank you for your love and guidance. Thank you for protecting our Wabanaki people. You are our heartbeat and the source of our creation. Mother Ktaten holds the most wisdom of any land. Her presence is overwhelmingly beautiful and equally powerful. Mother Ktaten welcomed me into her space and I entered full of gratitude. The abundance I feel from this journey is all thanks to her sacred existence and the respect I have for her is unmatched. I am the luckiest person to have completed my journey here. Mother Ktaten has always and will forever hold the most special place in my heart. ⁠
This journey has given me so much. I’m home now and extremely excited to begin working again back in our Wabanaki communities. As some final thoughts, I’d like to emphasize that outdoor recreation activities should be more accessible to Indigenous communities. In addition, the Indigenous lands in which the AT occupies need more recognition. I plan on working hard to increase outdoor recreation opportunities for Wabanaki people and to continue raising awareness of Indigenous lands. Words can’t express my appreciation for all the support this project has received. From the bottom of my heart, Woli-Woni.” -Nyle⁠

Date: July 7, 2023

📍 Wabanaki Confederacy | Mileage completed: 2010

”The past month has been incredibly challenging. With the combination of difficult terrain and less than ideal weather, my capacities are reaching their limits. I have faced unmatched adversity and have been pushed out of my comfort zone. With this being said, I will persevere and continue my journey with optimism. There is a reason why the creator has gifted me this challenge. It has been and continues to be an honor to face this challenge with trust and an open heart. I have arrived back in Wabanaki territory and my journey is near completion. I will finish my Appalachian Trail thru-hike in the next couple weeks at sacred Mount Katahdin. All my relations are stronger than before I began my hike in Georgia. 

I will soon be back to share what I’ve learned with our Wabanaki communities. My next update from this journey will be my last. Woli-woni to all who have supported me this far, your support keeps me going.’’ -Nyle

Date: June 15, 2023

📍 Abenaki/Abénaquis | Mileage completed: 1752
”Congratulations to all the amazing Wabanaki youth on their completion of another school year. For those eighth graders and seniors moving onto their next chapters in life, remember to keep honoring yourselves and following your passions. Find something that makes you a happier, healthier person and practice it as much as you can. Use the summer to take a break from the stressors of the school year and reconnect with the natural world, loved ones, and yourself.

I’m so fortunate to have the pleasure of working with our Wabanaki youth. They have inspired me to take on this journey of the Appalachian Trail and I look forward to sharing with them what I’ve learned. There is so much to learn in mother nature’s classroom. Our youth deserve all the opportunity they desire. This includes outdoor recreation opportunities. I believe Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness has the ability to provide these opportunities. I’m incredibly excited to be apart of this effort and using this platform as a way to support our incredible youth in Wabanaki territory. Woli-woni!”  -Nyle

Date: June 1, 2023
📍 Mohican⁠ | Mileage completed: 1525
”Land is so sacred. The land provides everything we need and more. We owe everything to the land we occupy. It is easy to become entitled to what land provides. There is a perspective to gain when focusing on how to give back, instead of what to take the reciprocity and the connection. Responsible recreation on lands like the Appalachian Trail is an experience full of give and take.
This land gives us the water we need, the views we cherish, and the experience of the natural world. To give back and to be reciprocal with the land, we follow Leave No Trace principles, provide stewardship, and build our connection to the natural world. This reciprocity is empowering for both the land and self. I’m back in my homelands of Wabanaki Territory “New England”. These lands are sacred to me and I look forward to providing as much as I can to them and giving thanks to what they provide me. A healthy relationship between oneself and sacred lands is such great medicine. Woli-woni.💜” -Nyle
Date: May 19, 2023
📍 Lenni-Lenape | Mileage completed: 1100
”My journey is officially over halfway done. I’ve been on the Appalachian Trail long enough to see seasons pass, scenery change, and new life emerge. I’ve taken days to reflect on how incredible this experience has been. I look forward to enjoying every last moment the AT has to offer. As much as this trail has to offer, I’m incredibly lucky to miss home as much as I do. Some people aren’t as fortunate to have such an amazing home life to miss. I miss my friends, dog, job, community and most of all: family. I will be reunited with all of this soon and will be a better person when that time comes. Until then, I am soaking up every lesson this trail has to offer. Woli-woni!” – Nyle
Date: May 4, 2023
📍 Piscataway⁠ | Mileage completed: 900
‘I’m lucky to be a student of Mother Nature everyday. She has taught me lessons about myself spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. Through these beautiful lessons, I’ve experienced so much learning that Mother Nature has facilitated. The most significant lesson I’ve learned is the power of energy. The energy you put out, is what you receive back. When tough days come, finding positive energy can be challenging. That’s when the best lessons begin. When listening, Mother Nature will always provide. ⁠
I encourage others to take a step into this classroom. As long as you enter her space to listen, Mother Nature will teach. Enter this space in whatever capacity feels right. Just be sure it’s in a good way. Woli-woni!’⁠ – Nyle


Date: April 6, 2023

📍 Tutelo | Mileage completed: 400

‘Sleeping in single digit temperatures, hiking in cold rain and experiencing daily physical pain will make any AT hiker question why we’re out here. It’s important for us to have a solid understanding of our “why”. In the book Braiding Sweetgrass, author Robin Wall Kimmerer writes “gratitude plants the seed for abundance”. Hiking with this concept in mind answers my why. I’m grateful everyday for my health, family, culture, community and this journey I’m on. This gratefulness feeds my soul and keeps me going. It’s  difficult to fully express my gratitude, but know that if you’re reading this, you are apart of my why. Woli-woni! 💜 – Nyle

Date: March 21, 2023

📍 Cherokee | Mileage completed: 200

“The Longest Walk” is a traditional Wabanaki honor song. I was taught this song honors the trail of tears, injustices that Indigenous People face, and all who suffer. As the late great Dean Francis said, “we all have our own trail of tears and we all have our own longest walks.” As I hike through parts of the country where the trail of tears began, I’ve been singing this song loud for those who can’t. There’s been a deep connection and drive I’ve felt walking on these lands. ⁠

I continue to hike my longest walk and heal from my own trail of tears. Our traditional Wabanaki songs are good medicine. I sing and hike to honor those who have, will or currently walk their longest walk. Thank you all for the continued support. Woli-woni! 👟💜 – Nyle


Hear a snippet of The Longest Walk honor song:

Date: March 03, 2023

📍 S’atsoyaha (Yuchi) | Mileage completed: 109.4

In my first two weeks, I’ve been beginning to find my routine out here. In the mornings I break down camp, filter water, and eat breakfast. In the evenings I set-up camp, eat dinner, and hang my food (PCT Style). Of course, during the day, I hike. Life is simple and enjoyable on the Appalachian Trail (AT), but not exactly comfortable all the time. I’m beginning to learn how it feels to step out of my comfort zone, and it’s an empowering feeling. Thank you to everyone so much for their incredible support. It lifts my spirits up and excites me to think about more Indigenous representation in the backpacking world, as well as in other outdoor settings. Looking forward to continuing with updates and seeing where this project will go! Woli-Woni – Nyle 


Date: Feb. 21, 2023

📍 S’atsoyaha (Yuchi) | Mileage completed: 31.3

This is a journey that has been in the making since 2020. I am dedicating my hike to my late brother, Douglas Sockbeson, who passed away unexpectedly from cardiac arrest on December 16, 2020.

–Nyle Sockbeson, Project Venture Team Lead

Nyle is also hiking to fundraise outdoor recreation opportunities for Wabanaki people. One of the goals of this project is to build WPHW’s outdoor gear library, which will allow for more outdoor recreation accessibility for Wabanaki People. If you would like to donate, please click here or mail a check to:

Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness
Attn: WPHW AT Project
PO Box 1356 Bangor, ME 04402

CLICK HERE to support Wabanaki people’s accessibility to outdoor recreation

Click here to learn more about Project Venture.

Map above from the Appalachian Trail Convervancy.