Decatur man completes Appalachian Trail

After nearly five years working as an automotive engineer in Michigan and a milestone birthday on the horizon, Daniel Simms decided it was time to make a change.


"I was kind of looking for a kind of a life reset," Simms explained.

So after a year and a half of planning, Simms packed up all his belongings and moved back home to Atlanta to prepare for the most challenging journey of his life--the Appalachian Trail.

"I think I first heard about the AT when I was in third grade and it had always been in the back of my mind," he recalled.

Simms started his trek at Amicolola Falls in March and spent the next five and a half months hiking the more than 2,000-mile trail from North Georgia to Maine.  

"I'd say after the first hundred miles is when I decided that this is something I absolutely can do," said Simms.

Along the way, he met people from all over the country and even abroad with the same goal.  They became his "tramily," or trail family.  

"I'm the kind of person that I think I could have done the whole thing without really interacting with many other people, but in the end, some days where you don't want to do anything, the people around you are the reason you keep going," Simms said.  "You want to go meet up with them at the next camp and they're the ones who push you to keep going."  

Simms said he learned a lot about himself and what he can accomplish in life.  

"One thing that people always say about it is that the trail changes you. I don't necessarily believe that having done it. I think that the trail lets you become the person you've always wanted to be," Simms explained.  "It just made me feel a lot better about myself and my place in the world."  

Now, Simms hopes to find a permanent job back in metro Atlanta so that he can be closer to his family, including his sister, FOX 5 Reporter Claire Simms.