Every spring, thru-hikers and dreamers get something known as "Springer Fever"--an intense longing and desire for Springer Mountain, Georgia, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, and the starting point for northbound thru-hikers.
I hiked from north to south (Katahdin in Maine to Springer), but that doesn't mean I don't get Springer Fever each spring. In my seventh-grade science class, as we discuss the daily and seasonal rhythms of plants and animals, and I find myself saying things like, "Look for animal tracks in the morning near the water sources ..." or "One really cool thing you can hear when you're camping is ..." or "If you go hiking in late March, you'll see ..." or "Take note of how the leaves look when they first start to emerge after the winter ... it's so cool!" (Yes, I over-use the word cool when talking about hiking.)
All of these things just feed the flame of Springer Fever. It's gray and cold outside, but that doesn't matter. I want to be on Springer, with 2,100+ miles and six months of hiking ahead of me. I want to be out there.