This Is Our Year…
The year we’ve waited for…the year we’ve anticipated…the year we’ve been head over heels excited about since deciding to take on this enormously challenging adventure of thru hiking the Appalachian Trail!
When the ball dropped and it became 2022, it was like a reality bomb exploded in my head! This is IT! It’s really going to happen!
The Year of My Thru
So now what? The countdown is getting closer. There are things I still need to do!
I need to lose weight.
I need to stretch and get my body ready.
I need to build muscle strength and endurance!
I need to make my final tweaks on my pack and gear.
I need to make sure I have a plan.
I need to figure out resupply.
And family! When will I get to see my family?
Where will I take zeros and neros and which hostels are best? And which do I avoid?
Oh!….and don’t forget to factor in that 1/2 gallon challenge!
The list goes on and on and on and on…
The thing is…the list of “need to’s” never ends. There’s always another thing to check, change, weigh, buy, plan, stress over, etc. At some point we have to decide that we’re content with where we are in our gear choices and our plans so that we can savor the moments and enjoy the excitement leading up to that big day…that day when we lay eyes on the arch, weigh our packs, get our tags, and make those first steps toward Katahdin.
Don’t stop believing…
I can’t even imagine that day. I’ve dreamed of it and drooled over other people’s pictures for so long that I can’t imagine actually being there myself! There have been times, after I claimed 2022, as “the year of my thru,” that I doubted myself and my ability. Well, to be honest, I still do! But there is no point in doubting. You just have to believe! Believe you can. It’s just one foot in front of the other, right?
Hold on to that feeling…
You know, the one that makes you feel like a kid at Christmas with anticipation of what’s coming! We, who want to attempt a thru hike, have a ridiculous excitement about a thing that won’t be fun all the time. In fact, it’s going to be the opposite of fun at times; it’s going to be miserable at times. We will cry. We will be angry. We will be scared. We will have doubts. But… we have to remember that feeling and drive that brought us here in the first place. What is it? That oh-so-important question and the one I’ve been asked the most when sharing my plans to thru hike…
Blank stare, blink…WHY? 😳
What makes you want to huff and puff up mountains, kill your knees on downhills, trudge through mud and snow, endure extreme cold and heat, and basically be a walking insect buffet? Maybe it’s the people you hope to meet, or the solitude you hope to enjoy, or immersing yourself in nature, or escaping a world full of negativity. Maybe you need to find yourself, be yourself, experience life by yourself. It’s different and unique for each person planning to set foot on the Appalachian Trail in hopes of hiking 5 million steps! And as Zach Davis said in Appalachian Trials…you have to know your why! Know and hold onto the feelings that make you want to be in the woods, pee in the woods, and live in the woods with all its literal and emotional ups and away from your normal life for six months!
SOME will win…
You know not all of those who attempt this feat will make it. About 25% of us will summit Katahdin. About 75% of us won’t make it that far. That’s a hard statistic to swallow. Very sobering. We all want this thing. We have worked, saved, planned, anticipated, announced, let go, sacrificed, and dreamed. We don’t know the end of the story…we know the beginning – and that’s it. The trail is there awaiting our arrival. But what’s next is something we cannot anticipate.
One thing is for sure though…
NONE will lose!
No matter your ending, not one of us will lose as long as our perspective is right. The fact that we didn’t let fear or anything else get in the way of the attempt is kind of a big deal. I’m still trying to get this in my head because I realllyyy want to make it all the way to Katahdin!! But we have to acknowledge the accomplishment of getting to the beginning! It wasn’t easy! It took gumption and courage and stepping outside so my boxes! Either you will choose or your body will choose the endpoint of the adventure. It may be Katahdin or somewhere before that. The bottom line is…you did it. You made it happen. How many people leave their dreams in dreamland without ever going after it!? If you attempted your dream, then you followed through a lot farther than many others who never try.
Don’t sing the blues…
So let’s remember to take it as it comes. Leave the worry and stress behind. Enjoy the moments…one step at a time. Each day is its own adventure.
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