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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Comments 14

  • TaffyUK : Jan 4th

    “”I need to lose weight.” – Put weight on, I have several extra Kgs on me, as reserve energy for the first few weeks.

    • Smitty : Jan 5th

      I live in CT if you make it here you’ve accomplished a lot look forward to seeing how far you get good luck

      • Carla : Jan 5th

        Thanks so much!! I hope I make it to your state!!

    • Carla : Jan 5th

      Well that’s one way to think of it! EXTRA FUEL!! haha!! Love it!

  • Gator : Jan 4th

    You’ll miss your family, but they will be there when you get back. Never hiked the AT, but it’s like every other challenge in life — it’s a mental challenge first, and that includes the family piece. Spent 30 years in the Navy, which included over 6 years away from my wife and kids. You can do it. Good luck!

    • Carla : Jan 5th

      Thank you for the encouragement! I hear the mental challenge is harder than the physical! Gotta have your head in the right place and always remember what brought you out there in the first place! I’m thankful for a healthy support system of family and friends who remind me to believe in myself!! And thankful for people like you who cheer me on!! :O)

  • pearwood : Jan 4th

    February 1 is getting real soon now. Finishing details and trying not to panic.

    • Carla : Jan 5th

      Yours is quickly approaching!! Can’t wait to read about your adventure out there! I’ll be following in your footsteps a month and a half later!!

  • Michelle : Jan 5th

    I vote this the best blog entry I’ve ever seen on The Trek, since I began reading about 4 years ago. This absolutely needs to be archived and reposted on an annual basis.

    Thank you for such an inspiring and motivating piece!

    • Tractor : Jan 5th

      I finished Aug 18 2021, for the first month its 80% physical and 20 % mental after that its 80% mental and 20% physical don’t plan to much just let the AT give you the grand tour

      • Carla : Jan 5th

        YESSS… let the AT give me the grand tour! I like that! Trying not to overdo all the things!!! Planning being one of them!!
        Congratulations on your huge accomplishment!! I bet seeing the sign at Katahdin was one the best feelings in the world!!

      • Tim Andrew : Jan 5th

        Tractor is right… I did 1800 2 years ago… only 400 left this june. tim andrew ossipee, nh

        • Carla : Jan 6th

          Well Congrats on all those miles done! That’s amazing! I hope you get to finish up this year! Maybe I’ll see ya out there! Hike on!! :o)

    • Carla : Jan 5th

      Thanks for reading and WOW!!–Thank you for your kind words!! So glad you liked it!! You just made my day! :o)


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