3 Months, 91 Days, 2,184 Hours
The 29th was my 3 month anniversary of being on the Appalachian Trail. That day I walked 0.3 miles with Wonka to cross the PA/NJ border.
Numbers. Hiking is all about numbers.
How many miles do you do a day? How many calories do I need? What average miles do I need to do to finish on time ?
You can get wrapped up in the numbers. At least I know I did.
I was with a group for awhile that I like to call the “Marathoners”. We all did decently high miles all the time. When my trail family made it to Harper’s Ferry our numbers ranged from thru hikers #99-108.
When I started to approach the halfway point I realized this hike, that I have been planning and dreaming of for 4 years, is going by far too fast for my liking.
I did some math and I realized I could take some days off. I went home for a week to watch my brother graduate as valedictorian from high school. When I came back my old pals The Digger and Phat Sister caught up to me. I was overjoyed to see them again. I hiked the following 4 days with them and realized they also were obsessed with the numbers. They wanted to hike 18-30 miles a day to get done on account of their dwindling budgets.
If I were to have continued hiking with them I’d be more concerned with miles rather than smiles. To quote my hiking bestie, Dill, “smiles before miles.”
In this situation I think of my college professor Dr. Becque who once said, “I’m not a slave to the numbers.”
So here I am. Trying not to be a slave to the numbers. And boy, is it hard. Watching people pass me as I take my now 3rd zero in the Delaware Water Gap to let PenDexter & his brother catch up is difficult. I had breakfast this morning with a thru hiker who was #189 at Harper’s Ferry.
This creates a little bit of anxiety for me. My competitive/perfectionist nature starts back up and I want to be further ahead than I am.
There is nothing wrong with doing 20-30 miles a day. HYOH (hike your own hike). But I don’t want my hike to feel rushed. 18 miles a day is comfortable but 20+ miles feels like too much for me.
From now on I’ll be relaxing more. Savoring moments more. And altogether being more present in the moment.
I love thru hiking. The culture that surrounds it. The people. The experiences. The challenge. I can’t wait to enjoy my last two months to the fullest.
With all this time off, I’m still on track to finish July 30th 🙂
Peace & blessings,
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