Back and Forth (more times than a game of tennis)
If you’ve ever watched a game of table tennis, you’ll know that your head is constantly turning left…right..left…right, and so on. This can also be compared to human emotions going up and down in debate of making a huge life changing decision. That ‘life changing decision’ for me would be better known to you as the Appalachian Trail. For years I’ve longed to hike it in it’s entirety, for months I’ve trained, and for the past few weeks I’ve been nervous. It’s completely normal, I know. I mean, who isn’t ever at least a little nervous about hiking an almost 2,180 (give or take) mile trail on foot into (personally) uncharted territory.
I’ve been gearing up for the past three years, slowly building my inventory of beautifully built necessities. If I calculated the total cost of the current gear I own, it would not only burn a hole in my pocket, but it would also just completely obliterate my wallet. Start small, buy slowly, and only when you have the financial stability to, and you’ll be fine.
In time, young padawan, we will rule the trail.
I have been fluctuating back and forth between 2 tents I want to take. I was originally (stupidly) considering bringing my hammock, but after camping numerous times in not-so-pleasant weather, I graciously accepted that ENO Doublenest and I were not to sleep together in any temperature less than 65. God forbid wind ever blows at night.
But, back to what I was originally talking about:
I’ve been having an internal war with myself the past few weeks, and I finally came to a good conclusion. I did the typical “should I really do this?”, “am I totally insane?”, “what if I can’t find anyone to go with me?”, and the most common, “What if no one on the trail likes me?!”
I was sitting in my office three mornings ago when I had an epiphany over a damn fine cup of coffee. (5 points if you get the reference).
I Don’t Care.
That was my conclusion. I didn’t care, I still don’t care, and I won’t care. I won’t care if people like me on the trail, because it’s stupid to think that way! Starting with a negative mind, will only get negative results. Everyone on the trail already has something in common with each other; we’re all completely batshit crazy. So, at least that much is out of the way. All these fine young ( and old!) people on the trail all have a common goal, and bond with each other over the good, the bad, and the ugly. Trust me, by the end of this trip, we will all be ugly.
I concluded that, yes, I am insane. I am insane for wanting to drop everything I have in life and traverse the East Coast from South to North. But it will feel so amazing, it will bring back all the aches and pains from past journeys, and will bring just a many new ones. But with them, I hold memories.
I concluded YES, I should do this. I’d be even crazier for not doing it at all. I would say ” This is a once in a lifetime chance!”, but really, it’s not. Mostly because I fully intend on doing these types of hikes for the rest of my life. I’ve realized that out of the amount of people I have told about my future hike, it’s been split 50/50 with friends full of support, and others full of incredible doubt. Apparently the latter group doesn’t know me very well, as I am even more stubborn than a herd of mule. Hard head, and hard heart.
As for finding someone to go with me, I haven’t had much luck. Granted, I also haven’t tried that hard. Maybe it’s because I realize it really doesn’t matter if I’m alone or not, because I will eventually become family with a group of other thru-hikers somewhere on the trail. I also have my lovely fiance that has voiced numerous times that she is willing, and able, to follow me to the ends of the earth, and I believe she would with all my heart. I would love to take her with me, and if fate allows, she will come. We will share weight, we will eat together, and sleep together, and more than likely have our fights… but it will fare well.
After all, I’d like to think of this journey in a manner similar to that in Lord of the Rings. I am Frodo, and my goal is to get to Katahdin (Mordor, sans the flames and lava) in one piece. Frodo has bumps along the way, and I’m sure I will have plenty as well. But I will get that metaphorical ring to Katahdin if it’s the last thing I do. I will furiously climb those last few miles of rocks, dirt, cliffs, and edges with the fiery passion of one thousand burning suns, the consolidated power of all Greek Gods and 145 horses….. then shortly after my arrival, I will reward myself with a few fellow hikers over a cold brew in the nearest town.
Overall, my general message is If you want to do it, just do the damn thing!
See you on the trail!
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