Before Hike Emotions
DISCLAIMER! This about my reason for hiking the trail. I even have my preparation techniques in here. BUT if you don’t want to read about my emotions or my complaints don’t read this. I have reasons I’m going on this trail and they are emotions. I have s*** going on in my life and I have to deal with them on and off the trail. So I feel that this post is personal and can help some hikers out with what they’re dealing with. Got it? Good. Continue.
So emotions. Everyone has them. Not everyone can deal with them. I have a high emotional intelligence and I can’t handle mine right now. I’m so overwhelmed. My left side has not been cut off. I am not all right.
Backtrack: I’m hiking the trail because that’s all I’ve been able to think about for the past 4 years. I’m not running away. I’m not avoiding my life. I found out about the trail when I was 12 and it’s been a dream ever since.
My life is a mess. I’m trying to clean it up before my adventure but I don’t see that happening. My parents are divorcing. Mom’s friend has cancer. Grandpa is in the hospital. Grandma just got out of the hospital. I’m 23 living at my childhood house. I’m a 4 year college dropout. I have depression, anxiety and anger all the time. I keep messing up my friendships with people. I’m leaving someone I grew very close to over the past couple of weeks which is gonna hurt. I don’t know my next step in preparing for this trail because there is too much to do and since I don’t want to be home ever I’m not around my gear and my things to figure this bumblef*** out.
Take a deep breathe.
Calm the [email protected]#& down.
How are you going to fix this??? Good question. Some of this stuff I just have to deal with. Some of it is just a waiting game to have it pass. Some of it isn’t my business nor yours. I think going to see a counselor will help so I’ll be setting up a few appointments before I leave. But sooner or later I will be on the AT and some of these things will still be in my life.
I am excited to be alone in the woods. I am excited to go on this emotional roller coaster. I am excited to breakdown on the trail. I expect to be miserable at some points. (Now this is where I lost some of you. “Why go? Sounds terrible. Why do this to yourself?”) I want to breakdown so I can build myself again. I want to take myself apart to see what I’m made of. I want to fix the broken pieces and I want to come out stronger. I will learn more about myself. Self actualization is the goal. This is going to be such an adventure. I’m gonna meet so many new people and truly get to know them. I’m gonna see beautiful, amazing, colorful sites. I’m ready for some Appalachian Trials.
I am afraid after all this planning and preparation I will be part of that 70% failure rate. I’m afraid I won’t make it. I’m afraid I won’t change. I’m afraid that after that long ass hike I will still have deep depression, anxiety, and anger. I’m afraid that I will backtrack more into depression, anxiety, and anger. I’m also afraid of stairs with steps with no backs. So I’m gonna do this hike anyways and see where it takes me. I make it to the top of the staircase every time so I should make it to Katahdin. (I also have a fear of speed bumps that I just can’t get over)
I’m not some ditz who is buying everything brand new at the last minute and stepping out the door to do the trail. I am a ditz though. I feel like I’m always forgetting something. When that emotion makes me bats*** crazy I unpack my pack, go through my gear, check my list once, check my list twice, pack my bag up, put my bag on, walk around the house, and weight myself with the bag. I have a pack weighing 15 lbs with winter gear. That’s great! I can get it to 12 lbs with summer gear. I’ve had my hammock shelter system for 2-3 years now. I made it so I can take it apart and improve it. I have a hammock, tarp, and bug-net weighing less then 3 lbs. I know everything to fix it. I have a DIY stove with a cup and spork along with a DIY cozy, lid, and windscreen. I can set that up blindfolded probably which will be helpful if I ever have to cook in the dark. I’ll post my gear list soon but my point is that I’m comfortable with all my gear. Nothing essential is brand-new. I have some cool toys that are new but even then I keep playing with them and getting to know them.
This is how I prepare. I go through my gear. Other people read a guide book. I should probably do that. I have Guthook’s App and I have the 2015 AWOL guide. I will not be without these. Right now I should read them and prepare and have a schedule but the way that I am I will make a plan too precise. Like way too precise, down to the last mile. I don’t want that. What if a storm hits. Then I will have a plan go to hell because I have to take a zero day. I would have to adjust every single line. So the plan is there is no plan. Stick to the plan. Now again, I’m not the kind of ditz who steps out the door with literally no plan. I’m the kind of ditz who estimates and guess-timates miles and days.
THE PLAN (there is no plan. stick to the plan)
Week 1: hike 8 miles a day. If I feel like doing more great! Do that! No less then 8. Unless resupplying.
Week 2: hike 12 miles a day. Don’t hike more than that! At least do 8. Unless resupplying.
Week 3: please be at 12 miles a day. please.
Week 4: Come on Kenna time to hike 15 miles a day.
Week 5 and on: JUST DO IT! Hike dem 15 miles. Maybe even MOAR!!!!!
Point is I’m not gonna kill myself to make my goal. I’m not gonna feel bad that I took a zero day. Maybe I will need a couple of zero days. I would like to make them “nero” days which is less than my goal but more than 4 miles. I have all day to hike. I’m not in any rush to make it to Katahdin. Sure I would like to finish around August 19th but so what? I’m not wasting anyone’s time but my own. Hike your own hike. Do what you want. No one is gonna tell you what to do in the middle of the woods.
Is this a good plan? Or am I just fooling myself? It could just be me ditzing out.
I just can’t wait to be at the top of a mountain wondering where the sun went. It’ll dawn on me eventually. 😉
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Kenna…as someone who has 4 decades of experiences behind him let me just say that I wish I had the wisdom you are showing when I was your age. Your gut instinct to do this adventure is right on target, and your plan to “stay loose” and go with the flow is going to get you where you need to be not only on the trail but in life. Just remember that “The goal is the journey!” and let yourself absorb all that this path has to offer…Happy Trails keep smiling.
It will dawn on me – OH please stop!
Seriously it’s a great plan. It’s your life – we will be doing all kinds of stupid stuff while you are away. You might as well do stupid stuff in the woods and be stronger for it! Hearts and hugs!
You are going to do great, Kenna. If there’s anywhere to focus on your troubles it’s the woods. And if there’s anything to help you forget them, it’s hiking. Plan for the inevitable break down, then build yourself back up and keep pushing. Plan, no plan, just live it to the fullest. Hope to see you out there!
Just breathe, Kenna. All shall be well.