You Can Walk Anywhere as Long as You’ve Got the Time
Well, here goes nothing, huh?
In about four months time I am attempting a northbound thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.
Sometimes it feels hard to say out loud, like you are outwardly admitting you are crazy. But I guess in reality I am a bit crazy, because how many people want to leave their nice job, warm bed, and friends and family to carry a 40-pound backpack up and down some mountains for five months? Not many people, that’s who.
But here I am just completely buzzing for that day, the day I begin my slow walk north, with a singular destination in mind. I am taking on this adventure alone; a lone female walking in the woods seems to be something unheard of these days as most people I have told then confirm I must be crazy. “You’re hiking alone?” they respond. “You don’t want to hike with someone?” Like I said earlier, it is not exactly easy to convince someone to drop everything for five months of hard, laborious trekking through the woods. But in all honesty I welcome the solo adventure, the time I will get to spend with myself, the hike I will get to fully control. I do not fear being alone as I know I will meet hundreds of people on this journey, some who will remind me why people are amazing, and some I’m sure I will want to hike away as fast as I can from.
With four months sitting between me and my start date, I am living in a constant state of anxiety; my feelings are a mix of “I cannot f**king wait” and “what the f**k are you thinking?” But I know if I don’t go through with this I will regret it for possibly my whole life. While all my friends and family are super supportive, you can’t help pick up on their sense of worry, which of course weighs in on your own conscious, but I know big changes can bring these feelings on and it is something we all have to work through. I once read, “If you’re not afraid, your dreams aren’t big enough.” It is super cheesy but as I keep repeating it to myself—my personal mantra—I realize there is a hell of a lot of truth to that. I am terrified but have never been ready for anything more in my life.
So, You Like Hiking, Huh?
In fact, I have grown to love hiking; nothing makes me feel more at peace then going on a walk in the woods. But I am a rather inexperienced backpacker, with only two overnight trips under my belt. Even though I feel I have gotten the basics down, I know I still have a lot to learn while on trail. I know I will make plenty of mistakes, but that is OK, because it is all part of the process. I have decided on hammock camping, something I did not realize can be so complicated and technical at the start of all of this. I have spent hours on hours moving through websites, looking up terms I do not understand, practicing knots and hitches that will keep my hammock from collapsing as soon as I lie down. My suspension and hammock system have already changed once and I haven’t even left, but I guess that is the purpose of the shakedown hike in the first place; figure out the problems before it’s too late.
I truly can’t wait to get this adventure started and I hope many friends and family will tag along for the journey, hopefully even joining for a day or two at a time.
But until then, happy trails!
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